Graduate Changing Lives, Bringing Light through Nursing

Petr Ruda (BS ’09, MS ’15) will graduate this August from the BYU College of Nursing master’s program. During his time as both an undergraduate and graduate student at the University, he has learned many new skills and insight, particularly in his interactions with unique populations.

Ruda met missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when he was almost 20-years old in the Czech Republic where he was born and raised. He was baptized and later served a full-time LDS mission in San Diego. Following his mission, Ruda decided to further his education and came to BYU; he planned to become a businessman but found nursing along the way.

“When I got a feel for nursing, I fell in love; I could not stop,” he says.

It was during the clinical practicum for the public and global health nursing course that Ruda found his true calling as a nurse. He had the opportunity to go to Washington D.C. with a group of BYU nursing students to learn from and spend time with veterans at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and other locations.

“It changed my future completely,” he says of his experience with the veteran population. “When I visited with these folks that respond to a call and sacrifice everything they had—it was eye-opening. I wanted to share my knowledge and light with those in need.”

Ruda22Since this experience as an undergraduate student, Ruda is now completing the nursing graduate program preparing to become a family nurse practitioner (FNP). He is eager to begin working in a local family medical clinic as its first NP professional and share his advanced nursing skills with others.

He also has been instrumental in helping college faculty establish clinical sites for its public and global health nursing course. In May, he traveled with a group of undergraduate nursing students to two hospitals in the Czech Republic where he had the ability to share his culture and some of the unique methods of healthcare utilized by the Czech people.

One such method involves specific exercises in which care providers touch certain points on a child’s body so that the nervous system will react. For example, providers can push a certain spot on the stomach and the baby will lift its arm to a specific position. The method is used with infants to help them reach developmental marks.

“There are challenges they face, just like everywhere else,” Ruda says of the Czech people. “But they’re dealing with it and it was an enriching experience to review those different techniques.”

Ruda has the occasion to work with the population directly around him as a volunteer at the Mountainlands Community Health Center in Provo, where he serves as a registered nurse and assesses patients with his NP preceptors.

“There are a lot of people in the area who don’t seek medical providers because of experience, cost, or something else,” he says. “They are just waiting until something more severe [medically] happens.”

Petr Ruda, a BYU College of Nursing graduate program student visits with the children of assistant professor Dr. Neil Peterson.

Petr Ruda is among the students completing the BYU College of Nursing master’s program. He is visiting with the children of assistant professor Dr. Neil Peterson.

Through his work in becoming an FNP, Ruda has developed a greater ability to relate with these people and their needs. He has been able to understand why they are not receiving the care they require, whether it be financial or cultural. This awareness has allowed him to address some issues, and help these individuals to get proper care.

Whatever population Ruda is assessing—whether it be a veteran, someone from the Czech Republic, or a Provo resident—he has a goal to serve and create a good experience for not just the patient, but the patient’s family as well.

“What I learned as a new member of the church, I learned even more on my mission. And now as a nurse practitioner, I realize there are different ways of serving people,” Ruda says. “I hope to change the world for better. I want to bring the knowledge, the skills, the healing, the Gospel to those that need it.”

By Hayley Page—a BYU College of Nursing student employee preparing to major in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

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