By Quincey Taylor
This past year has been a doozy for new faculty member assistant teaching professor Dr. Noreen Oeding. She became a BYU nursing professor and a new mother of a baby boy.
Motherhood has opened Oeding’s eyes to a new perspective on infants. Even though she has worked in the newborn intensive care unit of Utah Valley Hospital for ten years, she is still learning every day. Oeding was born in Provo when her parents were BYU students, in that exact hospital. She jokes, “I didn’t go very far in life.”
Her son, who just hit eight months, pushes Oeding to grow. She says, “It’s been the best and probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” She continues, “It took me by surprise. I had been a nurse and neonatal nurse practitioner for years, and was confident I knew how to take care of babies. But it’s been a completely unexpected experience – a beautiful and delightful surprise!”
She will tell you that her associate’s and bachelor’s degrees from Brigham Young University–Idaho in 2010 prepared her well for future opportunities, including motherhood. As a student, she worked in the university’s student health center and was an active participant with the campus student wellness committee.
Oeding and her husband, Matthew, got to know each other one night when her neighbor called at 11pm. The woman had fallen out of her wheelchair and, knowing Oeding was a nurse, called for help. Oeding says, “Lo and behold, guess who helped me get her back into her wheelchair but my future husband!” They had been in the same ward for years. It was after that experience that they started to see each other in a new light. She says, “I look back and think if it hadn’t been for nursing and that situation, who knows what would have happened? Nursing solves everything!”
Oeding has also lived in Arizona and Idaho, where she went to school at BYU-Idaho. She never dreamed that she would be at BYU as a faculty member, and had to join the freshmen this year in learning the layout of campus.
She describes the faculty application process as a “sweet experience.” She had just graduated with her doctorate from Creighton University in 2018 and decided to apply on a whim. She knew Cara Wiley from a previous ward and had been the assistant of teaching professor Dr. Kent Blad many years prior, so she hoped that they would be able to give her some good advice. She came to campus to see if there were any openings. She says, “As luck would have it, I came in and nobody was there. It was a Tuesday and everything was closed during devotional. As I was leaving the Kimball Tower, I saw Cara walking up and I got to talk to her. It was just perfect, perfect timing.” Wiley took her resume and recommended she email Dean Ravert.
Even though she was nearing the end of her pregnancy during the interview process, Oeding kept her wits about her and passed with flying colors.
This summer she was able to join associate teaching professor Dr. Peggy Anderson in the vulnerable populations section of the clinical practicum for the public and global health nursing course. It was eye-opening to learn about refugees as well as incarcerated populations in Utah. Oeding says that being at BYU provides an opportunity for faculty and students to learn, grow, and teach each other while utilizing the Spirit and power of God to seek truth and knowledge. It is also an opportunity to excel and challenge each other to grow mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Oeding and her husband enjoy traveling, and have already had a chance to take their son on trips with them. He loves socializing, a “complete extrovert” according to Oeding, so the airplane ended up being a great experience for him.
When asked what her favorite trip she’s ever taken, Oeding is reminded of a neonatal conference in Florida she was asked to go to. She would be apart from her then boyfriend for a week, which she wasn’t looking forward to. Once she flew down to Florida, her future husband surprised her at the resort she was staying at with a bouquet of flowers! “What a keeper,” she remarks.
Oeding is excited to continue to be challenged and try new things. Who knows what the next year has in store?