Monthly Archives: June 2017

The Stillborn

As a part of the 50th anniversary of the BYU College of Nursing, a book was compiled called “The Healer’s Art: 50 stories for 50 years.” It has been 15 years since this book was first published and these stories were shared. We plan to regularly post selections from this book to help each of us remember and cherish the experiences of nursing and learning the Healer’s art. 

 

The Stillborn

Tyrone Brown

We often think of the nurse who has The Healer’s Art, but on this particular day, it was two patients that touched my heart. Three years ago, my life plan took a dramatic change. I was a football player for Brigham Young University, a nationally ranked division I team. Like many players, I had the dream of playing in the National Football League. During my sophomore year I suffered an injury that caused two herniated discs in my lower back and ended my career as a football player. Not only was my dream cut short, it was completely obliterated. Despite this unfortunate event, I was a firm believer that other doors will open when one closes.

I had a close friend who encouraged me to go into nursing. I courageously, and with an extreme alteration to my ego, acted upon his advice! I applied to and was accepted into the nursing program at BYU.

After about half a year in the program I was going into the clinical rotation that I dreaded most: Labor and delivery. This is where my story begins. You see, I’m six-foot-three, male, muscular, African American, and bald (by choice). Sometimes I see myself in the mirror and I get scared! I was terrified that the patients and other nurses would be so afraid of me, they would ask me to leave the room or wait outside the door during my time there. Most of all I thought, “How am I, a man, going to offer encouragement and support to a woman when I have no clue what it is like to be pregnant and in labor?” I thought my whole time there was going to be miserable and a waste of time.

Ironically, this turned out not to be the case at all; it turned out to be one of my most memorable rotations as a nursing student. It was during this rotation that I had an experience that would expand my perspective and outlook on life, for it was this experience that taught me what the Healer’s Art is all about.

On this particular day, I was assigned to work with a nurse who would be helping a mother and her family recover physically and spiritually after giving birth to a stillborn that morning. When we walked in the room to introduce ourselves, a Catholic priest was there giving the baby a blessing. The baby was in the arms of a young boy who was lying down asleep on a bed. I later learned that this young boy had cried himself to sleep with his baby brother in his arms. The room was dark and smelled of blood and body fluids. The father was in the bathroom.

We learned from the night shift nurse that the father had passed out when the baby was born. The mother was lying in bed with the underlying sheets covered in blood. She was sad, disappointed, and confused. This would have been her eighth child. She was diagnosed with chronic hypertension and had had poor prenatal care.  The baby had apparently been dead for a month because upon her admission to the hospital she reported no fetal movement for about this length of time.

Finally, the priest left the room and then the nurse also left to get a consent form to have an autopsy performed, so it was me alone with this family. I sat beside the father as he held his baby boy in his arms. I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say anything at all; I just put my hands on his shoulder. The nurse returned to the room with the consent form. The father then asked me if I could hold the baby while he signed the papers. It was a moment in time that I will never forget.  There was not the usual movement, crying, or opening of the mouth and eyes. There was blood around the baby’s mouth, eyes, and on his head. Vernix was still around his arms and legs. A million thoughts rushed in my mind. I thought about what this little boy’s spirit would have been like. I thought about all the fun things he would miss out on in life, like learning how to throw a baseball or ride a bike or his first kiss.

The nurse and I finished helping this family. We switched the mother to another bed. We took the baby to the morgue. I learned all about the process and the extended amount of paper work that must be done in these terrible situations.

Later that day as I was sitting at the nurses station watching the fetal monitor of a new patient, one of the nurses walked by with a newborn and asked me if I would hold the baby while she finished getting a few things together. As I held this live and active newborn in my arms, I thought about my earlier experience. I could feel the heartbeat of this new baby boy I was now holding. He opened his mouth wide and moved his arms and body. I couldn’t help but smile and feel love for this precious gift of life. My troubled heart was becoming mended.

The first time I held a baby in Labor and delivery was when I held the stillborn. The second time was later that day when I held the live newborn. In just one day I saw and felt the whole spectrum of the good and bad in Labor and delivery.

You see, most of the time we think of the nurse as the one who has The Healer’s Art, but on this day it was these two tiny little babies that opened my heart and touched it forever. Who knows, maybe it was part of this little stillborn’s mission to come to earth and touch my life. I will never forget him. He will always remain close to my heart. Wow, the children—no wonder Jesus loved them so much. Theirs is truly the kingdom of Heaven.

Nursing College Names New Associate Deans; Current Dean Reinstated

 

NewAssocDeans

Pictured left to right: Jane Lassetter, Kathy Whitenight, Patricia Ravert, and Katreena Merrill.

Professor Dr. Jane H. Lassetter has been named as the new associate dean for graduate studies and scholarly works and contribution to the discipline. Also associate professor Dr. Katreena Merrill was named as the associate dean for undergraduate studies.

 

NewAssocDean1Lassetter (AS ’81, BS ’98, MS ’01) PhD, RN, is a college alumnus and received three BYU nursing degrees before obtaining a terminal degree in nursing from Oregon Health Sciences University in 2008. She recently completed a graduate certificate in Healthcare Ethics from Creighton University. Lassetter was honored with the BYU Muriel Thole Teaching and Learning Faculty Fellowship last August. She is the president of the International Family Nursing Association, and Governor-at-Large for the Western Institute of Nursing. She was also inducted in 2015 as a member of the Western Academy of Nursing. Her research focuses on childhood obesity and the roles of families and culture. She is replacing Dr. Mary Williams who served in this position for 27-years.

newassocdean2.jpgMerrill (AS ’83, BS ’85) PhD, RN, is also an alumna of the nursing college and received a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Utah in 2011. She was recently inducted into the National Academies of Practice, and was given the College of Nursing’s 2017 Dr. Elaine Dyer Research Endowment Award, as well as receive its Myrtie Fulton Nursing Award in 2011. Her research and faculty specialties deal with quality improvement, patient safety, and nursing leadership in acute-care settings. As such she was honored with the Marriner S. Eccles Foundation Scholarship Award in 2006 and a Nursing Excellence Award from Intermountain Healthcare Urban South Region in 2005. She is replacing Dr. Kent Blad who was in this role the past five years.

Associate professor Dr. Williams (BS ’71) PhD, RN, began in this job at the start of the 1990 academic year and worked under five college deans. While the exact wording of her title may have changed over the years, she was responsible for the graduate program and for the scholarly works efforts of the college (which included faculty research and contribution to the discipline). Her service was recognized in 2009 with the university’s Wesley P. Lloyd Award for Distinction in Graduate Education. Williams’ College knowledge and insight allowed her to chair the college’s 40th-, 50th– and 60th-anniversary celebrations.

Teaching professor Dr. Blad (MS ’99) DNP, FNP-c, ACNP-BC, FCCM, FAANP developed the veteran section of the clinical practicum for public and global health nursing course, in which nursing students are taught how to care for the veteran population and then during spring term spend a week in Washington, DC, learning firsthand from various veterans and veteran groups, historical sites and clinical settings. Students also serve as guardians to veterans on a yearly college-sponsored Utah Honor Flight experience (which takes veterans to Washington, DC to view war memorials and historic sites in their honor). Blad received a presidential citation for Contributions to the Society of Critical Care Medicine from the Society of Critical Care Medicine earlier this year.

Additionally, Dr. Patricia K. Ravert was asked by the University to continue as Nursing Dean for a second term, effective July 1. While this was shared with College faculty and staff in March, it was never publicly announced.

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Dean and professor Ravert (AS ’74, BS ’75, MS ’94) PhD, RN, CNE, ANEF, FAAN is a pioneer in nursing simulation and is a national leader in the development of virtual learning scenarios. In March 2015, Mometrix Test Preparation released a listing of the 30 most influential nursing deans in the nation. Dr. Ravert was listed at the 19th position on this prestigious list.

 

She also received the 2009 Excellence in the Academic Setting Award from the International Association of Clinical Simulation and Learning, and a 2006 Excellence in Research Award from Sigma Theta Tau, Iota Iota Chapter at Large (the university’s nursing honor society chapter).

Assistant dean Kathy A. Whitenight MBA, remains in her current position and oversees resource management for the College.

An Arabic Major’s Humorous Experience Learning How to Administer an IV

Watch the video version of this at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJYqP5tS_uA.

“Be sure to inform the patient of the prick…”

I vaguely registered these words as I stared at the computer monitor. The presentation seemed to be dragging itself out a little, and my concentration was slipping.

“Be sure to properly dispose any blood-splattered material…”

My eyes shot open. Run that by me again? Blood-splattered material? Was I practicing to be a nurse or a butcher?

The flurry of medical terms that began erupting from the headphones about cannulation and catheters confirmed that indeed, this was IV placement training, and augmented how out of place I felt in the Mary Jane Rawlins Geertsen Nursing Learning Center.

My name is Steven Tibbitts, and I am a public relations assistant in the BYU College of Nursing. I am also a Middle East Studies/Arabic major. This means that when nursing faculty and students start talking about dyspnea and dilation, I’m usually grabbing a dictionary.

Given my non-medical background, it was decided that I would go through some of the same computer/machine training for IV placement that nursing students complete in order to write a story on the difficulty level.

Summary to the non-initiated—it’s hard. Lazy readers can stop here.

NLC Assistant Supervisor Kristen Whipple guided me through the process, giving me the same instructions she gives to normal students. The whole system is composed of a computer program and a small machine to which you administer the IV. For a nursing student to pass, they have to earn a 73% on the procedure.

I first had to watch several training videos. They made me feel good by reminding me how much easier Arabic is to understand than medical terminology.

IV 2

“What does this all mean?”

Following that, an image flashed on the screen about a patient to whom I would administer an IV, complete with a backstory about the accident that put her in the hospital. I could not help but think that the accident might not wind up being the worst part of her day by the time we were done.

It was time to get down to business. I selected the mid-arm as the injection point, and then scrambled to figure out what supplies I would require, my lack of understanding evident in the questions I asked myself aloud. How many needles? Which kind? Wait, IV needles come in gauges? (Nursing students, try not to mock me too much here.)

The program then had me prepare to administer the IV, first by informing the patient of the impending procedure, and then putting on rubber gloves with a satisfying snap. It then instructed me to test the viability of my selected injection site. This was accomplished by touching the part of the machine that mimicked human skin and feeling the pulse that it generated.

Easy, I thought, just like surgery class in first grade when Miss Conn taught us how to identify strong blood flow by palpating the patient’s veins…wait…

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“Here goes nothing…oh wait, there’s blood!”

With a site selected, I washed it on the computer and then realized that it was actually time to use the pointy thing. I apologized profusely to the imaginary patient, picked up the needle, and gingerly began to maneuver it into the hole on the machine that represented the insertion point. I watched my progress on the screen, realizing that most likely a real patient would be filling out lawsuit papers by now with the arm that I had not maimed.  However, after some fiddling, I did manage to place the catheter.

About that point, I remembered that I needed to warn the patient that I was going to place the IV, so they received a heads up a solid two minutes after the fact.

As you might guess, my initial score was not superb.  The report had many tips that Whipple helped me understand, like not moving the needle back and forth in the vein (be grateful that I will never be a nurse) and warning the patient before I poke them.

I practiced several times, achieved a 92 on the third, and then called it quits when my scores began precipitously plummeting to the 60s. In fact, I never managed to completely the procedure successfully by the program’s standards. One of the times even resulted in the patient bleeding profusely (this attempt is highlighted in the above video).

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“I need to flee the country before they sue!”

While I was contemplating my failure, Whipple explained to me the same thing that she does to Type A nursing students who get only a 73.

Obviously, the computer program is not a real patient. It is like a nursing video game whose purpose is to initiate students into IV training. This training is coupled with practicing on manikin arms and other materials, so the skill is finely honed during first semester, despite what people’s initial results may be with the machine. It is all about practice.

The experience showed me that a) I’m happy to stick with العربي and b) nursing students are very well trained and capable. Their program is rigorous and ensures that students are able to provide care in an effective way, all with the Spirit. The BYU College of Nursing holds its students to a high standard, which translates into better patient care and safer medical practices.

In summary, if you’re in a hospital and you find a BYU College of Nursing graduate administering your IV, rest easy, you’re in good hands.

If it’s me, run for the hills.