By Quincey Taylor
Assistant teaching professor Petr Ruda (BS ’09, MS ’15) never planned on becoming a nurse; he did not even originally plan to attend Brigham Young University. However, after a long journey that took him from the Czech Republic to an LDS mission in California and later to Provo, he found the place where he believes God wants him to be.
Ruda grew up in the city of Jablonec, Czech Republic. After joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the age of 19, he decided to serve a mission. His assignment to San Diego ended up changing his life.
As a missionary, Ruda met many friends and companions who would influence his future. One such individual was a companion named Elder Cook, whose father had heard about Ruda and wanted to give him an opportunity.
Cook’s father called Ruda and asked if he was interested in attending Brigham Young University. Ruda says about the experience, “He wanted to know my decision the very next day. I had only been at home for a couple of months, so it was difficult because he was asking me to leave home again. However, the answer was yes.” Cook’s father generously helped Ruda with the application process and tuition.
At home in the Czech Republic, Ruda had a career working as an accountant. He came to Utah intending to study accounting. However, this decision did not feel right, and he looked for another option. He met fellow student Jared D. Johnson (BS ’06), who was the TA for his linguistics class. Johnson was studying in the nursing program and urged Ruda to take the introductory course. It was a good fit. After graduation, Ruda went on to work at the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, which he enjoyed immensely.
Nursing has completely changed the way Ruda sees the world around him. He says, “I have tools, I have thoughts, I have education, and I have training that I can use daily. I can help my family, my neighbors, and even a stranger to ease whatever conditions they might have. That’s the biggest blessing of nursing.”
Ruda wanted to find a way to influence the next generation of nursing students at BYU, so he applied to a position as an adjunct faculty member helping with simulation labs. When the opportunity became a full-time position, he took the chance and applied.
Ruda is finishing his second year teaching at the College of Nursing. Among his teaching assignments, he oversees a public and global health nursing course practicum to his home country each spring term. He works to maintain relationships with Czech contacts and to give his students the best experience possible. Ruda is currently working on translating a list of fundamental skills that nursing students learn to share with Czech facilities.
Outside of work, Ruda is a selfproclaimed moviegoer. He enjoys spending time with his wife, Jamie, and their Maltipoo named Winter. He loves to play with his dog no matter what time of day it is.
One of his current hobbies is making homemade soaps. He got into this hobby one day when he was at work. He realized he did not have any personal hobbies, and he wanted to change that. Ruda went online and searched “hobbies,” and the first result he saw was soap making. He promptly bought a book and began making soaps, which has become one of his passions. He says, “It’s important to have hobbies outside of work because you need to find time for yourself. That’s what soap making does for me. It brings joy to other people and me. That makes me automatically happy.”
Giving soaps as a gift, especially during the Christmas season, instead of the regular sweet treats appeals to Ruda’s desire to promote nursing in his everyday life. He says, “As a nurse practitioner, it makes me feel better inside because I can give them something that’s not unhealthy, and it lasts a long time.”