Monthly Archives: September 2017

College of Nursing Masterpiece Celebrates 25th Anniversary

By Jonathan Schroeder

Few BYU students may realize that one of the most iconic paintings on campus is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month. That’s because they can’t find this masterpiece in any traditional Museum of Art gallery or HFAC display, but in the nursing student lounge on the first floor of the Spencer W. Kimball Tower.

In 1992, the BYU College of Nursing commissioned former BYU professor Trevor Southey to paint a work entitled “I Would Learn the Healer’s Art.” The four-by-six foot oil on canvas commemorated the 40th anniversary of the College. The painting’s inspiration came from a line from the hymn, “Lord, I Would Follow Thee” that has become a motto for the College: “I would be my brother’s keeper; I would learn the healer’s art.”

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Southey wanted the painting to capture an intimate moment of healing between nurses and patients. He experimented with several different ideas in his sketches and finally decided to leave the patient resting peacefully, as the nurse prepares to care for her charge. Her arms are delicately out-stretched, ready to practice the Healer’s Art.

“I really love this painting not only because of its beauty, but also because of the symbolism it contains,” dean and professor Dr. Patricia Ravert shares.

Trevor Southey Healers Art

“I Would Learn the Healer’s Art” contains three specific symbols that form an inverted triangle within the painting. The red square on the right side of the painting represents blood and the human experience. Opposite the square is a golden sphere that symbolizes the spirit and things of eternity. At the bottom of the painting is an eternal flame, a tribute to the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale.

“I think ‘I Would Learn the Healer’s Art’ does a great job of showing what it means to be compassionate,” observes nursing student McKenna Warren. “That’s something that we try to learn, not only as nursing students, but also as disciples of Jesus Christ.”

For more information, watch this video: I Would Learn The Healer’s Art

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A Trip They’ll Never Forget: Nursing Students Visit The Holy Land

With clinicals, Public and Global Health trips, and immense loads of homework, BYU College of Nursing students keep themselves busy. The idea of doing a non-nursing study abroad trip may seem out of the question for some, but eight nursing students lived the dream when they studied at the BYU Jerusalem Center this past summer.

Ironically, the students did not coordinate between themselves to go. It was mostly spontaneous decision-making by each student.

“It was just one day in class I was like, ‘You know, I think I really want to go to Jerusalem,’” Hailey Coburn, a fourth-semester student, says.

“None of us planned to go together, but we always found each other,” fourth-semester Jessica Butterfield says. Some, such as third-semester student Maggie Gunn, had friends or family who had attended before and highly recommended the experience.

Upon arrival to Jerusalem, the students realized that they were not in Provo anymore.

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Maggie Gunn in front of the Dome of the Rock

“It was unlike any country I’ve ever been to in my life, and that’s saying a lot because I’ve been to a lot of countries,” says globetrotting fourth-semester student Ashley Dyer, who has visited 23 countries.

“One of my favorite parts was walking through the Old City—you could smell all the spices and they always had their olives or their pickles,” Shannon Beech, fourth-semester, says.

The immense diversity of Jerusalem was a defining feature of the trip for most of the students, who appreciated being able to learn from the different people and cultures of the city.

“It was an absolutely incredible experience to be there and understand the culture a little bit better,” Gunn says.

“One thing that I learned from going there is that even more important than the sites is the people,” Coburn says. “There are some of the nicest people over there.” Students routinely were welcomed by locals and invited to participate in communal dancing and other activities. Each culture brought something new that the students were able to learn about and respect—for example, the students visited churches, a mosque, and a synagogue.

“It was really cool learning about the different cultures because I haven’t really been very familiar with Jewish or Muslim culture before, and I think that’s really going to help me in the future,” Dyer says.

The devotion of the adherents of the various religions in Jerusalem also struck a chord with the nursing students.

“When you think of the Middle East, everyone thinks about tension and violence,” Dyer says. “I mean, there was some violence going on, but it was definitely a lot more peaceful than I expected, and a lot more spiritual, both from my religion and other people’s religions as well. People are so dedicated to their faith and it really inspired me.”

“They all lived for a purpose,” Beech says. “That’s something that really hit home with me.”

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BYU Jerusalem students in traditional clothing

Life in the Jerusalem Center was a mix of hectic and spiritual.

“Something about the Jerusalem center is that everything changes—nothing is consistent,” Butterfield explains. “Usually five days a week we have class and our class schedule is not consistent.”

Students took classes on the Old and New Testaments, Palestinian history, local languages, and the different religions of the region. In between classes, students could relax in the lounge, visit local sights, or get food at the Center cafeteria. Butterfield noted that one of the best parts about the trip was not having to cook a meal for three-and-a-half months.

“Usually Mondays were our field trip days,” second semester student Katie Glaus says. Field trips could be within Jerusalem or farther abroad. During the semester, students visited Galilee, Jordan, and Greece on extended trips.

Adventures abounded during the students’ stay. They floated in the Dead Sea, canoed down the Jordan River, rode camels, visited the ruins of Petra in Jordan, climbed rickety towers in Greece, and explored old tunnels in Jerusalem.

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Jessica Butterfield in front of Petra in Jordan

One of the most important parts of the trip, however, was the bonding that occurred between the students. Several of them were assigned as visiting teachers to each other, and they all came closer as they struggled through the immense workload of the Center. Of course, the conversations would come frequently come back to nursing.

“Since I’m in a lower semester, I would always ask questions about the next semester,” Glaus says. “I would just always go to them for advice with nursing stuff.”

“I feel like there’s a special connection between us now,” Coburn says.

The students were impacted spiritually as well. Each had special experiences that contributed to both their spiritual growth and their nursing abilities.

“One thing that was very special about to the Holy Land was that we were able to go see the sights where Christ healed people,” says Dyer. Visiting these sights taught the students about charity and truly caring for patients the way Jesus Christ did.

“I think being there and also studying the life of the Savior while I was there and what He did for the people just helped me to be more loving and helped me to see the bigger picture,” Glaus says.

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Butterfield in Greece

Back in Provo, the students have to adjust to not hearing the Islamic call to prayer five times a day and not having cheap falafel (common street food in Jerusalem) within walking distance of their classes. However, the impact of the trip continues to be felt, and the students are confident that their nursing careers have been positively influenced by the trip.

“I feel like one of the cool things about this experience is that it’s still affecting me as I come back to normal life,” Butterfield says.

 

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Posing in traditional clothing

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Kosher McDonald’s

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Climbing to Petra

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Dyer in front of the tomb of Lazarus

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Glaus and Dyer in front of Petra

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Floating in the Dead Sea

Photos courtesy of Maggie Gunn, Jessica Butterfield, and Ashley Dyer

Cholesterol: The Inside Story

When someone says cholesterol, it’s easy for someone to immediately think about heart attacks and regret devouring that greasy burger at lunch. Others may zone out when they start hearing scientific terms like HDL and triglycerides—comedian Steven Wright once made the tongue-in-cheek remark, “I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol.”

With September being National Cholesterol Education Month, Learning the Healer’s Art sat down with BYU College of Nursing assistant professor Dr. Neil Peterson to learn the important facts about cholesterol and its impact on the body.

Learning the Healer’s Art: You’re one of our experts here in the College on physical fitness and related topics. This whole month is National Cholesterol Education Month and we’re trying to explain to students what cholesterol is and why it matters. What is cholesterol?

Dr. Neil Peterson: Cholesterol is an essential compound that stabilizes literally every cell in our body. It’s part of the cell wall. Some of the cholesterol you get from nutritional intake, but the rest of it is made by your body. Your body can usually make enough cholesterol for you to live on. Cholesterol is necessary for all of your cells and hormones and the bile that helps to break down fat that you eat. You do need cholesterol. It always has a bad connotation, of course, but it’s essential for living, kind of like fat. Everybody thinks fat is bad, but it’s essential as well.

LTHA: So cholesterol is something that your body needs.

Peterson: Yes. Not only does your body use it for all of your cell walls, but you need it for some hormones like testosterone and estrogen. It’s involved in the synthesis of Vitamin D, which is particularly important during winter time because people who have low levels of Vitamin D might be more depressed or have Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s used in your bile which your body uses to break down fat that you eat, which is plentiful in the American diet.

LTHA: If we get most of our cholesterol naturally, when we eat a lot of unhealthy food, does that bring a lot of unnecessary cholesterol?

Peterson: Yes, that’s true. Now usually your body handles that just fine by processing it and just sending it right through your body. But still some of it does get absorbed, and the problem with that is excess cholesterol along with high amounts of fat can get deposited between cells and contribute to the hardening of your arteries. You’re more likely to have decreased blood flow and have strokes, heart attacks, and stuff like that.

LTHA: So if you get too much cholesterol, your body cannot handle all of it and it gets jammed in your veins?

Peterson: If your body cannot get rid of it, it just deposits it in places in your body. Generally we talk about two types of cholesterol: good cholesterol– High Density Lipoprotein (HDL)–and bad cholesterol, which is LDL or Low Density Lipoprotein. What happens is your body sends cholesterol out everywhere and transports it using LDL, but you don’t want it out there if it’s not being used. The way that your body brings it back to the liver is through HDL. Since we almost always have an excess of LDL, then you really want a high HDL (or good cholesterol) to bring it back to the liver to be processed and sent out of the body.

LTHA: What do you have to do to have high HDL?

Peterson: There’s a few things you can do. Exercise is one. Exercising increases HDL production. A lot of it has to do, we suspect, through this mechanism of increased blood through, especially at the skin level. When you exercise, especially vigorously, you can increase your HDL. Having a higher body weight or higher BMI can sometimes make it harder for your body to produce more HDL or you end up making more LDL cholesterol. Women tend to have really good HDL because of their hormones, but men’s HDL tends to not be as good.

LTHA: Does an unhealthy diet contribute?

Peterson: It mostly contributes to high fat content and also LDL, so bad cholesterol, but there’s a few things you can try to take to try and increase HDL naturally like Niacin*.

LTHA: When I go to the doctor and they test my cholesterol, what are they measuring?

Peterson: We have the ability to test lots of different types of cholesterol, but in general they’re looking at your triglycerides, which are a reflection of your diet. High sugar intake and high carbon intake will bump that up significantly. Then they look at LDL and HDL, and then they can look at other things like the ration of good to bad cholesterol, your total amount of cholesterol. One nice thing to look at is the ratio because if maybe your bad cholesterol is on the higher end, but if you’ve got really good HDL and as your body deposits the cholesterol you’re able to compensate for it by bringing it all back using your good cholesterol, then that’s not as bad. But you could have a normal LDL but if your HDL is so low that it can’t protect you from the LDL deposits peripherally, then you can still be in trouble.

LTHA: What are triglycerides?

Peterson: Triglycerides are a reflection of your diet. We do put that in with our cholesterol panel when we draw that on somebody.

LTHA: What are some health problems associated with having an HDL/LDL imbalance?

Peterson: When you have a hardening of the arteries, everybody usually thinks about having heart disease. What I think that some people don’t realize is that the hardening of the arteries is literally happening everywhere in your body. You have a higher chance of having heart disease, you have a higher chance of having a stroke of brain disease from those blood vessels being hardened, kidney problems, liver problems, everywhere. Blood vessels feed your entire body, and if those vessels are hardening everywhere, then you could be in trouble anywhere in your body from that. We just happen to see its affects more readily in places like the heart and brain.

LTHA: Is healthy living the main way to avoid these problems?

Peterson: Yes. To some degree you can’t stop it from happening because like I said your body naturally makes cholesterol and you need it for a lot of different things. Some is naturally going to get deposited in your blood vessels, but you can do some things to try to limit that, especially exercise. Good diet, as well. You can’t get cholesterol from plants; plants in general don’t contribute to your cholesterol at all. Eating lots of plant-based foods would prevent you from having too much dietary intake of cholesterol. We get it all from animal sources: beef, chicken, pork, stuff like that because again it’s animal-type cells that make cholesterol.

*Peterson notes that versions of Niacin that are promoted as “flush-free” deactivate the property of Niacin that addresses cholesterol problems and are significantly less useful.

Happy Fall (Prevention Awareness Day)!

In 2007, a window washer astonished the world when miraculously he survived a 47-story fall. This past February, thousands of Youtubers viewed the footage of a Utah man surviving a 90-foot fall in the Grand Canyon.

While sensational falls like these attract a lot of media attention, they are just the tip of the iceberg.

In fact, the CDC estimates that every second of every day, an older American falls, making falls “the number one cause of injuries and deaths from injury among older Americans.”

That’s why today, the first day of fall, is Fall Prevention Awareness Day, sponsored by the American Council on Aging. The idea is to spread awareness of the dangers posed to seniors by falling and highlight preventative measures.

The CDC explains, “Each year, millions of older people—those 65 and older—fall. In fact, more than one out of four older people falls each year, but less than half tell their doctor. Falling once doubles your chances of falling again.” The CDC also estimates that the problem will increase as more and more Americans turn 65.

“[Falls] are very common in the older population,” says assistant teaching professor Dr. Blaine Winters, an expert on head injuries and gerontology. He believes that most falls go unreported despite the massive dangers they pose. Part of this, he thinks, comes from a lack of understanding about the nature of fall injuries or the health risks that can lead to them.

“Many times we hear ‘Oh, she fell and broke her hip,’ but in reality her hip broke because of osteoporosis which made her fall,” he says. He also points out that many times the consequences of a fall worsen over time, meaning that many Americans do not initially seek treatment and thus increase the chance of more serious health problems like a stroke.

That is why, Winters says, anyone, particularly older adults, who has fallen should promptly visit the emergency room. However, even more important are the preventative measures that even college students can start in order to reduce their future risk of falling.

“Fall prevention begins before you’re at risk for falls,” he says. Health living, including exercise, is critical to maintaining strong and flexible muscles into old age. Having proper lighting and removing tripping hazards in homes are also important.

Exciting New NLC Tech Transforms Student Learning Experience

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Assistant Lab Supervisor Kristen Whipple watches as students learn how to operate the new Pyxis MedStation

By Jonathan Schroeder

One of BYU’s top learning facilities got some exciting new upgrades this summer. Among the more exciting improvements, the Mary Jane Rawlinson Geertsen Nursing Learning Center (NLC) now boasts eighteen new hospital beds, two new state-of-the-art classroom manikins, and two new Pyxis MedStation 4000 systems.

“In the NLC, our goal is to simulate real-life nursing scenarios for our students, so they are better prepared when they enter a hospital for first time,” said NLC supervisor Colleen Tingey. “The Pyxis MedStations are what students are most likely to see in Utah area hospitals.”

“Pyxis is actually a real, clinical machine that we use as a teaching tool,” Assistant Lab Supervisor Kristen Whipple added. “But the same Pyxis machine we use here could be used in any hospital.”

Acquired through a donation by the Fritz B. Burns Foundation, the Pyxis MedStation 4000 is a computerized medical dispenser that is quickly becoming a standard piece of equipment for nurses across the country. The Pyxis MedStation is programmed with a patient database to help nurses keep track of all of their patient’s specific medical needs.

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“The whole idea behind the machines is to improve patient safety,” Tingey explained. “Because the patient’s record is already programmed into the machine, it can then dispense the right medication for that patient and help the nurse avoid medical errors.”

Prior to this summer, the NLC had just one older version of Pyxis to use for all nursing simulations, which often ran simultaneously. Nervous nursing students would often waste valuable time waiting to get meds for their simulation because of backlog at the older machine.

“We’re really excited to have two Pyxis machines, instead of just one,” Whipple said. “Now it’s easier for students to access them during their simulations.”

Thanks to the Fritz B. Burns Foundation, NLC also welcomed two new additions to the College of Nursing manikin family. The new arrivals (one adult and one child) are auscultation manikins that help students learn to identify heart, lung, and bowel noises.

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Nursing student Aimee Schouten with the new pediatric auscultation manikin.

Students can use a stethoscope to listen to the manikin’s heart rate and breathing. Computer programs allow the professor to control what sounds the student hears, as well as the area on the manikin that the sound comes from. The professor can also program the manikin to emit different types of sounds or project the sound through a speaker, so the whole class can hear.

“When students practice on each other, they get to hear normal sounds,” Tingey explained. They get to hear what normal, healthy patients sound like. But they don’t get the opportunity to hear abnormal heart sounds. These manikins provide an opportunity for students to hear what an abnormal heart sounds like.”

Nursing faculty are especially excited about the new pediatric auscultation manikin. Whipple said that nursing faculty had specifically asked for this device to better teach pediatrics to nursing students. “Small children don’t just behave like small adults,” Whipple pointed out. “Their bodies are different than adult bodies; so we need to train in what’s specific to them. This pediatric simulator acts like a pediatric body would and helps us identify those sounds that are unique to children.”

The new adult auscultation manikin has several unique features that are useful to professors and nursing students. Professors can use the adult manikin’s computer program to display EKGs, phonograms, and ultra-sounds. This allows students to see the physiology behind any abnormal sounds they may hear.

“Basically, this manikin allows our students to not only identify abnormalities like heart tremors,” Tingey said. “But it also allows students to learn how the sound correlates to what’s happening in the heart.”

 

 

 

Four Steps to Food Safety

 

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Practicing Proper Food Safety Techniques Can Help Keep You Family Safe               (Image Courtesy of CDC)

An undercooked steak could be the difference between a good night’s sleep and a trip to the ER. Every year 48 million Americans suffer from one of the most preventable diseases on the planet—food poisoning. As part of National Food Safety Education Month, here are four easy tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent food poisoning.

4%20steps to food safety - clean, separate, cook, chill

(Image Courtesy of CDC)

     1. CleanAccording to the National Health Service (NHS), a single flu virus can survive on your kitchen countertop for up to 24 hours. Use antibacterial soaps and cleaning supplies to rid your kitchen of any germs that may linger on your hands, utensils, or cutting boards. The CDC also recommends rinsing fresh fruits and vegetables under running water to clean off any dirt or pesticides before consumption.

(Check out this USDA Food Safety “Clean” Video for more details)

 

      2. Separate

Have you ever wondered why you need a separate bag for raw meats at the grocery store? This is to prevent cross-contamination—the spread of bacteria from one source to another, particularly from raw meat to other foods. Prevent cross-contamination by keeping raw meats, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from produce and ready-to-eat foods. Also, be sure to sanitize any surfaces or utensils that touch raw meat or meat juices before using them elsewhere.

Make Sure You Separate Food to Prevent Cross-Contamination                  (Image Courtesy of CDC)

(Check out this USDA Food Safety “Separate” Video for more Details)

 

     3. Cook

How do you know if your steak is cooked well enough? Just because it looks done does not necessarily mean it’s bacteria-free. Checking your food’s internal temperature with a food thermometer is a key way to make sure it is fully cooked.

The CDC recommends the following internal temperatures for different dishes:

  • 145˚F: Internal Temperature for whole beef, lamb, fin fish, fresh pork and ham.
  • 160˚F: Internal Temperature for ground beef, pork, and lamb, and any egg dishes
  • 165˚F: Internal Temperature for all poultry (including ground chicken and turkey), stuffing, leftovers, and casseroles

(Check out this USDA Food Safety “Cook” Video for more Details)

 

       4. Chill

Did you know that germs can grow on some foods within two hours if they are not properly refrigerated? The CDC recommends keeping your refrigerator below 40˚F to slow bacterial growth. Check food labels and ensure that perishable food items are properly refrigerated. Also, be sure to thaw frozen meats properly using a microwave or cold water.

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(Check out this USDA Food Safety “Chill” Video for more Details)

 

 

For additional information, see the links below:

https://www.cdc.gov/features/befoodsafe/index.html

http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/how-long-do-bacteria-and-viruses-live-outside-the-body.aspx

https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/education-month.html

 

 

Wait, Teachers Can Have Fun Too?

Think students are the only ones who enjoy summer? Here’s a look at what various BYU College of Nursing faculty and staff did over the break.

Scott Summers, Assistant Teaching Professor: An avid outdoorsman, Summers experimented with a new path to summit the Grand Teton Mountain in Wyoming. He also took his wife on her first climbing trip on the Birch Hollow route in Zion National Park. He also caught a foul ball at a MLB batting practice in Philadelphia.

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Summers climbing the Grand Teton Mountain.

Cara Wiley, Advisement Center Supervisor: Wiley journeyed widely this summer. First, she accompanied BYU nursing students on the Ecuador Public and Global Health clinical practicum, even celebrating her birthday in true South American fashion by having her face pushed into the cake. Second, she presented at an international conference for academic advising in Sheffield, England. She did not miss the chance to tour the countryside where one of the Jane Austen films was made.

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Wiley traveling in Ecuador with BYU students

Dr. Deborah Himes, Assistant Professor: Himes’ son returned from a mission in Argentina, following which the family visited the Grand Canyon. She also presented at the International Family Nursing Conference in Pamplona, Spain with two of her students.

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Himes’ family at the Grand Canyon. Her son Sam (far right) returned home this summer from a mission in Argentina.

Dr. Patricia Ravert, Dean: Ravert enjoys biking, but last year she ran afoul of a chicken in France and crashed. This year while biking with her brother between Pittsburg and Washington, DC, a squirrel hit both of their bikes, but luckily she avoided a repeat of last year’s accident. More dangerous were the snakes, including the copperhead that tried to bite one of their friends as he zoomed past.

Lacey Eden, Assistant Teaching Professor: Eden and her family toured the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where they quickly became appreciative of the many technologies NASA has produced that now are commonplace household items. (see https://spinoff.nasa.gov/Spinoff2008/tech_benefits.html for more information).

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Eden’s family at the Kennedy Space Center.

Dr. Blaine Winters, Assistant Teaching Professor: Winters and his family went to Bend, Oregon and to Crater Lake National Park. There was a fire in the park and the billowing smoke hampered some of the sightseeing excursions they made. They also rented a beach house in Bandon, Oregon where they toured an old lighthouse and went crabbing on the dock.

Colleen Tingey, NLC Supervisor: Tingey spent time in Washington, DC to not only attend a national nursing simulation conference, but also to celebrate her 35th wedding anniversary with her husband, who is a BYU geology professor. They traveled to Hawaii and Alaska on geology trips and found time to visit their cabin in the Uinta Mountains.

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The cliffs in Hawaii where Tingey and her husband worked on a geography research project.