Move over Lewis and Clark, There’s a New Explorer in Town

“Do you remember that time we took Grandma spelunking?”

Assistant Teaching Professor Daphne Thomas gets that question from her sons every once in a while when they want to remind her of the escapades she took them on when they were younger. Those exploits have made for good memories for the adventurous Thomas, as well as her family.

“That’s the main reason I do it,” she says. “I love those memories and I love for my kids to have those memories and experiences.”

Some of her usual pastimes include hiking, kayaking, traveling, and occasionally snowmobiling (assuming the weather is not took cold). She’s always been prone to leave her comfort zone and see what else is out there in the world, like the time she took her two young sons and their grandmother on a spur-of-the-moment road trip through California and Oregon.

“I just love life,” she says. “[I just] try to live for each moment and make each moment better.”

This attitude has helped her in her twenty-seven-year career as a nurse and a nurse educator. She only began teaching nursing a few years ago, and recently started working at BYU. She loves the College of Nursing for its focus on helping everyone become better not only as nurses, but also as people.

Thomas has been around the block when it comes to nursing positions, with some of hers including staff nurse, charge nurse, trauma coordinator, and nursing manager. Management was definitely the job that stretched her the most, she says.

“It’s definitely a perspective most people don’t get,” she says. “As you get into management, it really starts to connect a lot of pieces that you’ve just never put together.”

Wherever she works, Thomas always keeps a focus on the big picture. One of her favorite areas of study is how to retain people in the nursing profession despite burnout. Her life is an example of overcoming stress and not feeling overburdened.

“Experience is always good,” she says. “I like to grow and to learn, so I like to stretch myself a little bit.”

For Thomas, that experience includes continuing to work as an emergency nurse. She looks forward to each shift, knowing that she will be able to make someone’s day a little better.

“I guess that’s what I try to aim my life at, just making a difference, whether that’s a difference in myself or in my family or my friends or even people that I don’t know,” she says. “I love to do that.”

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