Monthly Archives: November 2019

New Scholarship Opportunities for Graduate Students: Join GNSA Today!

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Graduate student Trissa Lyman is excited to get BYU students connected with other universities! Photo courtesy of Lyman.

By Quincey Taylor

For the first time ever, a BYU student has been selected as the Graduate Nursing Student Academy liaison. Well, what does that mean? Graduate student Trissa Lyman is excited to teach us all, and inform nursing students of further opportunities they could be taking advantage of.

The Graduate Nursing Student Academy (GNSA), “provides high value programs, services, and resources to graduate nursing students enrolled in master’s and doctoral programs affiliated with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing” (GNSA pamphlet). As the first year with their own GNSA liaison, BYU students can familiarize themselves with the program and take part in some of the help they have to offer.

One of Lyman’s favorite things about being a member is the opportunity to network. Through GNSA Connect – an online community of graduate nursing students – members can meet their peers throughout the country and join discussions, make connections, and share resources. Lyman says, “There’s just so many resources and so many cool people that are doing different things that weren’t even on my radar before.”

Additionally, members can apply for GNSA’s exclusive scholarships and other financial aid opportunities. Joining GNSA is free to all BYU graduate students and Lyman is eager to spread the good news. It is her duty to keep students informed and connected with the GNSA community and she has been emailing students encouraging them to sign up. Even though she’s new to the position, Lyman is certain it will be a worth-while experience.

Lyman explains, “Joining is good for professional development, because sometimes you just don’t know what’s available or what’s out there. I feel like the GNSA is the perfect platform to be exposed to all variety of possibilities.”

To join, register at www.aacnursing.org/GNSA/Join or talk to Lyman or professor Dr. Beth Luthy.

Lets Talk About It!

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By Corbin Smith

One of the world’s greatest tragedies has to be the normalization of mental illness and sexual assault among adults. Terms such as “depression” and “anxiety” have become ordinary to us.  We are no longer completely surprised when we see horrifying cases of rape and assault constantly in the news. The sad truth is that 1 in 5 adults will experience mental illness in their lifetime and 1 in 3 women will be victims of sexual assault during their life. There is so much work to be done to lower these numbers and make the world a happier place. This is why current second-year graduate student Shylettra Davis has dedicated her Master’s project to develop a better practice for screening those who experience mental illness or sexual assault.

Over the past few months, Davis has teamed up with associate teaching professor Dr. Leslie Miles and associate professor Dr. Julie Valentine to tackle this project. For their research, they collected data from and studied over 5000 cases of sexual assault. What they learned is that a majority of sexual assault have had a form of depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder. “Basically,” Davis says, “those who experience mental illness are more vulnerable to be victimized than someone who doesn’t experience a mental illness.”

For that reason, Davis’ project is to improve the quality of nursing care for patients that struggle with mental illness. “I want health care professionals and nurses to ask about any sexual assault history and help the patient understand that they are at risk to be targeted by predators,” Davis explains.

Davis also knows that it is easy for a victim to develop another mental illness if they are assaulted and aren’t able to deal with it and be treated professionally. Victims can easily feel isolated, lost and confused about what happened. “At the end of the day, we want patients to feel empowered,” Davis says.

Inspired by her work, Davis took her research and gave a presentation at the American Psychiatric Nurses Association in New Orleans in October. Dr. Miles accompanied Davis at the conference. While presenting their poster, they received a lot of interest from psych mental health professionals from all across the country.

Davis knows that they are off to a good start in raising awareness to this topic that sometimes isn’t discussed enough. “The biggest thing we need to do is to be aware of what is going on. When we are on high alert, we can watch out for one another and stop possible attacks.” Prevention through learning and understanding is key.

She is not alone in understanding the effects of mental illness and in having personal experience working with and being close to people who have been victims of sexual assault. Her desire to help better the lives of those victims have been her motivation for her project. “Sometimes they just need someone who recognizes what they are feeling,” Davis explains, “I can’t imagine what it would be like to walk around with that burden. I wish we could prevent everyone from having to suffer through those experiences. That’s what I try to do.” Let us all join in with Davis in making the world a better place!

 

Dr. Janelle Macintosh Receives The Alcuin Fellowship

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Receiving this award meant the world to Macintosh, and she looks forward to continuing her efforts.

By Quincey Taylor

Sometimes peoples’ efforts behind closed doors go unnoticed. Many people strive for excellence and never receive the deserved accolades. For associate professor Dr. Janelle Macintosh, however, this is not that case. Recently, Macintosh was awarded the Alcuin Fellowship for 2020- 2022 from Brigham Young University.

The Alcuin Fellowship award recognizes teacher-scholars who have gone beyond the regular limits of their disciplines and made significant contributions to the general education and honors curriculum. This perfectly describes Macintosh’s efforts over the years, and she says, “I feel so blessed by this recognition.”

As an Alcuin Fellow, Macintosh has been invited to teach an Unexpected Connections Course for the honors program. It is an exciting opportunity for a BYU College of Nursing faculty member. She has been paired with Dr. John Talbot from the English department, and together they are creating a course about literature and health, which will be taught during winter semester for three years. Macintosh says, “I know I will learn so much from Dr. Talbot and the honors students in the classes. Together we will enlarge our worldview and expand our sphere of influence.”

The College of Nursing would like to congratulate Macintosh on this amazing accomplishment. She thanks college supporters and says, “This opportunity would not be feasible without the support of the administration at the College of Nursing, the BYU Honors Program faculty and staff, and my colleague who nominated me for this fellowship. Thank you!”

 

Walking Into a “New Life”

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Dustin (far right) loves doing all she can to serve her patients! Photo courtesy of Dustin.

By Corbin Smith

The BYU College of Nursing has an international reach that has no limitations. Faculty and students travel across the world to places such as Taiwan, India and Tonga to serve locals with their knowledge of the Healer’s art. Assistant teaching professor Tracy Dustin is one of those faculty members who does not shy away from going abroad to share her nursing talents. That is why each September she goes to El Salvador with an organization called Operation Walk Utah.

Operation Walk Utah’s motto is “Restoring mobility to those in need… One joint at a time.” As their motto reflects, their ultimate goal is to give El Salvadorians a “new life” through hip and joint replacements. Since their beginning in 2007, Operation Walk Utah has created a strong reputation of providing successful joint replacements. They work out of the Hospital Nacional San Rafael in Santa Tecla, El Salvador, normally staying for a week each year. They complete about 70 replacements each trip.

For Dustin, she volunteers each year as a pre-op nurse. She gives patients medications and helps prepare them for their own life-changing operation. She also works in the recovery room and is able to see the impact of their work. “People line up and wait for hours for their chance for an operation. After the operation, it is humbling to see them leave with a new hope in their life.”

Over the years, while Dustin has seen so many amazing things happen within the organization, she is also quick to recognize that the impact on each individual is much more important. “The daily pain they suffer is so debilitating mentally,” Dustin explains, “They are so strong. They are so amazing.”

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Dustin is constantly amazed by the strength of her patients. Photo courtesy of Dustin.

Joint problems can be painful and decrease mobility to the point where you can’t work. In places like El Salvador, their livelihood depends on work, and Operation Walk Utah gives them that opportunity to go back to work. Dustin shares, “We took care of an elderly man who had both of his knees replaced at the same time. Even as a 74 year old man, he was still working but he was getting to the point where his knees didn’t allow him to work and produce for his family anymore. He was thrilled when we did this operation for him and helped him get back to work.”

However, the gratitude of the patients is what continues to inspire Dustin and Operation Walk Utah to return each year. “Most of our patients are very Christian oriented. They tell the surgeons and the nurses all the time that we are their angels from heaven,” Dustin says with a smile.

Undoubtedly, Dustin and her co-volunteers have incredibly blessed the people of El Salvador through their dedication to help those who suffer physically. They work and sacrifice things from their own personal lives, for the benefit and healing of others. That is the essence of the Healer’s art. They truly are nothing less than what their patients describe them year after year: angels.

 

If you would like to learn more about Operation Walk Utah visit their website: https://www.operationwalkutah.org/

Not So Different: BYU Professor Speaks at Tongan Nursing Day Celebration

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Reed, wearing a traditional ta’ovala gifted to her for formal occasions. Photo courtesy of Reed.

By Quincey Taylor

BYU professors take the mantra, “Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve,” very seriously in their careers. During this summer’s Tonga section of the clinical practicum for the public and global health nursing course, associate teaching professor Dr. Shelly Reed was asked to give a speech as part of this year’s International Nursing Day celebration.

This holiday, which is celebrated extensively on the island, was a wonderful opportunity to show what BYU stands for and why we immerse ourselves into other cultures. An overwhelming lesson all students learned was that they weren’t so different from Tongan nurses, sharing the same mission and desires.

Reed, who was returning to Tonga for the eighth time, was elated to have the chance to speak to a people that had grown to mean so much to her. She thought the best way to show what Tonga has meant to BYU students would be to read their thoughts on the experience.

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BYU nursing students (red) with local Tongan nursing students. They became fast friends. Photo courtesy of Reed.

Reed started her speech, saying, “At the BYU College of Nursing, we are learning the Healer’s art, or in other words, trying to learn to heal as our Savior, Jesus Christ, would heal… I am going to tell you today some of the things that students have learned in Tonga.”

Robin, who came to Tonga as a student the first year in 2010, said, “My nursing education was greatly enhanced by my experiences in Tonga. I learned that the Healer’s art is not always found in medications or in treatments. Instead, it is found in the sincere caring of one person for another. I loved to watch how the nurses in Tonga cared for their patients with the utmost respect and care. They inspired me to be a better nurse, and perhaps more importantly, a more caring person.”

The next year in 2011, Reed returned with 12 students. Unfortunately, that year most of them contracted gastrointestinal illness, and three of the students had to be hospitalized. They experienced Tongan healthcare by being a patient. Jaclyn, one of the students, said, “Tonga taught me about family, medical family, and love of healing.”

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Honoring the elderly is a big part of Tongan culture. Photo courtesy of Reed.

Reed and her students enjoyed the celebrations for International Nursing Day, and witnessed the reverent respect locals have for nurses. An award and cake were given to an elderly member of their society who had been a nurse in the local hospital for many years.

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Reed and her daughter with local nurse and her daughter. Family ties bring people together! Photo courtesy of Reed.

The college’s time in Tonga is treasured by all who go there. So many invaluable lessons are learned, by both professors and students. Reed, as well as everyone at the College of Nursing, hope to continue this blossoming relationship with Tonga.

Reed concluded her speech by addressing local healthcare professionals: “Just think of the impact that you all have on these students! We thank you for the compassion and caring you have shown us, and the compassion and caring you have taught us, as well as many other things that help us to be better nurses. Malo ‘auptio! Thank you very much.”

2019 Master’s Reunion Recap

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Dean Patty Ravert and associate teaching professor Dr. Sabrina Jarvis accept their “retirement leis” during the celebration of their accomplishments. Photo courtesy of Zak Gowans.

By Quincey Taylor

 

This week was a special opportunity for alumni from the BYU nursing master’s program to unite and celebrate their alma mater. In a fun reunion which included dinner, connections, and games for the kids, nurse practitioners and nursing administrators came together to feel the spirit of the Y.

The event was marked by the celebration of the beloved professor Dr. Patricia Ravert and associate teaching professor Dr. Sabrina Jarvis, both of whom will be retiring soon. Jarvis, who is retiring in December, has made a lasting impression on the college and all who associate with it. She has been a full-time employee since 2008 and an adjunct member since 2001. Ravert, who is retiring in July, has acted as the college dean and fearless leader since 2012 and is well-respected nationally.

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Alum Brand P. Reynolds accepts the 2019 Preceptor of the Year Award for his considerable efforts as a preceptor. Photo courtesy of Zak Gowans.

Each year, an honored FNP preceptor receives an award because of their exceptional efforts in mentoring nursing students. This year’s recipient is Brand P. Reynolds (’94 BS, ’98 MS) owns his own clinic. He has been precepting graduate students for the past eight years. He is a great example of the difference a nurse practitioner in independent practice in rural Utah can make in a community.

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Graduate student Charlie Rowberry was also recognized for her accomplishments. She is a ray of sunshine! Photo courtesy of Zak Gowans.

Also honored was graduate students Charlie Rowberry, who received the Utah Nurse Practitioner Outstanding Student Award this month.

Ravert was also able to announce the sizable donation the BYU College of Nursing received from the Fritz B. Burns Foundation. This will go towards the Cheryl R. Robinson Endowed Graduate Scholarship Fund in Nursing, which will allow for increased opportunities for student tuition scholarships, student mentoring, and increased participation in additional global health sites in the future.

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Bingo was a big hit! Notice the Thanksgiving wreath being worn as a hat? Photo courtesy of Zak Gowans.

While the NPs and their spouses listened to the presentation, children were able to play Bingo, make Thanksgiving wreaths, and throw mini footballs.

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Bullseye! Photo courtesy of Zak Gowans.

Overall, this year’s reunion was a great success. We are already excited for next year’s on November 10, 2020!

Everyone Has Something to Give: Kendall Semones

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Semones and her husband enjoy the beach together. Photo courtesy of Semones.

By Quincey Taylor

As a nurse, sometimes it’s the small moments that confirm to you that the path you’ve chosen is the correct one. The same goes for fifth semester student Kendall Semones, who strives for balance in a sometimes-hectic student life.

Her desire to join the medical field started when she got a job as a medical assistant in high school. Semones loved interacting with patients and helping individuals despite the oftentimes precarious position they are in. However, when it came to the medical procedures it was another story. On her first day, Semones passed out due to nerves. It was then that she questioned, “Is this the direction for me?”

However, after finding the why she had decided to try it out, everything became a lot easier. She says, “As I continued through that and working to focus on the patient, it helped to have a purpose and focusing only on that purpose.” She was able to work through the nerves and now looks forward to learning new medical procedures, “as long as they’re not on me,” Semones laughs.

Since getting into the program, Semones has loved learning nursing from a unique BYU gospel perspective. She is grateful for the spirit’s influence in her experiences, and says, “I think that the gospel instills a lot of confidence into my practice because I can go in knowing that I have extra help.”

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Semones (red, fifth from the right) attributes many life lessons learned to her time in Tonga. Photo courtesy of Shelly Reed.

This past summer, Semones was able to participate in the Tonga section of the clinical practicum for the public and global health nursing course. This was a life-changing moment for her. She remembers a particularly touching experience:

“I was on the pediatric floor and there was a patient who was getting a dressing change. He was just a little, little kid and the nurse was really focused on getting the dressing done. The boy was in so much pain and he was super terrified just because they had limited resources. So my friend and I decided to go over. I went over and I held the little boy’s hand and talked to him. Of course, he was still in pain, but you could definitely see in his face a certain level of comfort after that. It was just from being there with him. Even though my role wasn’t huge, I didn’t help participate in an important step of the procedure or wound care, it was still meaningful for him. It was a very meaningful moment for myself as well.”

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Semones and other nursing students enjoy performing in the BYU Luau, showing their love for the country of Tonga. Photo courtesy of Semones.

She walked away from her international experience knowing that, “Everyone has something to give. Whether that’s a nursing student, or a nurse with limited resources, or even a young patient, everyone has something to offer… They have special gifts or skills that they can share with others.”

As she has striven to achieve balance in her life, one thing Semones believes is that people are the most important. If she could give one piece of advice to herself when she entered the major, it would be that sacrificing human relationships just to have a better grade will never be worth it. She says, “It means if my friend calls me up and they’re having a bad day and they want to talk, they’re more important than an extra hour of studying for a test.”