Monthly Archives: January 2016

The new way to SNA

The delegate for the BYU College of Nursing has typically been pretty lonely at the annual National Student Nurse’s Association (NSNA) convention, but thanks to some creative thinking by the college SNA board, that’s about to change.

Instead of paying semester dues for SNA, students can now buy a package deal that includes two years membership to SNA, USNA [Utah] and NSNA. As new students buy the package, the college’s NSNA membership and voting power will increase.

“The main reason we made the change was to increase our voice at the national convention,” says Jim Kohl, an associate teaching professor and the SNA faculty advisor. “For however many students are registered with the NSNA, we get a vote at the national convention. It helps us with more votes so we can influence policy change.”

The new wave of students coming in has already increased the College of Nursing’s membership from 10 to around 50. With all the new members, the college will get around two or three delegates at the next conference. As membership grows, more delegates will be able to make the College of Nursing’s voice heard at the NSNA conferences.

“Taking the principles that we stand for as members of the LDS church to the national conference will make a huge impact,” says Chalese Adams, SNA president. “We’ll be able to help people gain a different perspective on nursing when they’re voting on policies. Advocating for the healer’s art at the national level is something no other school besides BYU can do.”

Chalese Adams explains the benefits of SNA and NSNA to College of Nursing students. Students can sign up with SNA members or at SNA events.

Chalese Adams explains the benefits of SNA and NSNA to College of Nursing students. Students can sign up with SNA board members or at SNA events.

In addition to SNA, USNA and NSNA membership, students who buy the $200 package will also get their BLS certification.

“Students would already be paying more than $100 for their BLS certification alone,” Kohl says. “With the package they get that and membership in SNA, USNA and NSNA.”

David Adams, SNA first vice president, recently got into George Washington University’s graduate program, his number one choice. He feels that his SNA and NSNA membership were a major contribution to him getting in.

“Graduate schools eat that stuff up, so do people who are looking to hire recent graduates,” he says. “They love seeing that you’re willing to do something outside of yourself and not just focus 100 percent on school. They want people who can multi-task and they can see that when SNA and NSNA are on your resume.”

The SNA board members hope that through SNA, USNA and NSNA membership, no student will reach their senior year and realize they have nothing that sets them apart from other recent graduates.

“With nursing you could get a job out there pretty easily,” Kohl says. “But if you want THE job, your prime job, having leadership roles in school are going to make you stand out far above other people.”

Students interested in signing up for the package deal can talk to Chalese or any of the other faculty involved with SNA. They will also have the opportunity to sign up at any SNA activity, including this weeks’s SNA Twister activity on Saturday, January 30 at 10am in the WILK west ballroom.

By Nate Brown—BYU College of Nursing public relations assistant

An upgrade in delivery

Not many mothers have given birth 21 times in four months. However, Lucina, BYU College of Nursing’s newest birthing manikin has been laboring since she arrived. From the sound of her voice to the touch of her skin, Lucina delivers the most life-like delivery experience for the College of Nursing students.

The manikin is one of the latest, high-fidelity birth simulation models from CAE Fidelis and will greatly elevate the caliber of education and hands-on practice for students now and in the future of the program.

With 10 pre-configured birthing scenarios, Lucina can give birth in multiple birthing positions, has two abdomens (one for use without a baby), realistic breathing with two separate heart beats—one for her and the baby, as well as flexible limbs and joints.

“I’m really excited about Lucina,” says Laura Thorpe a registered nurse and college lab instructor. “She is more high-tech and much more true-to-life. Her legs are more realistic; they bend at the knees, and they can fit in the stirrups of the bed—even the feel of her skin is more real.”

All fourth-semester nursing students enroll in a simulation lab to practice caring for women and experience child labor and delivery.  Students experience three types of simulations including childbirth, post-partum hemorrhage and pregnancy-induced hypertension and seizures. IMG_4629

Shelly Reed, associate teaching professor along with other nursing professors, are expanding Lucina’s use in the nursing curriculum. Beginning next fall, the college will have a simulation lab at a set time for students to practice with the manikin. The goal is to help students understand their role of being a nurse during a delivery, learn how to care for a post-partum hemorrhage, the leading cause of death worldwide to childbearing women, and care for pregnancy-induced hypertension, the second leading cause of death in childbearing women.

“[The lab] allows them to take the active role of the nurse,” says Reed. “They get the full experience like in a hospital. It helps reinforce what they are learning in class.”

The old manikin, Noelle, had many problems as she didn’t always work. There was trouble placing her legs to the side in the stirrups of the bed, and she couldn’t hemorrhage. The nurses would have to simulate post delivery bleeding by wearing special scrubs with a blood reservoir placed inside to get the bleeding right.

“With Noelle, there were a lot of little problems,” says Thorpe. “Sometimes she worked great and on some occasions, she didn’t.”

Stacie Hunsaker, assistant teaching professor who oversees the labs and lab instructors, shared how much more she was able to experience with Lucina being in the college.

“I have been a nurse for 27 years, but have never worked on a labor and delivery unit,” Hunsaker says. “Until Lucina came, I have never had the opportunity to check for cervical dilation in the progression of labor. I’m excited about [Lucina] and the more in-depth training our students will receive.”

By Brooke Tait—BYU College of Nursing public relations assistant

New nursing students take the cake at orientation night

Excitement fills the room as 62 of the newest nursing students start off the winter semester at the orientation banquet, Wednesday, January 6. The average 32% acceptance rate into the College of Nursing shows the talent of the newly accepted 60 women and 2 men in the program. An average 3.86 GPA, countless hours of service and letters of recommendation set apart these high achieving nursing students into a new life and career.

The event consisted of introducing the faculty, vision, mission and values of the program, and sharing of a broad overview of labs, clinical work, portfolio and capstone projects.  The mission of the program is to help students learn the Healer’s art and develop caring professional nurses.

“The beauty of nursing is it is both a science and an art” says Dr. Kent Blad, associate dean of undergraduate studies for the College of Nursing.

The vision of the nursing program is to help students gain more than just a degree. The faculty expressed their passion and purpose to help students promote health and care for the suffering. Like the ultimate healer, Jesus Christ, inviting the spirit into health and healing is the program’s biggest inspiration.


Angela Nikerl (left) meets fellow nursing students at orientation dinner. Photo credit: Brooke Tait

“I love the feeling here,” says Angela Nikerl from Spokane, Wash. “Being a transfer student, I find myself tearing up every time there is an opening prayer said in class.”

As a mother of five kids, Nikerl says that is one of the reasons she loves being a nurse.

“The most profound thing you will do is invite the spirit into your profession,” says Dr. Mary Williams, associate dean of graduate studies of the College of Nursing. “We are here to help you educate your heart, mind and hands; all those parts of you must be excellent. You have a responsibility to make nursing better.”

Megan Blazzard, a sophomore from Boise, Idaho says, “Tonight I took away how incredible it is that [nursing] is a Healer’s art. Every day we are touching someone’s life and truly being like the Savior in our work.”


Megan Blazzard (third from left) dishes up dinner with her classmates at orientation dinner. Photo credit: Brooke Tait

Inspired by her aunt who is also a nurse, Blazzard decided to study nursing. “I’ve always looked up to her,” she says,“ I want to be that nurse that is always happy and is a friend to the patients—someone they can trust and have confidence in.”

One of the two men in the program, Doug Harvey, a 21-year old from Brighton, Mich. says, “I love science, the human body and helping people, this is something with all those intersected,” he says. “What I am most excited for in the program is to learn, and with every class I take I love it more and more.”

“We are so glad you are here,” Dr. Patricia Ravert, Dean of the College, says in her closing remarks. She spoke of her confidence in the new students. “We expect a lot from you and want you to be successful. Nursing is something you can do so much with if you keep working at it.”

It will be exciting to see where the program will take these students in their future semesters here at BYU and in the nursing profession.

By Brooke Tait—BYU College of Nursing public relations assistant