Monthly Archives: January 2018

BYU Receives 3 out of 4 Outstanding Nurse Practitioner Awards

By Calvin Petersen

The Utah Nurse Practitioners association selects four nurses from the entire state each year to receive the distinctions of Excellence in Leadership, Outstanding Nurse Practitioner Student, Excellence in Research and Clinical Practice. For 2017, BYU College of Nursing was well represented by receiving three of the four awards.

Dr. Beth Luthy, Ryan Rasmussen and graduate student Katie Hill from BYU were each recognized as Outstanding Nurse Practitioners during the association’s annual awards dinner. Also receiving a $500 scholarship that evening was Caitlin Mallory, a second-year student in the BYU Family Nurse Practitioner Program.

Nursing and Politics

Dr. Beth Luthy, an associate professor at BYU College of Nursing, received Excellence in Leadership for 2017. “The key to leadership is engagements,” says Dr. Luthy, “It’s political activism and having a good network.”

She learned this first-hand from one of her nursing professors at BYU, who was running for the House of Representatives. Dr. Luthy volunteered to help in her professor’s campaign because she believed it was “the right thing to do.” She put together debates, knocked on doors and put up signs. Dr. Luthy says that the experience was inspiring and confirmed to her that she can make a difference. She has since made a substantial difference in the world of immunizations, where she is a recognized leader and expert.

In addition to her research on immunizations, Dr. Luthy has mobilized nurses and nurse practitioners to lobby state legislature about immunization policy and practice in Utah. In 2008, Dr. Luthy was appointed by President Obama to serve on the Advisory Commission for Childhood Vaccines and currently serves as its chair. In this role, she collaborates with the Secretary for the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Luthy felt honored to receive the Excellence in Leadership award. Lacey Eden, an assistant teaching professor at BYU College of Nursing, says, “Beth is a true leader and cares about helping everyone succeed. Nothing is too difficult or impossible for Beth. She maintains a level of professionalism and creates a loving and trusting relationship with everyone she comes in contact with.”

Passionate about Immunizations

Katie Hill grew up knowing several nurse practitioners that inspired her to study nursing at BYU. “When I went to nursing school, I enjoyed it, but I always knew I wanted to be in the role of the nurse practitioner. So, when I got the opportunity to apply, I took it. I’ve loved my experience,” says Hill. Now a second-year graduate student in the BYU Family Nurse Practitioner Program, Hill won Outstanding Nurse Practitioner Student for 2017.

Hill became passionate about immunizations during her undergraduate studies working as Dr. Luthy’s research assistant. Together with Dr. Luthy, Hill wrote and published an article about vaccination policies in the Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and another in the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing.

Within a year of starting graduate school, Hill completed her thesis on immunization exemption policies. She interviewed immunization managers in all 50 U.S. states and eight U.S. territories to provide current information on exemption requirements at each location. Parents will use this information to make an informed decision about whether or not to immunize their children.

Hill was excited to find out that she’d won Outstanding Nurse Practitioner Student. Of her, Dr. Luthy says, “Because she’s a good thinker, and because she’s got the fire, she’ll go way above and beyond what the expectation is. I think she’s making a difference, that’s why she deserves this award.”

UNP Caitlin Mallory and Katie Hill (1)-2

Katie Hill (left) receives the Outstanding Nurse Practitioner Student award and Caitlin Mallory (right) receives a $500 scholarship at the annual Utah Nurse Practitioners award dinner. Both Hill and Mallory are graduate students at BYU.

Emergency Communication

“I don’t think anybody does research to get awards. I feel very lucky to have been recognized by the association as a researcher,” says Ryan Rasmussen, an assistant teaching professor at BYU College of Nursing, who received the 2017 Excellence in Research award.

Rasmussen is researching how members of trauma teams communicate while caring for trauma patients as part of his PhD program at the University of Arizona. “If you’ve ever been involved in a trauma, you know that communication breaks down really quickly. And when communication breaks down, patients get hurt or things get missed. So communication becomes paramount in patient safety,” says Craig Nuttall, one of Rasmussen’s colleagues at BYU.

By identifying how communication is currently happening in a trauma setting, Rasmussen’s research will help to develop ways that improve communication and save lives. As a pioneer in the study of communication within the trauma team, Rasmussen clearly demonstrates Excellence in Research.

Nuttall says that Rasmussen won the award because he has great ideas, a talent for thinking things through and the ability to recognize problems. “He really wants to fix problems and so he doesn’t see research as the end; he sees it as a means to fixing problems. He’s doing research so that it really benefits someone, and that’s what makes him a great researcher.”

UNP Ryan Rasmussen (1)-3

From Tourette’s to Nursing School

By Calvin Petersen

Jared Lorimier understands first-hand what suffering from a medical disorder is like. He developed the motor and vocal tics of Tourette’s Syndrome when he was eight years old.

“I was really confused about why I had Tourette’s and it caused me a lot of grief and pain,” says Jared, a native of Nederland, Texas. Much of that grief came from elementary classmates, who teased Jared about his disorder.

Jared eventually learned how to control his Tourette’s, which ultimately inspired his decision to become a nurse. “I know there are people out there that are confused about why they have certain diseases and confused about why their health isn’t the best. I just want to be there to comfort people with things like that.” His compassion and ability to overcome difficulty makes Jared a perfect fit for BYU’s nursing program.

Jared Lorimier Profile

While Jared is open to what the future brings, he currently hopes to work in a NICU. He believes that it “would be rewarding work and a really spiritual experience.”

Up for the Challenge

Although Jared always knew he wanted to be in the medical field, he decided to become a nurse only recently. “When I think of nursing, I think of the challenges that the nurses are faced with and I’ve always liked challenges,” says Jared. One of his biggest challenges is his demanding weekly schedule.

Not only is Jared taking rigorous first-semester nursing courses, but he is also on the BYU track team, which takes up nearly 20 hours of his week in practices alone. Furthermore, Jared is a counselor in his YSA ward bishopric. Even with all this, he still manages to find time to watch ‘The 100’ and ‘Stranger Things’ with his wife.

On top of handling a heavy schedule, learning the basics of medical attention will be an added challenge. While such challenges would make some apprehensive, Jared only smiles in anticipation with confidence that he can do it all.

Jared Lorimier 2

A Pair of Nurses

Jared is one of just four males admitted to BYU’s College of Nursing program this semester. “When I first decided that I wanted to apply to nursing school, of course I thought of the stereotype of being a male nurse, but honestly it didn’t deter me. I think it’s important, especially with the growing need of nurses, for males to break that stereotype.”

Moreover, of the four first-semester male students, Jared is the only one who is married. His wife, Madeline, is thrilled at his decision to become a nurse because she’s going to school to become one herself. “We’re both super excited to learn from each other,” says Jared.

Even though Madeline was preparing to become a nurse before Jared, things worked out so that they could start their studies at the same time, with Madeline at Utah Valley University and Jared at BYU. “Now that I’m here, I want to make sure I get everything I can out of this program,” concludes Jared. If he demonstrates the same level of determination and empathy he has so far, there’s no doubt that he will.

Changing Student’s Lives, One Sandwich at a Time

By Jonathan Schroeder

Graduation is still four months away, but many soon-to-be-graduated BYU nursing students are already looking forward to the future. Gone will be the days of stressful midterms, mountains of flashcards and hours of homework. These fifty-seven young professionals will soon enter the vast realm of the workforce — a prospect that many capstone students say has them feeling both excited…and a little intimidated.

“As I think about my first day in the clinical setting as an RN, I feel both excited and terrified,” Ashley Dyer shares. “There will be so much expected of me — so much I should know and so much I could forget.”

“I think a mentor would be super helpful for this transition from school to the real world…because honestly I’m terrified,” classmate Jessica Small adds. “I’m sure capstone is going to prepare us well but it would be nice to have someone outside of the college to ask questions and get help from.”


For BYU Nursing alumni like Christina Mack (BS ’09), this is what she loves most about the BYU Speed Networking Luncheon.

“Nursing students have so many questions….I like to help build their confidence and reassure them that they’re going to do a great job and be a wonderful nurse.”

The BYU College of Nursing Speed Networking Luncheon is a unique event that allows capstone students to interact and network with nursing professionals and alumni. At the start of the activity, alumni are stationed at specific tables with a group of students. The groups are then given twelve minutes to network and ask questions. At the end of the time, the alumni rotate to a different table; allowing alumni to get to know a new group of students — all while enjoying a special lunch provided by the College of Nursing.

“Many nursing students don’t know what to expect after graduation,” Mack says of most students who attend the event. “They are usually just anxious about the unknown. By networking with these students, I can help give them guidance and answer many of their questions.”


“I absolutely love talking to students,” Gregg Hale adds. “It’s my favorite part of my job.”

Hale is a senior recruiter for Steward Health Care. Like Mack, he enjoys interacting with the students (in addition to the tasty BYU Mint Brownies that come with the luncheon). But most importantly, Hale says he enjoys helping these students gain insight into their future careers.

Hale believes it is crucial for new nurses to have a good mentor as they start their careers. Nursing school may prepare you to be a nurse, but the first 3-6 months of working teaches you how to actually be a nurse.

“The connections I made with other people, as a BYU Nursing graduate, are one of the main reasons I am where I am today,” Mack adds. “I think the best way that I can give back, as a BYU Alumni, is to help other nursing students do the same.”


The Girl Who Loves Getting Sick

By Calvin Petersen

There’s a reason people say things like, “I’m going to avoid it like the plague!” Most people are worried, even terrified, of becoming sick. Most. Not Erin Ward. A student in her first semester of BYU’s nursing program, Erin actually looks forward to getting sick.

Erin told her classmates that getting strep throat was the best thing that happened over Christmas break at her home in Virginia Beach. “Everyone looked at me like I was really weird,” says Erin. “I love, love getting sick. And this is terrible, but I do, I love getting sick.”

To her, getting sick is the perfect excuse for Erin’s mom to make chicken noodle soup, bring her warm blankets and allow her a day of uninterrupted sleep. “I think it’s a really nice feeling. Everybody wants somebody to take care of them once in a while.” Understanding what it means to receive devoted care is just one reason why Erin feels at home in BYU’s College of Nursing.

Erin West Stethoscope.jpg

A 9th Grade Prophecy

Erin’s 9th grade chemistry teacher was the first to tell her that he thought she’d make a great nurse.  “That’s so sexist! You’re saying that because I’m a girl,” thought Erin, “I’m going to become a chemical engineer.” However, several chemistry classes later, she realized chemistry just wasn’t for her. Erin instead fell in love with volunteering at local hospitals where caring for patients took on a more spiritual aspect.

“I just really wanted to do what the Savior would be doing. And I thought ‘If the Savior could be anywhere, He would be administering unto the sick.’ So I started volunteering at hospitals. I was fourteen and then I kept going all the way through senior year in high school.” She became a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and worked at the hospital every summer, providing basic care to patients.

An Angel in the Cardiac Unit

During one of her volunteer shifts at the hospital, Erin took ice chips to a bed-bound woman in the cardiac unit. She stayed after her ice delivery to give the woman some company. At one point in their conversation, the woman smiled warmly at Erin and said reverently, “I see the light of Christ all around you. You glow like you are an angel.” Erin was moved by her words and was surprised to find out that the woman wasn’t LDS.

“That was an amazing experience,” says Erin. “That was probably the first time I realized that the little things really can make a difference. I just brought her ice chips and talked to her, which made an impression on her, and more importantly, made an impression on me.”

Erin West Portrait

Not only does Erin love getting sick, but she also loves the hospital. “People have terrible memories in the hospital and that makes me so sad because for me everything about the hospital is super positive. I even like the smell,” she says. Nursing is evidently the perfect career for her.

A Committed Nurse in Training

Even though Erin was offered a four-year, full-tuition scholarship and entrance to the honors nursing program as a freshman at the University of Utah, she decided to study nursing at BYU. Beginning the rigorous first semester of the program also meant she had to give up taking band class. “In high school, I was third in the state for French horn,” Erin recalls.

Additionally, she stepped down from her student government position for on-campus housing. And although she won’t have time for an American Sign Language (ASL) class either, Erin hopes to use her six years of experience signing on her upcoming LDS mission. To Erin, becoming a nurse means becoming more like the Savior, and that makes any sacrifice worth it.

“The Savior, ministers to the one and nursing is completely ministering to the one. I mean, taking time to bring water to someone or talking to somebody when you’re really busy, that’s ministering to the one. That’s why nurses do what they do, because of those little interactions. I think those little ‘You are an angel’ moments are what keep us going. I think that’s probably what would make the Savior very happy.”

Incoming Nursing Students Kick-off the New Year at Orientation Dinner

Class is back in session at BYU. For 64 lucky students, that means the days of taking “pre-req classes” are finally over! They are now official BYU College of Nursing students. On Monday, they gathered in the Wilkinson Student Center to reflect on their journey as they enjoyed a special orientation dinner with the Dean.

“I’m super excited to be here,” Melanie Rugg shared. “Being a nurse is my life-long dream, so to me there’s nothing better than being here right now!”

“I feel really uplifted and touched by the importance of this profession,” Katy Harrison added. “I’m excited to finally get started in the nursing program.”


These new students come with a wide range of unique experiences and backgrounds. In total, the new class has representatives from nineteen different states, as well as the countries of Mexico and Bolivia. Of the 64 students, just over 20 percent are entering the program after serving missions for the LDS Church.


“We really are so fortunate to have such great students in the program,” dean Dr. Patricia Ravert said in her address to the new students. After the dean’s remarks, associate dean Dr. Katreena Merrill shared her gratitude and excitement with the new class during a group discussion. She was quickly followed by associate dean Dr. Jane Lassetter, who bore a powerful testimony of the mission of the College of Nursing: “Learning the Healer’s Art.”


“It was very inspiring,” Sydney McBride said of the orientation dinner. “This program is a really hard program to get into. I feel like coming into the program we put a lot of emphasis on getting the highest test scores and quiz scores. This orientation has really brought into focus what the nursing program is really all about — making sure we not only have the knowledge we need, but also the passion and love so we can help our patients.”