Eye-Opening Student Refugee Experience

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Student Sidney Pratt with refugee family she cared for. Photo courtesy of Pratt.

By Quincey Taylor

You own a bakery. It is just you, your spouse, and your two children. Each night a threatening barrage of gunfire keeps you awake. Walking the streets has become too dangerous, even during daylight. Then, miracle of miracles, you and your family manage to escape the terrors and reach a different country. You leave behind most of your belongings and use most of your money on a flight. You are so grateful and happy to finally be safe, but to your dismay the troubles are not over. Rather than gunfire, now there is a seemingly infinite number of papers to fill out and questions to answer. They are extremely difficult for anyone to answer, let alone someone who has just gone through a traumatic experience. You do not know the language. You are suffering from crippling PTSD and depression. It seems like such a long road to travel before your life will be normal again.

This story is a sad reality for the millions of refugees all over the world. Each year, more people are displaced from their homes due to violence and tyranny. For nursing students everywhere, it is crucial to learn more about these populations that they will undoubtedly encounter. To prepare the students at BYU College of Nursing, associate teaching professor Debra Mills teaches a refugee and immigrant education course each winter semester. As part of their spring practicum in June, nine students attended the three day North American Refugee Health Conference in Portland. Students had their eyes opened to the many difficulties refugees encounter and how nurses, as health providers, can be sensitive to their needs.

The conference was open to anyone who wanted to learn how to help refugees in their community. Students mingled with social workers, refugee resource managers, mental health workers, psychiatrists, psychologists, researchers, physicians that work in refugee clinics, as well as refugees themselves. They heard inspiring speakers that had fled their own homes and come to the United States seeking refuge.

Nurses need to have their horizons widened and be aware of the cultural differences that they might encounter in the medical field. For example, if a woman from Sudan comes to the hospital to be treated, a male nurse cannot treat her because that is against her cultural beliefs. Mills commented on the experience, “We need, if we’re going to be healthcare providers, an understanding that not everybody has the same way of dealing with health, of dealing with illness.” She added, “It’s amazing to see how similar we all are. Everyone is one of God’s children. Some of our brothers and sisters, by no choice of their own, suffer violence, tyranny, lack of food, lack of resources, lack of shelter. We need to help them.”

Refugees face a multitude of challenges upon entering a new country. They must find a job without knowing the national language. They might have previous injuries or illnesses. Maybe they came from a country with free healthcare, but now they are expected to pay for it. Children learn the language much faster than their parents and often become the translator, taking on a bigger responsibility than their age usually permits. Families often feel that they have lost their culture. In some cases, they do not want to be here, but for safety reasons they have been uprooted to a foreign land they do not identify with.

Sidney Pratt, a student who attended the conference, described it by saying, “Not only did it show the many different options of resources we have but it also showed me a sliver of what a refugee has to go through to come over to the United States. Knowing this helps nurses to better treat patients in a holistic manner.” Students who sign up for the course get to experience foreign foods, clothing, traditions, as well as help a local refugee family. Mills thought the experience was extremely valuable for her pupils and hopes to return to the conference next year.

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Three Generations of BYU Nurses

By Mindy Longhurst

Rasmussens

Image of the Trapnell family at Lauren’s wedding. From left to right: Nancy Trapnell, Lauren Young and Laurie Rasmussen. Image courtesy of Rasmussen.

Nancy Trapnell (BS ’65), Laurie Rasmussen (BS ’90) and Lauren Young (semester five) are three generations of BYU College of Nursing graduates. The Healer’s art runs in the blood of these women; as all of them have gone on to serve others within healthcare. This love of service is a bonding desire that grandmother, mother and daughter all share.

Each of them were drawn to nursing for personal reasons. This legacy started when Trapnell was a little girl. She says, “Ever since I was little I wanted to be a nurse. I read a lot of Nancy Nurse Golden Books.” She studied nursing at BYU and went on to have a career that she thoroughly enjoyed.

Following her mother’s example, Rasmussen decided to pursue nursing as well. She says, “I grew up watching my mom as a nurse and the satisfaction that she felt at work. She then came home and talked about her career. That is what inspired me.” Rasmussen now works at a surgical center helping patients with same day recovery.

Following suite, Young began studying nursing as the third generation. The influence of her mother and grandmother inspired her. Young says, “I followed the same path. I really liked how my mom and grandma always helped our family when anything was going on. They were always helping neighbors. I felt like a nursing career was a great way that I could be a Mom and be actively involved with my family and community.” She hopes to work in the ICU after she graduates in April 2019.

Nancy at BYU

Image of Trapnell when she was a nursing student at BYU. Image courtesy of Rasmussen.

Trapnell loves to talk to her granddaughter and see the changes that have happened in the BYU College of Nursing since she has been there. Trapnell explains, “When I was a student, nothing was disposable. We had to sharpen needles and clean the gloves and bedpans. We lived by the LDS Hospital in a dorm. That was a lot of fun because our class got so close! We still are very close.”

However, one thing that has not changed is the college’s mission to teach its students the Healer’s art. Young explains, “I have been able to learn so much by learning nursing with a gospel perspective. It has just been really eye opening to understand how much God really is involved in our lives and how much the Savior sacrificed for all of us. I can think of an instance just last week while I was at clinical. I took care of a patient that was dirty, stinky, drug addicted and homeless. My first impression was that I did not want to take care of the patient. But, I really did have to step back and think ‘I have been taught to serve everyone I have come in contact with as a nurse.’ I feel in those situations it is so much easier to think that I can be like the Savior; I can implement the Healer’s art. Treating everyone with kindness and love is exactly what the Savior would do.”

Trapnell currently works as a hospice nurse, where she learned the beauty of the Healer’s art after spending a Christmas day with a patient rather than her family. She describes, “Two Christmases ago, I got a call that someone had fallen at the nursing home I worked at. They called me in to help assess the patient. At first, I was frustrated because I had to leave my family. When I went inside, I discovered this patient had fallen on the ground and broken his hip and I was able to give him pain medication to make him comfortable. I stayed for about an hour and a half waiting for his family to come. This was one of the nicest Christmases I had because I gave up something for myself in order to give to someone else.”

BYU changed the way that these women were able to live the gospel and learn about nursing through the lens of the Savior.

Trapnell explains, “I grew up in a home that was not very active in the church. When it was time for me to choose a college, my father told me that I needed to come to BYU for at least a year. When I came here, I absolutely loved it! I loved the spiritual aspect. I just loved BYU! BYU taught all of us to always be honest. It was able to set me for life. I was able to be married in the temple and continue faithfully in the Church for the rest of my life.”

Rasmussen was influenced by her mother’s love for BYU, and was raised by parents who were big BYU fans. She says, “I grew up thinking that BYU was great, and growing up in Arizona, I knew that is where I wanted to go. I remember it was hard to get into the nursing program, but I was able to get in. I loved the clinical experience and the feeling in the nursing program. Everyone is united and supports each other. I love BYU!”

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Image of Young while learning how to insert an IV. Image courtesy of Rasmussen.

Continuing the legacy, Young came to BYU to study after a year at SUU. BYU was always in her backyard, and that is where all her friends wanted to go. She decided to attend her freshman year at SUU and says, “While there, I missed being surrounded by people who believed the way that I believed. Having professors that understand what I believe makes a difference. They teach here differently because they make it applicable to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I think it took me getting away to realize that I am lucky to have this so close to home. I found my place at BYU when I was accepted into the Nursing program. I feel like I will not just be a better nurse, but I will leave here being a better person because of BYU.”

As a side note, Rasmussen is married to Assistant teaching professor Ryan Rasmussen. To learn more about his latest project, visit https://byunursing.wordpress.com/2018/09/12/improving-communication-in-the-trauma-room/.

Letting Go of Our Own Bias: BYU College of Nursing At-Risk Program

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By Quincey Taylor

Each spring semester, a group of twelve nursing students participates in the At-Risk section of the public and global health nursing course practicum. Led by associate teaching professor, Dr. Peggy Anderson, these students are actively involved in helping give treatment to vulnerable populations, including incarcerated individuals. It is always an eye-opening experience for the students as they let go of their previously conceived notions and biases about these populations.

Anderson is passionate about the At-Risk program, having led it for about 14 years. It all started back when she was called to be the Relief Society president for a group of women at a Utah prison. Even though she was not sure what to expect in the beginning, she grew to love the position and the insights it brought. She comments, “It was an incredibly spiritual experience. I remember walking through the security doors that first day and just having this distinct impression that I had been prepared, both educationally and through my unique life experiences to serve in that capacity. I absolutely loved it.”

Later, Anderson was able to spearhead the At-Risk program, which involves the BYU nursing students in helping these vulnerable populations as their practicum during the spring semester. This group of students work with a broad audience of individuals, including those with chronic disease processes, incarcerated populations, children with special healthcare needs, and children who have been victims of violent crime. Nursing students are assigned a facility, helped on their first day by Anderson to establish themselves, and then they are largely left on their own to perform their duties for the following weeks. Students are given the opportunity to interact with these diverse individuals and forget some of their previous bias. As modern-day good Samaritans, they learn to look on each individual in need the same way the Savior would.

Nursing is a special occupation because it does not turn off when you leave the hospital. A nurse is always a nurse, and the At-Risk program shows students their obligation to help others to their best ability at every opportunity. Anderson states, “Nursing it isn’t a nine-to-five job. Everywhere you go, you take nursing with you. You practice nursing wherever you are, including your interactions with others. If a neighbor calls you in the middle of the night, you are still a nurse.” By participating in the At-Risk program, Anderson hopes students will create a ripple effect of service that will continue into their professional careers.

Participants also get the opportunity to attend the Children’s Justice Symposium, which is put on by the Children’s Justice Centers and the Attorney General’s Office every year. The students network with other members of the community that are working to fulfill these same needs. They learn a lot about advocacy and teamwork, as well as how a community pulls together to meet the needs of its vulnerable populations.

One of the participating students commented on the 2018 experience, “At-Risk has influenced my outlook on advocacy and creating social change. I now recognize that all people deserve a chance to prove themselves and I will do my best to treat everyone equally…. These have been great learning opportunities for me that Heavenly Father needed me to experience so that I would change for the better. I recognize that I have been placed in these situations for a reason and Heavenly Father wants me to learn from them. I have truly learned about the Healer’s art this semester and how He incorporates Himself into the medical field. He does it through many ways. But most importantly for me to recognize, He incorporates Himself through me.”

Anderson is excited to take her next group of students, and to see the change this rewarding experience inspires in each individual. She is a firm believer that “every student that comes with me during spring semester is there for a reason” and that “the Lord knows who each one of us is, no matter where we are in life. He truly cares about the very details of our lives.”

 

Graduate Student Experiential Learning

By Mindy Longhurst

maren with students on boatGraduate student, Maren Topham and assistant teaching professor, Daphne Thomas with undergraduate students in Tonga. Image courtesy of Topham.

The College of Nursing undergraduates participate in a Public and Global Health study abroad during the spring of their senior year. This experience allows them to learn more about a different culture and study nursing techniques from other parts of the world. In some instances, a graduate student will come and be a mentor figure for the undergraduate students. With the help of a Graduate Mentoring Assistance Grant, graduate student Maren Topham was able to mentor others in the Kingdom of Tonga this past spring.

teaching childrenTeaching Tongan children about hygiene. Image courtesy of Topham.

Topham was able to supervise some of the clinical rotations, teach the undergraduate students and supervise the work with the nurses in Tonga. The purpose of the public and global health clinical is to be completely submerged in another culture. Topham says, “In nursing you take care of a variety of people. I learned valuable lessons that will help me with my career. We had many different cultural experiences. We wanted to learn about how they view family, healthcare and religion.”

blood pressureA nursing student taking someone’s blood pressure. Image courtesy of Topham.

Assistant teaching professor, Daphne Thomas, was able to accompany Topham. It was exciting for Thomas to see Topham mentoring others. Thomas expounds, “Maren was a role model for the undergraduate students! You get to build a relationship with students that you can’t get anywhere else.” A nursing student explains, “I think having a graduate student enhanced our experience because we could have an example of applying the classroom to ‘real life’. We try to do that as nursing students, but we do not yet have that experience! It was great to see how Maren brought education and application together!”

peopleNursing students in Tonga. Image courtesy of Topham.

The experiences and events that they had in Tonga will help everyone to become more loving and compassionate nurses. While in Tonga, they were able to learn more about rheumatic fever and heart disease. This disease in more common in Tonga and is usually a result of untreated strep throat that negatively effects the heart valves. The students were able to learn from the nurses in Tonga about how they treat rheumatic fever and they discussed the ways that it is treated in the United States. Topham loves to be able to learn more about how other countries perform healthcare and how others learn.

weavingA nursing student learning how to weave a rug. Image courtesy of Topham.

The Graduate Mentoring Assistance Grant is given to a certain number of graduate students throughout the university who will be using the funds for experiential learning. This type of learning includes having experiences that help graduate students mentor undergraduate students. With this grant, her whole time in Tonga was financed. The grant even allowed them to be able to have transportation to go into more communities, learning more about the Tongan culture and healthcare system. The experiential learning program allowed Topham to have a life changing experience.

pretty tongaThe beauty of Tonga. Image courtesy of Topham.

Breeze Hollingsworth’s Life Changing Veterans Experience

By Mindy Longhurst

GroupThe Veterans Public and Global Health group. Image courtesy of Breeze Hollingsworth.

Tears filled Breeze Hollingsworth’s eyes as she explained the experiences she had during the veterans section of the public and global health nursing course practicum. The feelings of appreciation and gratitude she gained while learning about the military and veterans changed her life.

This year, those who participated were able to attend the USNS Mercy in San Diego, military sites around the state of Utah and were able to visit Washington D.C. twice. The second time they went to Washington D.C. they were guardians of a veteran for a Utah Honor Flight to honor those who have served our country.

The journey with the clinical was unique for Hollingsworth. The students prioritize out of the 12 public and global health locations where they would like to attend. After this, they are randomly assigned where they will go. Normally people get a place that is in their top three choices. This was not the case for Hollingsworth; the Veterans site was further down her list because she wanted to go international. At first, she was a little saddened that she did not get to go foreign. Hollingsworth explains how she changed her viewpoint, “Once I started and committed to the veterans, I was determined to learn everything I could because I knew that this could help me.”

San Diego

She really had a change of heart while on the army base in San Diego. Hollingsworth explains, “When I went to the base in San Diego I got really excited because it was so cool! It was a world I had never explored. My love for them increased exponentially in that first visit.” While in San Diego, they were able to board the USNS Mercy boat (to learn more about her experiences on the USNS Mercy, read our previous article at https://byunursing.wordpress.com/2018/04/30/all-hands-on-deck-byu-nursing-students-onboard-the-usns-mercy/.)

Sites in Utah

While in Utah, they were able to travel to different military sites and meet veterans and active military personnel. Hollingsworth met Frank Thomas, who did artwork for the military. The military commissions artists to paint and draw pictures of what they see while in war. His beautiful artwork can be seen on his website http://wildgoosecreekstudio.com/index.php.

Washington D.C.

The first time they went to Washington D.C., they were able to visit the National Institute of Health for Nursing, the Veterans Affairs headquarters and were able to see some memorial sites in the D.C. area.

Audrey and BreezeHollingsworth with Audrey Kent. Image courtesy of Hollingsworth.

The second trip to D.C. was the most rewarding because they were able to be a helper and guardian for a veteran. Hollingsworth was able to spend her time with Audrey Kent, a nurse during WWII. While there, they were able to see several sites that were meaningful to Kent including a nurse memorial, a WWII and a Vietnam memorial. Hollingsworth says, “The person that I took, Audrey, was a nurse during WWII. Her son passed away in Vietnam and she had another son with her on the trip who had served in Vietnam. Being able to take her to see her son’s name on the Vietnam memorial was emotional because she had never seen the memorial before. It makes me happy that we have all of these memorials to remember those who have served our country.”

ArlingtonImage of Arlington Cemetery. Image courtesy of Hollingsworth.

While in D.C., they had the humbling and sacred experience visiting the Arlington National Cemetery. Hollingsworth explains, “The cemetery, Arlington, was a spiritual experience. Just to think about that all of these people sacrificed for their freedom and sacrificed for my freedom, made it very real to me.”

The time Hollingsworth had while in the veteran practicum trip changed the way she views the world. Now she looks for those who have or are currently serving to reach out to them and thank them for their service. She hopes to be able to use the information she has received and the experiences she has had to help those who will be in her care after she graduates. Teaching professor, Dr. Kent Blad, was one of the nursing professors that organized the experience. Being a veteran himself, Blad has a love for those who have served this country. According to Blad, there are about 24 million veterans in the United States. This means that nurses are very likely to come across veterans while working. The experiences they have while on the Veterans Public and Global Health clinical will help them throughout their career.

Hollingsworth says, “I think first and foremost, this experience made me love my country more. It also made me love the people that served my country past and present. It made me want to know my patients well enough to know if they have served in the military. This experience made me have a greater desire to seek them out in nursing care and in everyday life.”

 

 

 

Student Spotlight: Emily Wilkins

By Quincey Taylor

Emily Wilkins

Everyone has a story to tell, even if they do not know it. This was the case for Emily Wilkins, sixth semester nursing student.

When she first came to BYU from Colorado Springs, Emily was convinced that she was meant to apply to the music program playing the flute. All of this changed, however, when she was involved in a car accident during her first semester at BYU on the way to the airport. Emily broke her collarbone, had abrasions, and sprained both her ankles. She was taken to the University of Utah Hospital to be observed overnight. The whole experience was terrifying, but the kind nurses at the hospital really helped her feel at ease. Emily comments, “The nurses were just awesome. I was a little 18 year old, my parents weren’t there, and it was kind of scary. They were good at calming me down and letting me know everything was going to be okay.” This was her first experience seeing the Healer’s art in action.

Because of this accident, Emily was not able to audition for the music program and determined that she needed to pick a new major. During this semester, Emily received her mission call to serve in Lithuania in the Baltic Mission. She left still not knowing what to study.

One day during her mission studies, Emily was reading an Ensign article that was talking about how the Savior was the Master Teacher. Emily felt that this was the answer to her prayers. However, in that moment, her first thought was, “but He was a Healer, too.” She decided to go forward with nursing and absolutely loved the prerequisites once she came back to BYU.

Emily is currently doing her capstone in trauma care in the emergency room at Utah Valley Hospital. Initially, Emily thought she would go into labor and delivery, but during her first day in the hospital there was an emergency with a patient. She was walking down the hall and heard the patient call for help. When she came rushing in, Emily saw blood was spurting everywhere, called for a doctor, and immediately tried to stop the bleeding. In that moment, she was able to remain calm and keep a cool head. This was her sign that she was meant to go into trauma care.

Since then, Emily had her first CPR experience in the ER. While these scary situations are by no means fun, Emily is drawn to them because she feels she has a unique ability to stay composed and follow the Spirit in emergency situations. She comments, “Those were the experiences that I really felt God calming me and saying ‘You can do this,’ so I really felt this was my fit.”

Emily is the first of her family to go into healthcare. For her, some of the biggest inspirations are her professors, in not only their professional careers but also who they are as people. When asked how her experience in the program has been, she comments, “The nursing program is really good at preparing us for anything. It seems like our nursing program tends to go deeper than other nursing programs. For example, at clinical you might mention something that you noticed and the preceptor will be like ‘Oh, you guys already learned that? I didn’t learn that until I started working.’”

It is important to Emily to always remember that her patients are children of God in the first place. She had an experience at the hospital with a patient who was not able to talk. The nurse there did not seem too concerned about his feelings and assumed he did not understand what they were saying. Emily related, “We went in to give him an IV, and I noticed he was grimacing. I grabbed his hand and told him it was all going to be okay. In that moment he opened his eyes.” She knew that he had felt her love and that it really made a difference to him in that moment. She hopes to have this attitude throughout her career and adds, “For me, I try to make it a point that every morning when I go to a shift to pray about my patients. I feel like not only does the Spirit help me in giving them care but it also gives me a reminder that these are God’s children and not just a job.”

Introducing New BYU College of Nursing Program Directors

By Quincey Taylor

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Changes to the staff of the BYU College of Nursing were made this fall semester, bringing new insights to the established positions. Associate teaching professor Dr. Peggy Anderson has replaced associate teaching professor Debra Mills as the undergraduate program director, and associate professor Dr. Beth Luthy has replaced associate professor Dr. Donna Freeborn as the graduate program director. We want to introduce Anderson and Luthy as well as thank Mills and Freeborn for their years of devoted service in these positions.

Peggy Anderson

In an office adorned with photos of the Savior and family members, Dr. Peggy Anderson keeps her priorities in mind every day. Anderson is one of the tenured members of the faculty, having worked in the College of Nursing for a total of 14 years. She loves working with the students, and when she was invited to take the position as the new undergraduate program director, she happily accepted. Although it sometimes seems overwhelming, Anderson is ready and willing to bring new insights into the important position.

When asked about her 35-year career in the healthcare industry, Anderson laughs, “I’ve been around the block a few times.” She did not originally consider going into nursing when she was a student at BYU; her dream was to work with special ed children. However, she was influenced by her father, with whom she had a close relationship, to consider nursing. Anderson’s mother, sister and grandmother had all been nurses and her father saw the work ethic required for the field. He knew that Anderson had that same work ethic and that she could excel as a nurse if she wanted to. She ended up following his advice and graduated from BYU with a nursing degree. She fulfilled her dream of working with children and went into pediatrics. Anderson’s true passion for nursing lies with patient care. She loves to serve those that are suffering as well as their families.

This love for serving others has translated perfectly into her educational career. In many ways, teaching is a form of service to the younger generations. Recently, Anderson ran into one of her past students with whom she did clinicals. It was fun for them to reconnect because of the personal relationship sparked in their time working together. While Anderson strives to have a professional attitude during clinicals, she comments, “You can’t help but get to know each other really well.” Anderson expresses excitement to continue working with the bright students in the program and mentions, “they are always in my prayers.”

Debra Mills

Debra Mills is stepping down as the undergraduate program director, but that does not mean that you won’t be seeing her around. She is reassuming her full-time faculty position and will be solely teaching once more. When asked how she feels about handing the position over to Anderson, she says, “I know I am leaving it in capable hands.”

Mills first considered going into nursing when she was talking with a neighbor who was a nurse in the Navy. This neighbor liked her and thought she had the characteristics needed for the medical field. Mills applied to the nursing program at Rick’s, got in, and came to work in Salt Lake City after graduation. After three years working, she achieved her goal of getting a job at Primary Children’s Hospital in 1978.

Her first experience teaching was at the Salt Lake Community College, where she was the program coordinator. She helped to write the associate degree RN program for accreditation there. After all that experience, Mills had a lot to offer once she was hired at BYU. She has been teaching and working here for 17 years. Her favorite part has been being so closely involved with the curriculum used in every course. She truly knows all the ins and outs of every nursing class. She also has loved working with students and putting them at ease if they were ever worried about something.

When asked about how it has been working with such a fantastic team of faculty, she says, “I appreciate them. I appreciate their support, when they let me know if they need something or if I can be of help. I just appreciate them.” There is no doubt that faculty feel the same way for her, and want to thank her for all her years of dedicated service.

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Beth Luthy

Barefoot and cozy in her office, Dr. Beth Luthy helps master’s students feel at ease as the newly appointed graduate coordinator. Although she is heartbroken that Donna is retiring, Luthy is excited to get to work with the students and feels that she has something unique to offer in this position.

Luthy did not plan to become a nurse at first; however, she was inspired to start learning the Healer’s art when her first son was born with a liver abnormality. He ended up getting a liver transplant early on and was very sick for the first five years of his life. Luthy sometimes felt frustrated because she would listen to the medical staff discuss her son’s condition, and she did not understand what they were saying. “It was like another language,” she says. It was then that she decided to go to nursing school to become a better advocate for her suffering child. She wanted to give a voice to the voiceless and be her son’s informed supporter.

This pattern of advocating for the weak has continued throughout her career. Luthy became a school nurse for a number of years. She fell in love with the job and enjoyed interacting with the children. However, she became a little exasperated when she realized that for many she was the only line of defense in their healthcare. They did not have insurance and therefore did not receive the care they needed. This inspired her to go back to school in order to treat these kids herself. She decided to go to Nurse Practitioner School at BYU in 2005. There she got a Bachelor’s in Community Health Education.

Her heart always remained in the education system, and she applied for a position teaching in the undergraduate program at BYU. Before applying, Luthy was uncertain if this job was the path she should follow. However, one day while she was taking her kids to soccer practice, she received an undeniable prompting that she was meant to teach at BYU. “It was so strong,” she says, “I just kind of sat there dumbfounded, taking in that moment. It was a revelatory moment.” Luthy got the job and began teaching.

Luthy learned about the position opening as the graduate coordinator from Dr. Donna Freeborn, who in many ways was her mentor. When asked about how she feels as the new graduate coordinator, Luthy replied, “If I could look 13 years into the future, I never would have thought that I would be here.” She knows the students are capable of amazing things and looks forward to holding them to that standard.

Donna Freeborn

Dr. Donna Freeborn is retiring after a full 20 years working in the College of Nursing. Freeborn has even taught multiple current faculty members when they were students, therefore influencing the future of the nursing program. We will miss her and are grateful for the legacy of service she has left. She truly has left a mark on the nursing program and the students who have passed through it.

Freeborn started her nursing career in Med/Surge, eventually going on a service mission to Hong Kong. Her passion was with labor and delivery, inspiring her to get a master’s degree and become a midwife. After a few years of experience, Freeborn saw an ad in the church news for someone to come to BYU and teach labor and delivery. She applied on a whim, uncertain if they would be interested in having her. She was hired, however, and began teaching in the undergraduate program for the following three years. After that, she taught in the nurse practitioner program for 17 years. When asked about how she felt leaving the field to come teach at BYU, she says, “I really liked the patients, that was my biggest thing, and I thought I would miss that when I came to teach. But the students filled that gap.”

Freeborn has absolutely loved teaching and focusing on the Savior, commenting, “Teaching and nursing are very similar in a lot of ways. In nursing, we talk about learning the Healer’s art and in education, we focus on becoming like the Master Teacher. Well, we’re talking about the same person.” She has learned to see people how the Savior would. She says, “You have to look at people like human beings. They have all aspects of their lives intertwined and we need to be understanding.”

Freeborn expresses her gratitude to all her coworkers and students, but at the same time she is excited for a relaxing retirement. When asked about her future plans, she says, “I’m building a cabin in Mount Pleasant.” The faculty wants to wish her luck in retirement and hopes she visits often.