Not Just a Professor, Not Just a Mentor, But a Friend

Shelly Reed

Dr. Shelly Reed exemplifies the Savior’s teaching to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.

By Quincey Taylor

Mentoring students is one of the main reasons BYU nursing faculty decide to return to our campus. They look forward to helping students through a time of their lives that they remember and can relate to. Associate teaching professor Dr. Shelly Reed is no different. She thrives by forming meaningful relationships with her students and mentoring them through their time in the program. Sixth semester nursing student Megan Hancock can find many reasons to be grateful for Dr. Reed.

Hancock recently had the opportunity to attend and present at a conference by the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses. She presented a poster with some research findings to nursing professionals. While Reed had helped her prepare the information, Hancock was left largely to her own devices to answer questions and present. Hancock remarks, “She let me lead it and was really supportive. She was my cheerleader.”

However, this pattern of mentorship between Hancock and Reed started long before the conference. It all started during the Tonga section of the clinical practicum for the public and global health nursing course. Reed was spearheading the trip, and Hancock was excitedly waiting to attend. The experience was life-changing for Hancock, and she saw how much Reed cared for her students.

So when the time came for a student to volunteer to attend the conference, Hancock jumped at the opportunity to work with Dr. Reed again. Even though she originally intended to pursue a career in the emergency department, the experience ended up being so influential that Hancock decided to change her trajectory and is interested in studying neonatal nursing after all.

Reed has been a huge help to her students during their time in the program. Hancock says, “BYU students are high achievers, and nursing has a really steep learning curve. Sometimes it’s hard because you think, ‘I don’t know what I am doing.” But Shelly was so understanding. She knows that you’re going through the learning curve. She’s so patient and wants you to enjoy nursing.”

During the conference, Reed put Hancock in connection with nursing professionals that could help her later in her career. “Shelly wants her students to be successful. She is also a master networker. She actually helped me get in touch with other professionals.” Hancock grins, “She basically brags about you.”


The dogwood flower represents the Savior on the cross. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

However, one of the most meaningful moments to Hancock during the conference trip was a trip through the Atlanta temple with her professor. Once they were in the celestial room, Hancock remarked on the beautiful decorative dogwood flowers painted on the ceiling. They have a special significance of the Savior, as each flower petal is pierced just as the Savior’s hands were. Reed then had the opportunity to share her testimony with her student, an experience with significance that will undoubtedly outweigh many other shared classroom moments.

Hancock can always look forward to finding a friend in Reed, who makes everyone’s day a little brighter. Hancock laughs, “For example, she always brings treats to literally everything she does.”

When asked how mentorship has affected her time at BYU, Hancock replies, “Mentorship is everything, especially when you’re doing something hard that is far out of your comfort zone. You need someone to go to and ask questions.” She exclaims, “Faculty are here to see you succeed! They want to help you. That’s why they’re professors in the first place.”

Published by BYU Nursing

Guided by the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we exemplify the Healer’s art by: leading with faith and integrity; advancing the science of nursing and healthcare; promoting health and wellness; alleviating suffering; and serving individuals, families, and communities. The mission of the College of Nursing at Brigham Young University is to learn the Healer’s art and go forth to serve.

2 thoughts on “Not Just a Professor, Not Just a Mentor, But a Friend

  1. Was glad to hear this about my sister though not surprised. She is a great example to me and our family.

  2. She makes everyone’s day brighter, by her beautiful smile! Her heart is open to all! I love her dearly! She makes the difference in all she touches! Monster cookies are as amazing as she is! Love you Shelly

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