Monthly Archives: December 2018

Thank You, College of Nursing!

By Mindy Longhurst

Mindy Longhurst has worked as a Public Relations Assistant in the BYU College of Nursing since May 2018. She just completed her bachelor’s degree in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations and a minor in Family Studies.

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An image of Mindy Longhurst. Image courtesy of Andrew Holman.

I am alive today because nurses helped to save my life. My twin sister and I were born prematurely at 24 weeks. We both weighed a little over a pound and the doctors did not have good prognoses for our chances of living. We were born at a university medical center and were each assigned a nurse to watch us daily. Throughout the five months that we were in the NICU, our parents would visit us daily and the doctors and nurses became like family. They watched us struggle and eventually triumph, being able to leave the hospital without any major medical complications.

A love for nurses was instilled in me when I was very young. Growing up, my mom would always speak fondly of the nurses who helped us. My mom calls our nurses from the NICU every year on our birthday. She calls them to give them an update on our lives and to thank them for the countless hours that they spent taking care of us.

Since I have a love and appreciation for nurses, the opportunity to be an intern for the College of Nursing was a dream come true! I was thrilled to start to promote the great work that nurses do. I expected that the students, faculty and staff for the College of Nursing were going to be brilliant. I knew that they would have good hearts to want to help others. But, what I did not expect was the welcoming and joyous nature that everyone has in the College of Nursing. The students, faculty and staff are all wonderful people who made me feel a part of everything from the time that I was hired. This has meant so much to me!

I have loved getting to know the faculty and staff members better. It has been amazing to learn about their interests, hobbies and the research that they have conducted with students. I think it is amazing that undergraduate and graduate students are able to have the experiences of working with faculty to make a difference in healthcare.

Getting to know the nursing students has been fun! I love the opportunity to be able to meet new people and have met some of the nicest students on campus in the College of Nursing. I have enjoyed seeing them at conferences, in the hallway and have especially enjoyed getting to know them through the various articles I have written.

As I have seen the students, faculty and staff learn the Healer’s art, I have been able to have my testimony strengthened of the love that the Savior has for each of us. As I have tried to learn medical terms, I am reminded of how amazing God’s creations are. My internship has allowed my relationship with my Savior and my Heavenly Father to be strengthened.

I will always remember my internship experience with fondness. Thank you to all of the nursing alumni, students, staff, faculty and donors who have been so kind to me! Words cannot adequately express the gratitude I have felt while working here. Thank you College of Nursing for the opportunity to work here!

Fulbright Scholar Award: Dr. Sheri Palmer

By Mindy Longhurst

20181022_114839_HDRAn image of teaching professor Dr. Sheri Palmer with people from the National University of Asuncion. Image courtesy of Palmer.

Teaching professor Dr. Sheri Palmer has had an incredible year spending time in Paraguay for two significant nursing projects including a Fulbright Scholar Award.

Studying teenage pregnancy in Paraguay

This past August, Palmer with two other faculty members and five nursing students went to Paraguay on a research project to learn more about teenage pregnancy in Paraguay.

Palmer first came to love the people of Paraguay while serving a welfare mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shortly after receiving her RN license thirty years ago. Since her time in Paraguay as a missionary, she has had a strong desire to go back and serve the people that she loves. While pondering this, Palmer came in contact with a nursing student named Rachel Trujillo who also served a mission for the Church in Paraguay. As they discussed their love for the people, Trujillo remembered the high teenage pregnancy rate in Paraguay and wanted to do something to help. She discussed this with Palmer and they decided to get a research team together to learn more about the teenage pregnancy rate in Paraguay.

(Watch a video about Trujillo and Palmer deciding on what to research in Paraguay https://youtu.be/BKjP1zyPqY0)

To study the teenage pregnancy, the students and professors went to Paraguay to interview local leaders and teachers about what might be contributing to the high rate of teenage pregnancy. Of these interviews, nursing student Julia Lee says, “We asked what is the frequency of teenage pregnancy here, what risk factors contribute to a teenager getting pregnant, what is happening now to prevent or reduce teenage pregnancy, and what suggestions does this person have to reduce teenage pregnancy.”

(Watch a video about the interview process https://youtu.be/nCzNfEdv7rY)

While they were in the schools in Cerrito, they would teach the girls from ages 8+ about maturation and sex education. They also provided each of the girls with a Days for Girls kit. This kit included underwear with built in washable pads so that the girls would be able to be clean during their menstrual cycle. Third semester nursing student Cortney Welch says, “I think teaching Days for Girls was really beneficial to those we were able to reach out to.” Trujillo expounds, “I think it will make a big difference, especially since our guides are now going around with Sheri, teaching the curriculum to other people. It has been cool because we have left other people in place to continue the legacy.”

(Watch a video about the Days for Girls program https://youtu.be/KA46WPHvqK8)

The 10 day research experience for the nursing students and faculty members was a great experience! Megan Hancock says, “I loved it! The entire time I was there I felt blessed to be there. It was nice knowing that what we are doing would lead to interventions that actually work because we were researching what is and what is not working.”

Fulbright Scholar Award

For six weeks from mid-October to the beginning of December Palmer was able to stay in Paraguay to help teach the nurses, teachers and students about nursing with her Fulbright Scholar Award. The Fulbright Scholar Award allows Palmer to be a visiting scholar to the national university in Paraguay (National University of Asuncion). Palmer was able to teach nursing classes to faculty members and students of the college in five different cities. She was able to teach at the Paraguayan Nursing Association, at private hospitals, public hospitals and at the Ministry of Health.

20181022_154935An image of Palmer with other medical professionals in Paraguay. Image courtesy of Palmer.

This is the first round of a two year experience in Paraguay for the Fulbright Scholar Award. The second round will be next March and April and the third round will be sometime in 2020. Going back and helping the Paraguayan people over the course of two years will help Palmer to make the biggest difference possible.

The love that Palmer has for the people of Paraguay is so evident, she lights up when she speaks about the people she has met while there. When Palmer would introduce herself and start her classes in Paraguay she would always try to explain the love that she and others have for the Paraguayan people. She explains, “Almost every time I was able to tell them about my mission, I would tell them that they were important. Just being able to express my love for them. It was neat to let them know that people think about you and care for you. We want the best for you.”

Palmer wants all of the nurses in Paraguay to feel empowered and to know that they are affecting so many lives. She says, “Empowering nurses is so important. One of the reasons I was there was to help empower the nurses, help their value of nursing to be greater in the country, to be looked upon as a worthy profession.” When she left the different cities she was teaching in, she did not realize the impact that she would have on others, just like the nurses in Paraguay do not always understand the impact they have on others.

Palmer is currently preparing for her next phase of the Fulbright Scholar Award. Palmer is eagerly looking forward to her next return to Paraguay!

To read more about Palmer’s experiences with her Fulbright Scholar Award read her blog https://palmerfulbrightinparaguay.wordpress.com/.

We Will Miss You Colleen!

By Mindy Longhurst

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An image of Colleen Tingey. Photo courtesy of the College of Nursing Media Team.

Colleen Tingey, the Mary Jane Rawlinson Geertsen Nursing Learning Center (NLC) Supervisor, has worked for the College of Nursing for 14 and a half years. Her largest contribution to the College of Nursing has been with the recently renovated NLC. This project was completed and the new NLC facility was opened in Fall 2014.

The new area is a total of nearly 11,000 square feet, expanded 4,000 feet from the original center built in 2001. The NLC has six full-simulation rooms with high-fidelity manikins, four debriefing rooms, five exam rooms, a nine-bed skill lab, a four-bed walk-in lab, and two procedure training areas. Each area is flexible and can be reconfigured in a variety of ways according to class needs.

Tingey was able to participate in almost all the different stages of the renovation of the NLC. She was able to help with preparation before the renovation took place, she was able to help with the blueprints and with the architects. Tingey had a hand in focusing on every detail in the NLC from the sinks to the storage space.

In the past ten years, the number of student encounters in the NLC has doubled. Student encounters are essentially any learning experience that the students have had at the NLC including labs, walk-in labs and classes that take place in the NLC.

In Fall 2016, Electronic Health Records (E.H.R.) were implemented into the NLC. This has helped the students tremendously to learn how to use the E.H.R. system at BYU before using a similar E.H.R. system during their clinical rotations at hospitals. This system has helped the students to perform better and be more comfortable during clinical.

Tingey says, “It is very hard to leave BYU.” She has loved being able to work at BYU and for the College of Nursing. After retirement, Tingey wants to focus on increasing her skills in quilting, sewing, yard work and canning. But, most importantly, Tingey looks forward to spending more time with her five children and nine grandchildren.

Student Spotlight: Paige Stodtmeister

By Quincey Taylor

Gallagher Award Dinner Parker House

Stodtmeister with Gallagher Foundation board member. Image courtesy of Stodtmeister.

In September of 2018, third semester nursing student Paige Stodtmeister heard the exciting news that she had been awarded the Gallagher Foundation Health Careers Award. She hopes her experience will inspire fellow nursing students to persist in searching and applying for scholarships.

Stodtmeister was selected as one of 10 students in the nation to receive this award. The foundation flew her to Boston, where she met the other recipients and had the opportunity to network with several healthcare professionals. She was awarded a scholarship of $7,500 to help her further her education into graduate school.

Gallagher Award Dinner Parker House

Stodtmeister (left), Gallagher Foundation board member (center), and Stodtmeister’s mother (right). Image courtesy of Stodtmeister.

Every since she was a child, Stodtmeister loved learning about the human body. Her mother is a psychiatric nurse practitioner and sparked a love for healthcare in her daughter. Stodtmeister was especially inspired to enter the medical field because of her brother, who has high-functioning autism. She says, “That was the main reason I went into nursing. I wanted to help people like my brother.”

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Stodtmeister with other award recipients. Image courtesy of Stodtmeister.

It was with her mother’s personal support that Stodtmeister apprehensively came to the banquet. She was a little nervous when she considered that the other recipients came from universities like Stanford, Harvard, and Vanderbilt. However, she says, “I ended up feeling like I had worked hard and I was with these people for a reason.”

When asked what she would say to a fellow nursing student searching for scholarships, Stodtmeister comments, “There are misperceptions that there are no scholarships, which is absolutely false. There are, and there are tons if you search and develop strategies to search for scholarships.” She also believes it is important to portray yourself in your best light when applying. She says, “Another misconception is that often we think that we aren’t qualified enough. That’s not true. There are so many ways that you can write your resume with things that you’ve actually done in a way that features your best self. There are so many nursing students that would qualify for this because this is already a really difficult program to get into. Everyone here already has a lot of experience, it’s just a matter of featuring yourself in a way that presents all of that information.”

She recommends using multiple resources to find different scholarship opportunities. There are emails from advisement center supervisor Cara Wiley regarding scholarship prospects, as well as different scholarship search engines like Fastweb or Cappex. The key is to tailor your profile so they will send you scholarships that pertain to you and your credentials. “The more local,” Stodtmeister adds, “the better.”

Experiential Learning: TeamSTEPPS

By Mindy Longhurst

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An image of the TeamSTEPPS research team at the American Hospital Association annual conference. Left to right: Kapri Beus, assistant teaching professor Stacie Hunsaker, Camry Shawcroft, Amber Anderson, Sara Durrant Weeks and assistant teaching professor Michael Thomas. Image courtesy of Shawcroft.

Many nurses know that Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety (TeamSTEPPS) is a teamwork system developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Department of Defense to improve communication and teamwork in healthcare. While studies have validated its clinical use, research on how to incorporate it into a nursing program is limited.

Assistant teaching professor Dr. Michael Thomas, has created a second-semester, peer-taught nursing course that focuses on TeamSTEPPS. The Teaching Assistants (TAs) for the course instruct the class. The four TAs for the communications course are also Research Assistants for Thomas and assistant teaching professor Stacie Hunsaker. Their research focuses on the most effective ways to teach the TeamSTEPPS tools and objectives to fellow nursing students and how to help faculty members implement the TeamSTEPPS tools and objectives throughout the program.

Thomas, Hunsaker and the four TAs (Amber Anderson, Kapri Beus, Camry Shawcroft and Sara Durrant Weeks) were able to present their research findings at the American Hospital Association annual conference in San Diego last June.

Anderson explains, “I loved the conference! I feel very grateful to be a student here at BYU, specifically in the nursing program where the faculty members are so engaged in the student’s learning. And they provide us with such amazing opportunities to be involved in the professional world, to help train us to become leaders in the future.” The experiences of being able to present their findings at a national conference helped to build confidence in their nursing and leadership abilities.

Presenting their findings at a national conference was a new experience for the TAs. In most nursing schools, undergraduate students do not get the opportunity to help with the research process. As a result, most of the people who attend these conferences are already established in their career. Shawcroft says, “Those that attend the conference are healthcare educators, hospital administration and other medical professions there too. We talked about the peer teaching model and talked about going to other faculty and thinking of ways to incorporate TeamSTEPPS throughout the program. We talked about the evaluation tool that we created. Stacie talked about a new handoff tool that they made based on TeamSTEPPS. Basically, just what we are doing as a college to implement TeamSTEPPS.”

The nursing students were the youngest people at the conference. Anderson expounds, “It was really great because there were a lot of people who were amazed that we were undergraduate students. Because generally, the people that we were presenting to they are already working in the hospitals or they are care managers in their facility. It was neat to have a student’s perspective as to how to best teach it to other students. We had some academic professionals there as well who were able to come and really took some of our ideas and incorporated that back home.”

After their presentation, many individuals came up to them asking for more information about what they do. Shawcroft says, “After we presented, there were some people that were interested. I remember there was a lady that was from another nursing college and she was really interested in the peer teaching method. There were a lot of people that were just very supportive of students participating in the process and implementing the TeamSTEPPS tools and objectives throughout the program. Some were impressed and supportive that some undergraduate students were given the opportunity to do what we were doing.”

Overall, the students were able to use the knowledge that they have gained throughout learning and teaching about the TeamSTEPPS program and helped to spread this information further.

Student Spotlight: Sarah Chapple

By Mindy Longhurst

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An image of Sarah Chapple with the Women’s Chorus director Jean Applonie and others. Image courtesy of Chapple.

Ever since Sarah Chapple was little she had two major passions: singing and nursing. She applies both of these passions by being a first semester nursing student and a member of BYU Women’s Chorus. Her love for singing developed as a child, while learning how to play the piano. Chapple and her older sister would practice harmonizing the hymns, and her love for music took off from there.

Chapple discovered her love for nursing while being around younger children. Chapple has always loved taking care of and helping babies. This passion for helping others inspired her to want to study nursing. Of her desire to study nursing, Chapple says, “What helped me to decide to continue pursuing nursing is how dedicated I was even though I knew it would be hard. That made me feel if I wasn’t supposed to do it, I wouldn’t want to do it so badly.”

Chapple started performing in Women’s Chorus her first semester at BYU. This is her fourth semester in Women’s Chorus and she has loved every minute of it! Chapple explains, “Women’s Chorus has been a really good outlet to have a passion while being busy with school and college life. Something that I really like about Women’s Chorus is that Sister Applonie integrates a holistic approach to teaching so that we focus on the AIMs of BYU. We talk about how to increase our spirituality while we are learning about music and while we are developing our skills. We also learn what we can do to be more in tune with ourselves, including how to stay healthy both spiritually and emotionally. It is about making us better people.”

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An image of Chapple (front row, center) and her family after a Women’s Chorus performance. Image courtesy of Chapple.

Juggling nursing school and Women’s Chorus at times has been challenging. Women’s Chorus meets Monday through Wednesday and on Friday. Luckily, Sister Applonie, the director of Women’s Chorus has been able to work with Chapple’s nursing schedule.

This semester during Women’s Chorus, they have had several shows including a choir showcase, a performance at a BYU devotional, BYU Spectacular! and a Christmas showcase concert. During the BYU Spectacular! performance this year, the Women’s Chorus sang an arrangement of “This Is Me” from the movie The Greatest Showman. During this song, each of the 180 women of Women’s Chorus dressed up in an outfit that represents who they really are. Naturally, Chapple chose to wear her BYU College of Nursing scrubs. She says, “They gave us some ideas for what to use as costumes, and one of them was scrubs! And so, I signed up to wear my College of Nursing scrubs. I am really proud to be in the nursing program and excited about it, so I’ll wear my scrubs whenever I can. The song is “This Is Me” and this really is me! I am learning how to be a nurse and I love taking care of people. This was a great way for me to show my passion.”