Alumni in Action: A Pandemic Response

BYU College of Nursing’s 2020 fall magazine features stories and experiences of nursing alumni that responded to the Coronavirus pandemic in unique ways. Here are additional entries that didn’t make it into the publication.

There is no doubt that our world is different today. The response to COVID-19 is drastically changing the way we are living and working. Whether on the frontline or from the comfort of their home during these hard times, many people have stepped up to volunteer, serve, and create positive outcomes. Among them are BYU College of Nursing alumni. Here are some examples of how they’re making a difference in the world.

Mental Health and Coping During a Crisis

Ashley C. Dyer (BS ’18) of Baltimore, Maryland, teamed up with her roommate to establish Quandaries in Quarantine, a Facebook group that fosters social and spiritual strengthening during isolation. Q in Q met each week virtually to discuss a specific difficulty going on in their lives, from how to serve in quarantine to how to stay hopeful and grateful and how to practice self-care.

It became a place where group members’ strengths could work together to embody their love of Jesus Christ. Each was encouraged to hold their own online sessions in smaller groups between the weekly group discussions. It not only built friendships and connections but provided for a community of creativity cultivation, which fueled each session.


Positive Stories to Boost a Nurse’s Mood

Dr. Tracey B. Long (BS ’86) of Las Vegas, Nevada, has been a nursing professor for 20 years and a nurse for over 30 years. One way she made a difference during the crisis was through sharing inspiring stories of nurses during her healing hearts campaign.

Long says that “one thing that nurses do” is to “add a stitch in the lives of people” even though “we come in and out of their lives for just brief seconds.” Her video series, available on the Lifelong Learning Education channel on YouTube, is meant to honor and inspire the doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals that serve on the frontlines during the pandemic. As each became available, she encouraged others to share the materials, such as “Stitching Hearts Together,” “Healing with Peppy,” and “Angel Nurse,” with a nurse they know to show their gratitude.


Creating Unique Online Learning Experiences

When notice was given in March that the conclusion of the 2020 winter semester would move online, nursing teaching professor Sondra Heaston (MS ’05) had just a few days to prepare for her N472 clinical practicum for adults in crisis class. Intermountain Healthcare, Revere Health, and other organizations would not allow nursing students to complete clinicals in their hospitals, so Heaston found a way to provide similar scenarios to her students within the Mary Jane Rawlinson Geertsen Nursing Learning Center (NLC).

The first virtual lab focused on tracheostomy care, focusing on open and closed suctioning and site care. Class members joined the discussion via a Zoom meeting video conferencing session and voiced how to care for their patient while an NLC staff member became their hands. Participants watched to ensure the technique was done to their liking and commands, as the worker (as well as Heaston, who was watching via room cameras) offered no feedback or direction. Students had to rely on each other for guidance, recall dosage amounts from their pharmacology classwork, and watch changes to the ventilator settings.

When the scenario ended, Heaston and the staff member led a debriefing exercise to reinforce the nursing care plan and goals for tracheostomy. Most class members enjoyed the unique online experience and the opportunity to lead a discussion and diagnosis remotely.


BYU Alumna Helps NYC Stay Strong During COVID-19

Claire Weeks (BS ’19), a recent BYU nursing alumna, is one of those modern heroes who used her medical knowledge and skills to fight COVID-19 in one of its major hotspots: New York City. Read her experiences at


‘Muffin is better than a day of cupcakes!

Being at home with four young children is challenging anytime, but during stay-at-home orders in North Carolina, it can become stressful. Emily shares this insight on her Facebook page:

Over the past several months, I’ve had many people say, “You have your hands full!” I usually just laugh and agree but then decided I wanted to let people know how I really feel, so my new response became this, “If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart! It’s about to burst!” That doesn’t mean that every day is cupcakes and gumdrops! We currently have two kids recovering from ear infections, one with RSV, one recovering from pneumonia, and one still trying to accept the fact that there’s a new baby in the family. Why would my heart burst with all that going on?!?? Because God expands and opens my heart to Him as I learn how to love, listen, work, understand, fail, try again, and “practice” patience over and over and over and over again.

If not a day of cupcakes, what?
In February, one of her friends posted in need of a good banana bread recipe, so it inspired her to try out creating a recipe of her own. She’s calling these Honey Oatmeal Banana Muffins and sharing them because they turned out delicious. Enjoy.

Honey Oat Banana Muffins
2 eggs
1 cup melted butter
3/4 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla
6 large ripe mashed bananas
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups of blended quick oats
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Mix wet ingredients (eggs, butter, honey, vanilla, bananas, yogurt)
Blend oats in a high-speed blender to make a flour consistency
Mix dry ingredients (flour, oatmeal, soda, baking powder, salt)

Fold the mixture with a spoon until wet and dry ingredients are combined
Butter or spray your muffin pan, fill 3/4 full
Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes

This recipe made 26 muffins for her. Emily added blueberries to a few as she liked them better without the blueberries mixed in but loved eating one (or two) with blueberries on the side!


You may also submit your own pandemic stories to

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