By Mindy Longhurst
Associate teaching professor Dr. Shelly J. Reed (AS ’81, BS ’84) grew up on a farm in southwestern Idaho. Even though she is from a small town, she always had big dreams to become a nurse and help people. This attitude and approach sum up the way she conquers life—with positivity and by using her life to bless others around her.
As a 16-year-old, Reed had an experience that shaped the course of her life. While she was volunteering at a local hospital, one of the doctors invited her to see a baby being born. Reed says, “We got to see the delivery, and it was the coolest thing I had ever seen. I just knew that I wanted to be a labor and delivery nurse after that. I was certain of my career path after seeing the birth.”
Since then, Reed has continued to learn about nursing while helping others along the way (most recently by completing a PhD in nursing education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas). Despite keeping busy with her schedule at BYU (and supporting students with clinical work in a Salt Lake Hospital and a four-week clinical practicum in Tonga), she finds time to complete 12-hour shifts as a family nurse practitioner for OB Emergency Services at the University of Utah Medical Center every other week. She enjoys supporting the mothers of newborns and being there for the miraculous experience of childbirth.
Outside of the college, Reed has served on several humanitarian trips teaching maternal and newborn classes with teams from the LDS Church’s Humanitarian Communications Department. She learned Spanish as an adult and has been able to teach with teams in Ecuador, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and Guatemala. “It is difficult to instruct in Spanish because I learned it a little later in life. Plus, medical language is very technical and can be hard to teach in Spanish,” she says. “But I have prayed hard to have the gift of tongues. Although I wouldn’t say I received it, the Lord has helped me throughout the process.”
Her faculty area of study focuses specifically on simulation debriefing research. Reed developed an instrument, or “debriefing experience scale,” and has shared this tool with researchers around the world (see the fall 2015 magazine for the related story).
Besides nursing, she has another passion for helping others: family history and temple work. She began this hobby eight years ago while serving as a young women leader when an activity taught their group how to participate in family history.
“The temple is my favorite thing,” says Reed. “Organizing genealogies is one of the best ways to spend free time; while researching and finding names of relatives, one can feel connected and overjoyed.”
Reed even has a goal of attending 60 LDS temples before she turns 60. Although a few years away from her deadline, she has already visited 58 temples and should finish her goal in 2019. Reed loves being able to serve in the temple for those who have passed on, especially for her ancestors. It is fun for her to realize that she spends most of her “me” time on family history and going to the temple.
She is married and is the proud mother of seven children and grandmother of four.
Throughout a successful career, Reed continues to focus on the amazing experience she had as a youth; that one opportunity has led to her doing marvelous things in the world of nursing.