By Mindy Longhurst
Image of Natalie Schroeder preparing a syringe for the flu shot vaccine. Image courtesy of Schroeder.
First semester nursing student, Natalie Schroeder, had the amazing opportunity of serving as a mission nurse while in the Ciudad Juarez Mexico mission. The experiences that she had as a mission nurse led her to pursue a nursing education from BYU.
Schroeder became interested in the medical field after taking a career aptitude test in her first semester at BYU. While preparing for her LDS mission, she worked as a medical assistant at a cardiologist office.
About halfway through her mission, she was asked to be the mission nurse. This experience changed the trajectory of her life. Her responsibilities included the setup of medical protocol for her mission, answering medical questions, giving health presentations at Zone Conferences, attending specialist appointments with missionaries, making sure all missionaries received their needed prescriptions and updating the medical reports.
Image of Schroeder giving a health presentation at the Mission President’s home. Image courtesy of Schroeder.
When Schroeder first received this assignment, she was hesitant that she would be able to do everything that would be required of her. Schroeder was concerned because she had no formal nursing certification or training. Schroeder says, “This was a very humbling opportunity for me. I had been called to do this and I really felt like I was not qualified to do it. But, the Lord really qualified me once I was called. In spite of being so challenging, I found by the end of my mission I just didn’t want to go because it was one of the most beautiful things I had ever experienced.”
Being a mission nurse came with the joy of being able to help others. Schroeder says, “I was filled with so much joy as I was able to see missionaries overcome their sickness and to see them be in good health. It was rewarding to be able to help others.”
Missionaries from the Ciudad Juarez Mission. Image courtesy of Schroeder.
Ultimately, Schroeder believes that she was divinely inspired to help her fellow missionaries. She says, “There was a lot of medical vocabulary that I had never heard before. Medical Spanish is different from normal Spanish. They don’t teach you medical Spanish in classes or at the MTC! But, when I went to doctor’s appointments with missionaries, I felt very inspired and guided as to what to do and say. There were times where I didn’t know the word but God helped me to be able to understand what the word meant. I was able to use words that I had never used before.”
Her heart was filled with love and compassion for the missionaries she was able to serve. Of this time, she says “It was such a blessing for me to serve in that capacity because I came to really love and see my fellow missionaries how God saw them. I never felt a love for somebody as much as I did while being a mission nurse. You really get to see people through the eyes of the Savior. It was a blessing for me to be able to serve and help others that way, there is no other feeling like it. It is hard for me to even describe.”
Bringing it back to God, Schroeder knows who helped her throughout her journey. She now turns to God in helping her learn the Healer’s art at BYU. She looks forward to working in clinical and learning more about nursing.