By Alex Coleman
“Something that has motivated me my whole life, in everything I do, is the mantra ‘be a lover of learning,’” says Jaren Smith, a second-semester nursing student, and student spotlight for the week. “College has given me the skills and a platform to chase knowledge, and BYU Nursing has given me a pathway to continue to learn throughout my life.”
An Idaho native, Jaren grew up playing basketball, soccer, and guitar. His exposure to nursing began at a young age, watching his dad’s career in mental health nursing unfold. He also has a lot of other family members who are nurses. In his freshman year of college, as he took some career exploration classes and reflected on a few experiences, he realized that nursing is what he wanted to do.
One of those experiences was during his senior year of high school. Jaren’s dad ended up in the ICU for a month and had to stay in the hospital for two more months. During this difficult time for his family, the nurses that worked at the hospital were a great source of strength and help. Seeing them work with his dad in that critical setting was incredibly inspiring for him in their care of the patient and their interaction with and comfort they offered to visiting family. It is reflecting on this experience that Jaren says really motived him to pursue nursing as a career.
Jaren also loves nursing as a career because of the flexibility and variety in its application. He’s exploring many options, including ICU work, mental health nursing, or oncology. Many of the career paths he’s looking into have been opened up to him through his BYU Nursing experience. He appreciates that he’s heading into the curriculum area where he is starting to get hands-on experience; the college has provided him with plenty of networking opportunities and practical exposure activities. In addition, the COVID alternative to the second-semester gerontology unit—the Shadow Health Program—has been very useful, combined with our new student/student mentorship program (to learn more about this, visit https://byunursing.wordpress.com/2020/11/12/byu-nursing-continues-to-navigate-the-pandemic-with-a-student-mentorship-program).
When asked what his favorite thing about BYU Nursing is, Jaren describes the appreciation he has for the emphasis on learning the Healer’s art. “Not only is it a good educational motto, but it’s an incredible life motto,” he says. He loves that nursing teaches him skills that he can use to make a living, but also things that he can use outside of work—“To be able to help heal people in any way is a really wonderful thing.”