Student Mentor Awards: Showing Appreciation to Preceptors

Thoracic ICU at IMC

Student presents mentor with Outstanding Mentor Award. 

By Quincey Taylor

It’s your first clinical at the hospital, and you are extremely nervous. It’s like a whole new world. You’ve read about this in books, but the actual application is so different. Your one lifeline is your preceptor, a fellow nurse that has worked in the field, that is guiding you through your experience. Without him or her, you would be completely lost.

Every semester, students are mentored by fantastic preceptors in many different hospitals throughout Utah and Salt Lake Counties. These nurses willingly volunteer their time and efforts to make students’ clinicals a positive experience. The faculty at the BYU College of Nursing are extremely grateful for these individuals and actively look for ways to express their gratitude. One way they do this is through the Student Mentor Awards. Students are asked to write about their positive experiences with their preceptors. Each of these preceptors are given an award as well as a gift. Clinicals would not be possible without the selfless efforts of student mentors.

Preceptors are given these awards in front of their colleagues, gaining recognition for their skill and care. Recipients who receive the award multiple semesters are given a special certificate and prize. One exceptional preceptor has received the award four times!

For students: To submit a Student Mentor Award nominee, talk to your professor. He or she will have the form to fill out, and turn in to your professor

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Living in Harmony with Nursing

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BYU Philharmonic Orchestra Performance. Photo courtesy of Utley.

By Quincey Taylor

First semester nursing student Morgan Utley has a lot on her plate. Not only did she get accepted to the nursing program in January, but she is one of only two current nursing students that are performers in the BYU Philharmonic Orchestra. They will be performing on the 13th of February, 2019.

Utley’s passion for nursing started when her grandpa moved from Montana to Utah to stay in an assisted-care facility. He has had advanced Parkinson’s disease since he was 32. Because he was now closer to where she was living, Utley was able to see him more often. She says, “I started to spend a lot more time with him, and I just found that I liked bonding with him and other patients at the care facility. I ended up talking to the nurses there a lot, finding out what they do and trying to understand why they were giving him certain medications. I subconsciously got so involved in his care and even the treatment of other patients, that I decided this was something I should try in school.” Utley then started the dramatic switch from music to nursing major.

At the same time, Utley started volunteering at Intermountain Medical Center to see if nursing was a good fit. She was immediately placed in the ICU after telling hospital administrators, “Give me your hardest unit. Don’t put me at the info desk, I want to know if this is something I want to do!” She loved taking the prerequisites for the program and feels that, “Everything just clicked.”

Balancing the two passions is not always easy. When asked how she does it, Utley comments, “Honestly, it’s tough. I don’t want to completely give up music. It’s a part of me, it’s something I’ve been doing since I was seven years old. It’s a class I really enjoy, and it helps me stay well-rounded.” She hopes this skill will eventually help her get into a master’s program, especially considering colleges are partial to students with additional skills and passions outside the medical field.

Utley plans to continue playing the viola for “the Phil” until she graduates, although she recognizes that sometimes her nursing obligations will need to take precedent. For now, she will continue to show up to orchestra practice — clad in her hospital scrubs.

The Philharmonic Orchestra will be performing on February 13th at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available in the HFAC. Notorious for pushing the limits of university-level orchestras, they will be performing Brahm’s 3 (which many schools would consider out of the skill range of their students), an original piece written by a BYU composition major student, and a never-recorded Argentine piece written in the late 1800’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learning Beyond the Classroom: Adventures in Paraguay

paraguay students

Photo courtesy of Rachel Matthews

By Jessica Tanner

As a nursing student, you fill hundreds of hours with your studies, your classes, and your clinical hours in hospitals. One day you wander by a flyer for a study abroad or see an email from one of your professors asking for student researchers. Do you keep walking? Do you disregard the email? Or do you consider the possibility of experiential learning outside the classroom? Though it may seem like there is not enough time nor resources, it may not be as impossible as you think. Two nursing students share how they got involved in a life-changing research trip to Paraguay.

These students joined Dr. Sheri Palmer, who was the recipient of the Fulbright Scholarship, in Paraguay to address the issue of teenage pregnancy.  On this ten-day research trip, they had two objectives: the first was interview local teachers, principals and community leaders about Paraguayan teenage life.  The second was to teach Days for Girls classes, teaching young women and girls about maturation and teenage pregnancy. For fifth-semester student Rachel Matthews, one of the best parts was “seeing the girls understand something they didn’t before, see them get empowered about their bodies and … themselves.” She also enjoyed the one-on-one interviews. “I’d missed that Paraguayan soul,” she says.

Matthews had served her mission in Paraguay. Coincidentally, so had Dr. Palmer. Having recently returned from her mission, Matthews was in search of something that would take her nursing skills outside the classroom. Her opportunity came in the form of Dr. Palmer at an ORCA conference. Matthews was about to leave when she spotted her teacher next to a Global Health sign. “I thought if there is anyone I can talk to, it’s probably her,” Matthews remembers. “I went over to her, and I sat down and started explaining some of the public health issues I’d seen in Paraguay. It turns out she’d also served her mission in Paraguay, so we bonded really quickly over that. As luck would have it, she’d also applied for a Fulbright [Scholar Award] to teach at a university in Paraguay.”

A sixth-semester student, Julia Lee, also coincidentally connected with Dr. Palmer. After returning from a mission in Argentina, Lee attended a Spanish class that Dr. Palmer was auditing. Lee had taken a gerontology class from Dr. Palmer, and started talking with her. The more she talked with her, the more she learned about the upcoming research trip to Paraguay. And the more she learned, the more interested she became.

These stories share a commonality: both Lee and Matthews got involved by talking to their professor. Professors are there to help students learn, in and out of the classroom. “That first step is just getting out of your comfort zone and asking professors if there is something you can do,” says Matthews.   Teachers and students have ideas; it is usually together they can make those ideas a reality. For Lee, too, the key to gaining these experiences comes from connections and questioning. She relates, “I happened to be in the class with Sheri Palmer. I could have just not talked to her about it, but I was interested, so I asked. And she talked about it, and it was interesting, so I asked.” Matthews adds that professors are constantly reaching out through emails. It does not take a lot to get involved – it simply starts with asking questions.

Though study and knowledge are important, real-world experience is also required. “There’s more to what you learn than what’s just in the textbook,” says Lee. That includes empathy, people skills, and problem-solving.  She continues, “I highly suggest going on a study abroad because it really heightens your learning experience. It makes your learning more holistic.” Another student on the research trip, Megan Hancock, adds, “Travelling is fun on its own, but when you travel with a purpose to learn and serve, you really can’t travel any other way again.”  For Matthews, the reason she enjoyed the research trip was the same as her reason for going into nursing. “I just like helping people in that greatest moment of need,” she says. “Really being there on the front line at the bedside.”

It is with that attitude that these students got involved, and none regrets the experience. Their story can be your story.

 

 

 

Battling Anxiety with Finger-paint

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By Quincey Taylor

As midterms pick up and assignments start to pile on top of each other, it is easy for students to start to feel overwhelmed. Even the best of students, including nursing students, can struggle with stress on an everyday basis.

At the BYU College of Nursing, a movement of stress relieving techniques are being taught to not only students, but also faculty and staff. This movement is embodied in the newly created Wellness Room on the first floor of the Kimball Tower. This room provides users with the tools they need to battle anxiety and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Associate professor Dr. Janelle Macintosh teaches the second-term Stress Management for Nurses class. It is her hope that every student will develop methods to deal with the inevitable strain that accompanies such a demanding occupation, as well as the current stress school cultivates.

In the class, Macintosh’s students participate in hands-on activities they can do in their everyday life. They learn the benefits of relaxing practices like enjoying aromatherapy, listening to calming music, coloring, doing yoga, using the techniques of Korean hand therapy, and guided meditating.

Taking the class also gives students access to the Wellness Room, which is a safe space for students to put their newly learned techniques into practice.

The walls of the room are a cool periwinkle and the lights are dimmed.

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Exercise mats are neatly stacked in the corner, leaving open space in the middle of the room to practice yoga or meditation. IMG_3138Crayons and colored pencils are available in neat cubbies along the wall, as well as an aromatherapy diffuser. Students who use the room can enjoy a moment of peace, hidden from on looking eyes.

These techniques are extremely valuable for in any stressful context, even in helping others to relieve stress.  Mactinosh explains, “The main focus is to help them learn how to navigate through their own stress because once they have tried something then they can be a testimonial that it works.” Once students see the benefits of self-care, they can recommend the practices to spouses, family members, patients, or patient’s families.

Mactinosh is a true believer in work-life balance and says, “I think the hardest thing for nursing students is recognizing that perfect is not attainable. A balanced life is a happy life. If you have to get 110% on every test then you’re not balanced. There is no honor in being the type of nursing student that can’t do anything else. You miss out on so much of life if you can’t stop and breathe and look around you. So, I would admonish students to look for ways that they can be accountable to themselves to find that balance in their life. It’s so hard. But it’s so valuable, and it’s such a lifelong skill.”

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Career Night: Where Students and Professionals Connect (and what to expect)

WHAT

On January 30, BYU College of Nursing’s first ever Career Night will provide an opportunity for you to sit down and talk with health care professionals. Nursing students semesters one through four are especially encouraged to attend. Please join us for this rare opportunity!

WHY

Deven Jennings, a Charge Nurse, says, “It should be the goal of every nurse to find purpose and meaning in their chosen specialty. When you find your passion, you will find the fulfillment that the nursing profession has to offer.”

While the nursing program provides extensive curriculum, it is not able to cover every career possible. And there are several options out there. For example, did you know you could become a forensic nurse? Have you ever considered being a school nurse? Career Night offers you a chance to learn about a variety of careers, ask professionals about their day-to-day lives, and know what you need to do to reach your potential.

WHO

Over 20 local professionals, including alumni, will come to talk about their careers. If you want to learn about being an ambulatory OB/GYN nurse, you can. If you are interested in law, a nurse attorney will be there. Maybe being an emergency department nurse fascinates you. You can learn how to become one. Other careers include critical care nurse, geriatric nurse, home health pediatric nurse, oncology nurse, and nurse educator. Professionals from all these areas and more want to share their knowledge with you.

“There is value in looking for an experience after graduation that will help you solidly develop your skills,” says Tiffany Noss, a Nurse Practitioner. “If you put in the time and effort to build a solid foundation when you graduate, you can go anywhere.”

Feeling overwhelmed by the options? Curtis Newman, Director of Medical Services, gives this advice: “Be flexible. Gain experience in different areas. Never be afraid to ask questions. Always be learning new skills and look for new knowledge.” Meeting with these qualified nurses can kick-start your journey to your future career.

WHEN AND WHERE

We invite you to join us for Career Night on January 30, at The Student Wilkinson Center room 3228 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm. You will be given the opportunity to have five, 12-minute rotations with health care professionals. Please be aware that seating at each table is limited. Ice cream sundaes will be served.

All the Good We Will Do

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Student Mikaela Heyland. Photo courtesy of Winter 2018-19 President’s Report.

Nurses in training at BYU work in the nursing lab with manikins that display symptoms like real patients or even talk.

Mikaela Heyland, a soon-to-be-graduate of the College of Nursing, says, “Now that I’ve worked in real hospitals, I realize that sometimes patients are emotional, angry, or just need to talk. I am better prepared because of the lab.”

She adds, “At BYU I’m gaining education for my career; I’m also receiving a spiritual education. I have grown because of classmates, professors, roommates, wards, and devotionals.”

Because this is her final semester, Heyland participated in the August graduation ceremony. Sitting there with 60 of her classmates, the significance of her BYU experience dawned on her. “We are all going out into the world to make a difference,” she says. “I thought about all the good we will do.”

Heyland is grateful to have received a scholarship. As an international student (she is from Canada), her work options are limited, so funding her studies at BYU has been challenging. “Someone’s donation lightened my burden,” she says. She continues working at a local hospital while finishing her coursework.

**republished from the Winter 2018-19 President’s Report 

Student Spotlight: Elizabeth Eide

By Jessica Tanner

Elizabeth Eide stood in an emergency room. Doctors and nurses rushed in and out, performing tests. Eide assisted them as the patient’s condition worsened. It would become one of Eide’s most profound experiences in the nursing program. Not just because it was challenging, but also because it solidified her love for nursing.

Eide is a sixth-semester nursing student focusing her studies in the ER and ICU. Surprisingly, she came close to not applying for the program. Her first fascination for medicine came from an anatomy class in high school. When she came to college, she knew she wanted something service-oriented. “I really needed that human interaction component,” she explains. But watching friends and peers struggle through prerequisites of the nursing program intimidated her. She tried for teaching, but it was not long before something called her back to medicine.

That something was Grey’s Anatomy. Although now Eide recognizes the popular television show is unrealistic, watching it re-sparked that interest from high school. She says, “I just remembered how much I loved the body, how much it fascinated me, and how emergency medicine was just exciting.” She was determined to give it a shot. Since becoming a nursing student, Eide has not looked back.

That led her to days like the one at the ER. Eide stayed with the patient as their status deteriorated. “I pretty much watched their entire decline,” Eide remembers. But the nursing program is not just about observation. It is hands-on. Eide was glad to help with critical yet simple tasks such as pouring sterile water onto a tray so the doctor could insert a catheter. The patient was taken to the trauma bay and then to the ICU to receive proper care.

It is essential to be there with a patient, but it is equally important to help those that are there for them. Eide took the time to help the patient’s family member. “It was a very scary situation for them,” Eide recalls. “I had the chance to just sit there with them and explain what was going on and ask what they needed.  And that is such a crucial and sacred part of nursing.”

Nurses spend the most time with the patient and their loved ones. “We meet complete strangers on their worst days ever, their most vulnerable times,” Eide says. “That’s really a sacred privilege because you have the opportunity to teach them, and to comfort them, and to educate them, and to be there for them.”

When not focusing on nursing, Eide balances her life with fun, rest, and enjoying unique college experiences. “I’ve made it a point throughout my nursing career to make sure I take care of myself and remember that nursing is not my whole life,” she says. She enjoys dancing, hiking, and watching movies. She also has a hidden talent: impersonations. Top picks include Brittany Spears, Shakira, Sarah Palin, and Kermit the Frog.

Though she admits it is surreal to be graduating, Eide is looking forward to the next step in her life. “BYU’s nursing program is really good and they prepare you really well…we have over 200 clinical hours in our capstone so we get a lot of hands-on experience,” she explains. It is an intimidating change but Eide believes in God’s help. “I feel like this is my calling so I have no doubt that in the time that I need it, I’ll be blessed.” With that confidence, Eide turns to the next chapter of her life.