Monthly Archives: February 2018

What to Expect at Night of Nursing

You’ve been driving for twenty minutes now. You strain to see what the name of the next road is, and then hurriedly signal to get in the other lane. A few minutes and only two wrong turns later, you pull up in front of the house. You check the address—yep, this is it.

There is a sign on the door with BYU College of Nursing logo. That’s a good sign. But you’re a little hesitant—you’ve never been to a Night of Nursing event. Are you dressed to the occasion? What’s about to happen? You reach to knock on the door and…


If this sounds like your thought process while getting ready for this year’s Night of Nursing event, then take a second to relax. If you’re debating between the pearl earrings and the diamonds, then take a second to stop and read some of our FAQs about the Night of Nursing to put your mind at ease.

What is the Night of Nursing?

Night of Nursing is a series of nationwide gatherings hosted by the BYU College of Nursing. There are over 40 sites across the country where BYU College of Nursing alumni and friends will gather to talk, reminisce, and listen to a live broadcast featuring Sister Barbara Perry.

When is this again?

Most events will be on March 1, 2018. The main broadcast starts at 7:30 pm MST, but events outside of Mountain Standard Time are adjusting their start times as needed. A few locations are doing the events on days other than March 1. Check our website ( for information on dates and times. Some event hosts have also created Facebook events with extra details.

Who is hosting the events?

It depends on the location. In some places College of Nursing alumni will be hosting, whereas in others local BYU alumni chapters organize the events.

Are these gatherings formal?

No. The Night of Nursing events are meant to be informal social gatherings (if you’re feeling wild you can use the word “party”) where alumni will network, talk, and just have a good time while hearing Sister Perry speak. So yes, you can leave the stilettos or the tux at home.

What will we do?

It depends on the host, but most events will be loosely structured, allowing time for alumni to network and connect. There are some fun little party games included in the host kit that we send out, so those may be featured. You may sing part of the hymn “Lord I Would Follow Thee” since the fifth and sixth verses were written for the College’s 50th anniversary. At 7:30 pm MST most locations will tune in to Sister Perry’s broadcast. Most parties will probably end after the broadcast, so expect between 1.5 and 2 hours for the event.

Do I need to bring anything?

No. Hosts have been provided with all the materials needed for the event.

Can I bring a plus-one?

Yes. Just RSVP either on our website or with the host to let them know.

Are the events only for BYU Nursing alumni?

No. The events are open to anyone (even from schools to the north) interested in listening to Sister Perry or connecting with BYU Nursing.

Are the events designed to recruit prospective students for BYU Nursing?

The events are not designed to be recruiting sessions, though people interested in BYU Nursing are welcome to attend and meet alumni.

Will there be food?

It depends on the host.

Who is Barbara Perry?

Sister Barbara Perry was a member of the BYU College of Nursing faculty for four years. She is also the widow of Elder L. Tom Perry.

Where do I RSVP?

Either RSVP on our Facebook page ( or on our Night of Nursing website (

There is not a location in my area. What do I do?

We will be posting the video of Sister Perry on our YouTube channel the day after the event ( If you would be interested in hosting an event at your location next year, please contact us at We also will be live streaming the event on our Facebook page.

A note to alumni chapter heads—hosting a Night of Nursing events is a great way to meet the requirements of the True Blue chapter recognition.

8 Reasons to Attend the 2018 Night of Nursing

By Calvin Petersen

  1. Barbara Perry. Listen to Sister Perry—LDS Hospital nurse, past BYU College of Nursing faculty, recipient of BYU Honored Alumni Award and wife of the late Elder L. Tom Perry—as this year’s Night of Nursing keynote speaker.
  2. Prizes. Enter a Night of Nursing raffle and win BYU College of Nursing swag—t-shirts, lanyards, scarfs and more. Attend the Provo party and enter to win Amazon and Costa Vida gift cards and an Amazon Echo.
  3. BYU mint brownies. Devour free mouth-watering BYU mint brownies at almost every Night of Nursing location.
  4. Gifts. Receive a special gift from the College of Nursing simply for attending a Night of Nursing party.
  5. Networking. Expand your professional network by meeting nursing professionals and other BYU alumni at each location.
  6. Fun. Enjoy reuniting and reminiscing with friends and participate in games to make new ones.
  7. Sigma Theta Tau International. Come early to the Provo Night of Nursing and celebrate the 30 years of Iota Iota, BYU’s chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International.
  8. BYU unity. Join simultaneously with BYU students, alumni and friends in over 40 locations across the United States on March 1 for Night of Nursing.Reasons to Attend

7 Fun Facts About Sister Barbara Perry

By Calvin Petersen

Sister Barbara Perry is the keynote speaker for Night of Nursing, a BYU College of Nursing alumni event taking place in over 40 locations nationwide on March 1, 2018. Get to know Sister Perry before attending with these fun facts about her life:

  1. Sister Barbara Perry is the wife of the late Elder L. Tom Perry. They met on January 22, were engaged on February 16 and were married on April 28, 1976, in the Salt Lake Temple. Of her, Elder Perry said, “She is devoted to the Lord. As I have the opportunity of kneeling each night and morning with my wife in prayer, I am full of gratitude for the blessing and privilege of having her companionship.” At the time of his passing in 2015, Elder and Sister Perry had been married for 39 years.127010
  2. Sister Perry became friends with celebrated LDS painter Minerva Teichert while growing up in Cokeville, Wyoming. Teichert lived on a nearby cattle ranch and asked Barbara and her sister to pose as the central figures for “Moving South,” one of Teichert’s most famous murals. A portrait of Barbara as a young woman, painted by Teichert, hangs today in Sister Perry’s Salt Lake City condo.


    “Moving South” by Minerva Teichert. Image source:

  3. Sister Perry was inspired by her aunt to become a nurse. “She was a nurse and I always admired her,” she says.
  4. Sister Perry was in the last graduating class of the LDS Hospital School of Nursing in 1955. The Church’s discontinued nursing program transitioned to the establishment of BYU’s College of Nursing program.
  5. Sister Perry taught associate degree courses at BYU College of Nursing between 1972 and 1976. Some of the courses she taught were med-surg, maternity nursing, post-partem and nursery.
  6. Sister Perry was honored by the College of Nursing at BYU’s 1999 Homecoming with an Honored Alumni Award. This recognition is given to BYU graduates who have made significant professional contributions in their field. Some of Sister Perry’s professional roles include serving as labor and delivery nurse, head nurse and assistant director of nursing during the 15 years she worked at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City.
  7. Together with Elder Perry, Sister Perry has 15 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. Before he passed away, Elder Perry said, “Being a grandparent is a wonderful calling! We have the greatest grandchildren. You just can’t believe it!”


    Elder L. Tom Perry and Barbara (left) stand with President Russell M. Nelson and his wife Wendy (right) during the dedicatory services of the Brigham City Temple. Image source:

Eating Their Way to Employment

By Calvin Petersen

For most, the promise of receiving catered lunch and a world-famous BYU mint brownie is enough to get anyone to an event. However, for those attending the BYU College of Nursing Speed “Nurseworking” Luncheon last Thursday, more than food was on the line. Fifty-seven nursing students, graduating in April, were hungry for jobs.

Maryann Lowe and Rachael Langston

Maryann Lowe (center) and Rachel Langston (left) talk with a recruiter about interviewing best practices.

“I’m hoping to understand what recruiters are looking for when they hire new people,” said Maryann Lowe, a nursing student from Houston, Texas, “Maybe some advice for interviewing, general expectations and what things can set me apart. And then, if it does come up, a possible job opportunity.”

Even students who already know where they want to work after graduation attended the luncheon to explore job opportunities. “My purpose in being here is really just to see what my other options are if my plans don’t work out or I find something that sounds more attractive,” said Johny Jacobs, a nursing student who hopes to get a job at the Salt Lake VA Hospital.

Johny Jacobs and Jack Sturgeon

Johny Jacobs (left) talks with BYU Army ROTC recruiter Jack Sturgeon (right) about how he can blend his experience in nursing with the military.

During the luncheon, students eagerly scribbled notes and asked questions as more than two dozen professionals and alumni rotated around the room. “The main thing I like to do is talk to students about resumes, interviews and applications to help them land their first job. Whether it’s with me or somebody else, I don’t really care as long as I can help them,” says Steward Health Care Senior Recruiter Gregg Hale.

Hale is a veteran of the Speed “Nurseworking” Luncheon, having attended since its inception in 2014. He says he’s often impressed with BYU nursing students who thank him for his resume advice—some students even email Hale a copy of the improvements they’ve made to their resumes. “I have a lot of knowledge that these students are going to need in the next little bit and so I’m happy to pass it on,” says Hale.

Gregg Hale and Jessica Hunter

Steward Health Care Senior Recruiter Gregg Hale (right) counsels Jessica Hunter (left) about how to craft a resume that stands out to recruiters.

For College of Nursing alumni Mariellen Sereno (BS ’84, AS ’79), attending the luncheon meant driving over 9 hours from Anaheim, California, where she lives with her husband “in the shadow of the Matterhorn.” Sereno currently works as the Stroke Program Coordinator at Anaheim Regional Medical Center. She remembers what it was like to be an anxious student awaiting graduation and wanted to help students at the luncheon know about the possibilities that come with a degree in nursing.

“Nursing is just so broad. There are so many options available to nurses in the healthcare profession. I’ve taken a long and winding road since I graduated in 1979 and I’ve enjoyed every step of it,” says Sereno.

Mariellen Sereno and Bailey Gibbons

Mariellen Sereno (left) shares stories from her nursing career with Bailey Gibbons (right).

Students like Mary Mitton and Lisa Kofford received that message. “Everyone kind of started at the same point, but seeing where they’ve been made me realize there are so many different paths you can take with nursing,” said Mitton after the luncheon. Because she’s from Provo, Mitton plans to work locally for a couple of years until she goes back to school for her DNP.

Kofford, on the other hand, plans to look outside of hospital nursing for her career. “Seeing that a lot of people have done that and been successful, that there are other options, was really insightful to me,” said Kofford. The Speed “Nurseworking” Luncheon made both Mitton and Kofford grateful for their education at BYU. “I don’t think you can get a better education in nursing,” says Mitton. Kofford agreed, calling BYU’s nursing program “phenomenal.”

While students at the luncheon still have to make it through finals, graduation and countless job interviews, they left feeling a little more full and a little more hopeful than they were before.


390R: Not Just Another Class

This semester, the BYU College of Nursing is offering three term-long 390R elective courses designed to round out the curriculum of nursing students. Each one serves a special purpose in helping the College meet BYU’s goal of “[assisting] individuals in their quest for perfection and eternal life.”

Many students in the program wonder if they will ever have time to even think about taking elective courses. However, a brief description below of each class shows just how invaluable these courses can be in the rounded development of nursing abilities as well as their own personal self-maintenance.

Trauma: More than Pain


Most people associate the word trauma with pain, hospitals, and horrific injuries. While trauma itself is far from pleasant, teaching about trauma care is a passion of assistant teaching professor Dr. Blaine Winters. An experienced trauma nurse, Winters has spent a career figuring out ways to improve the recovery of trauma patients.

That is why this semester he is directing a one-credit course on holistic care for trauma victims.“Basically a lot of the course just teach what you do in the emergency room, and this course is going to try to teach what happens across the whole continuum of care,” he says.IMG_5234

Unlike a traditional class, Winters’ course focuses on using case studies to help students put themselves in trauma patients’ shoes during their long and frequently tedious journey to recovery. The students track the progress of four imaginary patients that suffered various traumatic incidents (gunshot wound, explosion, fall, etc.), starting from receiving the injury all the way through rehabilitation and reintegration into the community.

“We won’t cover everything you could, but it’s trying to get a look at a bigger picture than just what’s going to happen in the emergency room,” Winters says.

One of the main points that Winters wants to emphasize is the long-term nature of trauma injuries, particularly head and spinal injuries.

“I want them to see what happens other than in just one setting, to understand that these people are really hurt,” he says. “Lives are affected for a long time, so here are different ways that they may be affected and different complications that they may deal with later that we don’t normally talk about.”

The class meets Mondays from three to five in the afternoon and currently hosts 17 students.

Stop Stressing


How do you convince nursing students to take an extra class about stress in nursing without putting extra stress on those students? Such was the dilemma faced by assistant teaching professors Stacie Hunsaker and Michael Thomas in their quest to help students be more resilient.

One year ago, Hunsaker and Thomas teamed up with assistant professor Dr. Janelle Macintosh and associate teaching professor Dr. Leslie Miles to create courses designed to reduce stress for nursing students. They planned two classes. The first, headed by Miles and Macintosh, teaches students to relax through simple methods like finger-painting, meditation, and hand massages (see our series on the class at The other, manned by Hunsaker and Thomas, focuses on wellness strategies.

“We teach the students how to care for themselves and also how to build resiliency,” Hunsaker explains.  “Each week we have different concepts that we’re teaching.”

The term class focuses on techniques such as getting sufficient sleep, maintaining a gratitude journal, and exercising.

“It’s been fun to teach because we are continually learning and reading new research about self-care and resiliency,” Hunsaker says.

Not only are the teachers applying research—they are conducting it as well. Hunsaker and Thomas are measuring how well the techniques taught in the class help the students become more resilient. Each class provides another sample of individuals. In fact, Thomas and a research assistant recently applied for an ORCA grant to continue studying the positive impacts of the class.

In the meantime, the class continues to meet Mondays at five. Currently 14 people attend.

“We’re hoping to increase that and get the word out to students that this is meaningful,” Hunsaker says. “You have the potential to make your life significantly better, just by your outlook and self-care.”

Getting Into the Mind of the Test Makers

A quick search of Internet memes about the NCLEX-RN reveals that many students regard the formidable exam with a combination of anxiety and apprehension. This is understandable, since passing the NCLEX is absolutely necessary to become a registered nurse.


That is why associate teaching professor Karen de la Cruz offers a special 390R course centered on helping students perform better on not on the NCLEX, but also their normal exams in the nursing program.

She has a pretty good track record.

“So far I’ve never had a student that has worked with me that has failed the NCLEX exam,” she says. “Not one. I don’t think that’s going to last forever, but I just think there’s a lot of value in this for the students.”

When she first came to BYU, de la Cruz found herself tutoring students either individually or in small groups on top of her faculty duties. As the number of students swelled over time, her colleagues began to joke that she needed to install stadium seating in her office.

Finally, her informal training sessions became a .5 credit class that last semester had four different section groups. The class has a unique feel since its primary purpose is to get students ready for the NCLEX.


“In a lot of ways it’s an easy class because there’s no homework or anything like that,” she explains.  “They just have to show up and what I do is drill them on the technique. We do question after question after question using the process of analyzing it to find the right answer.”

De la Cruz works hard to get students into the mindset of the test makers. The test makers, she explains, are frequently older, highly educated white nurses with 1.8 children who live on the East Coast. This plays into the questions because students have to remember that measurements such as oxidation are based on sea-level values rather than Rocky Mountain standards.

She also helps students understand that not every “correct” answer will sound right. Sometimes all of the answers are essentially wrong, but one is better than the rest.

What makes the class even more interesting is that de la Cruz uses practice questions related to the material that the students are currently studying. Many students have taken the class more than once in an effort to not only prepare for the NCLEX, but also better understand their other class material.

“Really it helps focus their thinking and it gives them some practice questions to prepare for the exams in their classes and for the NCLEX,” she says.

Moreover, de la Cruz heavily emphasizes the importance of identifying and  strengthening “the one” in her technique. For her, the class is not about just helping high-performing students get higher A’s—it’s about helping struggling students ensure that they can have a nursing career.

While she does not guarantee results, de la Cruz has seen students improve by margins of 20% on their class exams after being in her course. She ascribes this both to what she teaches and the mindset changes that students initiate after being in the course.

“I don’t think that’s all technique; I think it’s their attitude about their ability to succeed has totally changed as well as them gaining some new techniques,” she says.

Biceps After Babies: How to Have Four Kids and a 300 lb Dead Lift

By Jonathan Schroeder

Superman can fly. Spiderman has spidey sense. Amber Brueseke (BS ’07) has four kids and can deadlift more than twice her body weight.

Brueseke will tell you that she doesn’t consider herself to be a superhero or “Wonder Woman;” but for more than 32,000 people who follow her on Instagram, she might as well be.

She is the brains (and brawn) behind “Biceps after Babies,” a personal training regimen designed to help moms (and dads) reach their fitness goals while balancing the adventures of family life. On any given week, Brueseke helps around 70 people with anything from nutrition coaching to workout tips, all while embracing her already busy role as a wife and mother. But Brueseke says that, for her, fitness and motherhood have never really dwelt in separate realms.


“When I grew up, my mom was an old-school aerobics instructor,” Brueseke recalls. “I remember going to the gym very young while she would teach classes. You had to be fourteen to go the weight-room at the YMCA where she taught. So when we turned fourteen, my mom took us into the weight-room. She showed us the equipment and the weights and that’s when we started learning how to lift.”

Mom by Day, Nurse by Night

Despite her early introduction to fitness training, Brueseke came to BYU as a biochemistry major. After a semester of heavy chemistry classes, Brueseke decided to change her major to pre-med. She took a previews to medicine class, where she met her husband, Taylor. After several months, Brueseke decided to apply to the College of Nursing.

“I loved the nursing program,” she explains. “It gave me the chance to help people, to work with medicine — and it gave me the flexibility I wanted to be a mom.”

After graduating from the nursing program in 2007, Brueseke began working on a neuro-surgical intermediate care unit while her husband went to med school at Penn State. Brueseke would take care of the kids during the day while her husband studied and he would take over while she worked the evening shift.

21587390_336660093460219_726102578827951595_oHowever, that all changed when the Brueseke family moved to California so her husband could start working on his residency.

“When you go to residency, you don’t get home at 5pm every night” Brueseke adds. “Often my husband would work 80 hour weeks. We couldn’t switch off like we had done before. That was when I decided I needed to do something else. So I switched my focus back to fitness.”

Brueseke had already been attending fitness classes, thanks to a friend who invited her to take classes with her at a local gym. Upon moving to California, Brueseke began teaching Group X and Zumba classes. Within a few years, she also added Body Pump, Body Combat, and CX Works classes to her teaching repertoire.

How a Quest for Killer Abs Lead to a Killer Following

After five years of teaching fitness classes, Brueseke came to a realization; she wanted abs.

“I’d had four kids, I’d been a fitness instructor for five years, but during all this time, I’d never gotten to the point where I’d had visible abs!”


So Brueseke set out on her goal to becoming a six-pack-ab Momma. To help encourage her, she created an Instagram page “biceps.after.babies” to share her progress with her friends.  Brueseke’s posts really resonated with young moms in the fitness community. In less than two years, her page gained more than 32,000 followers.

“People started approaching me saying ‘Hey I’ve seen what you’re doing; can you coach me?’,” Brueseke remembers. “So I started coaching a couple of friends, who then told their friends, and it kind of snowballed from there as people got results.”

But if you’re hoping to discover some magical secret behind Brueseke’s impressive social media success, you might be disappointed.

“I honestly didn’t do anything crazy,” Brueseke shares. “I was myself and I posted the things that I was thinking, feeling, and doing. I think the biggest thing that I hear people say to me is that I’m relatable; like I’m them. I understand what it’s like to be a mom, I understand what’s required of being a mom and trying to balance that with your fitness goals and your family.”20861827_325580674568161_7211867878468796139_oBrueseke says that also tries to go out of her way to post things on her page that go beyond just the weight room.

“I try to share not just fitness stuff but also things about my life and the struggles I have. I really strive to have really quality content; instead of me just posting pictures of my abs, I would rather post something that’s going to help you learn and inspire you to reach your fitness goals.”

Mom, the Body-Builder

Thanks to her Instagram account, Brueseke works with around 70 clients in any given month. However, she says her top priority is still being a mom. She gets up early every day to work out before her kids wake up for school. While the kids are at school, Brueseke answers emails, works with clients, and works on her own fitness goals. After school she then makes time to run her kids to anything from gymnastics meets to soccer practice.


A daily schedule like that is enough to make any mom cringe. But Brueseke says that one of the keys to her success lies in her own backyard. The Bruesekes have a shed behind their house that doubles as a mini-gym; complete with a power rack, bench press, and everything Brueseke needs to train.

“One of the things that we love about having the gym at our house is that our kids get to see us lifting,” Brueseke explains. “They come out to the shed with us and they do pull-ups and chin-ups with us; they know the names of all the lifts. We even started working squats, technique with them; we let them do what mom and dad are doing. It also means that I can come inside and check up on them anytime they’re home when I have to work.”


Weight-training has also become a special bond between Brueseke and her husband. Last November, the two of them entered their first power-lifting competition, as a couple. Every Saturday morning, Brueseke and her husband train together, each helping the other push their fitness to the next level.

How Nursing Helps in the Weight Room

When Brueseke first entered the BYU Nursing program, she never imagined that she would eventually be working as a personal trainer. Luckily for her, Brueseke’s nursing degree (plus her experience working in the hospital), have given her a lot of useful skills that she can now use to help her clients. Not only does Brueseke have a far deeper understanding of anatomy and physiology than the average fitness trainer, but she also knows how to better interact with her clients.

“A big part of being a nurse is that you’re there at the bedside the whole day,” Brueseke explains. “You’re not popping in and out like the doctors are; you’re there with the patient and with their family and you develop a rapport and a relationship. I think those relationship building skills have helped me immensely.”

But Brueseke says that perhaps the most valuable lesson she learned from nursing was how to prioritize her time.


“They’re always on you in nursing school about learning how to prioritize your patients and making sure you’re attending to the most important things first. The techniques I learned in nursing school have helped me prioritize where my time is spent so I can get everything done that I need to.”

So whether she’s running the kids to school, responding to client emails, filming an Instragram video, or in the weight room maxing out on bench press; you can be sure that Amber Brueseke is doing her best to stay on top of things. And although she may deny it, for her family and clients, she’s the best kind of superhero there is; the kind that inspires others to do better.

Do you have an interesting job or career? Let your peers across the country know how you use your nursing degree. Email Your news may be included in a future blog post or an edition of the college magazine.