Author Archives: College of Nursing Media Team

2020 Professionalism Conference Recap

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During the Professionalism Conference, nursing students were able to connect with each other and talk to recruiters. 

By Lyndee Johns



Patient baths.

Trauma care.


On Monday, February 24th, the 2020 Professionalism Conference was held at the BYU Wilkinson Student Center. Nursing students from every semester gathered to connect with each other, learn from a variety of nursing professionals, and enjoy some tasty J-Dawgs.

In the morning presentation, keynote speaker Dr. Kathleen Vollman gave a presentation about the research surrounding patient baths and oral hygiene. “This is the power of nursing,” Vollman said, referring to how cleaning patients’ mouths helps reduce pneumonia cases. “Something simple, scientific, that can make a huge difference in patient outcomes.”

After the presentation, students met with various recruiters and company reps, including Intermountain Healthcare, Utah State Hospital, and UNA.

After the break, students attended various breakout sessions.

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Participants attended two breakout sessions.


In a session entitled “ABCs, Not Just the Alphabet: Prioritizing Trauma Care,” trauma director Geri Jean Lundquist shared a story about her first fatality, a nineteen-year-old girl that had died in a car accident. “We can’t save everybody,” said Lundquist. “But if we can learn about priorities, we can do the best we can.” Lundquist listed various scenarios with participants, having them practice finding trauma priorities through the question, “What’s going to kill them first?”

In his session “Strategies to Counter Vaccine Hesitancy,” Dr. Bill Cosgrove discussed the benefits of the HPV vaccine and various strategies to encourage parents to allow their children to be vaccinated. His main advice? Approaching the parents with the mindset of giving their child a gift will allow for greater results than going in for a fight. “Essentially, if I focus on this is a wonderful gift they can give to their child, it works.”

In another session, legal nurse consultant Linda Swenson gave students advice as to how to avoid medical malpractice. One of her tips was making sure that patients have the correct medication. In a chilling example, she told a story about a woman in an assisted care facility who had received a prescription for methotrexate, a powerful chemotherapy drug, by mistake. No one caught the error, and the woman ended up dying. Swenson encouraged students to trust themselves and to question random prescriptions that don’t fit the patient’s medical history.

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Alumni Laura Young encouraged students to be involved wherever they work as an RN.

BYU alumni Lauren Young gave students tips for their first year as a resident nurse. She talked about how she had wanted to work in the ICU after graduation, but got a job in the progressive care unit. “I didn’t get my dream job . . . But it actually ended up being the best possible job for me and I loved every single second of it,” she said. Young encouraged students to be happy wherever they end up as an RN, to be humble and teachable, and to get involved.

Vollman also gave a presentation about how to recognize and manage sepsis.

In the closing session, speaker Jamie Schanbaum—a GKS spokesperson, US para-athlete, and survivor of meningitis—spoke about “Life After Meningitis.”

After contracting meningitis at age twenty, Schanbaum had to have her legs amputated below the knee and her fingers amputated. She eventually became a U.S. Paralympic cyclist, even winning a gold medal in 2011. She is an active advocate of the meningitis vaccine.

Many students remarked how inspired they were by her story. “It makes nursing feel real,” said one student. Another said how good it was to hear from the patient’s perspective, and another was “encouraged to fight for change.”

Students were able to walk away from the conference with a vision of life after nursing school: lives as advocates, leaders, and healers.

What to Expect at Night of Nursing 2020


NON watch parties will be hosted at various locations across the nation; Photo courtesy of the Spokane, Washington chapter

By Lyndee Johns

The seventh annual Night of Nursing is only days away.

Seven days, seven hours, 51 minutes and 55 seconds to be exact.

54 seconds.

53 seconds.

52 groups across the nation will gather in various locations on February 27th, 2020, to watch the broadcast by Dr. Sandra Rogers at 6:30 MST. Dr. Sandra Rogers is the current international vice president at BYU and the previous college dean.


Los Angeles - Wendy Hart

Los Angeles Night of Nursing party; Photo courtesy of Wendy Hart

The informal watch parties hosted by nursing alumni and BYU-alumni chapters across the nation will each have different activities as decided by the hosts. The starting times will also be decided by the hosts. Each party will include refreshments, time to mingle with alumni and other nursing students, games, raffles, and the opportunity to watch the broadcast. The broadcast should last half an hour, meaning that the party itself could last between 90 minutes and two hours.


The party provides a chance for nursing alumni from BYU and BYU-Idaho to reconnect and a chance for current nursing students to talk with alumni. However, everyone (including alumni from other schools) is welcome to attend!

Raffle Prizes

Raffle prizes at the different host parties include water bottles, copies of the book Nurses at War, College of Nursing t-shirts, and much-coveted BYU socks. (Seriously, everyone loves these socks.)

BYU Party


Fudge, umbrellas, and other raffle prizes will be won at the BYU party

The BYU campus party—the site of the broadcast—will include Italian sodas, a photo booth, ring toss, and a prize wheel. A doughnut wall is even rumored to appear (but you didn’t hear that from me). Raffle prizes at this location include fudge, umbrellas, and gift cards. The party will begin at 6:00 MST.

The Greatest Prize

In addition to walking away with prizes, new connections to fellow nurses, and great memories, all participants of Night of Nursing will end the night with the greatest gift of all:

A new spatula.


So check to find the Night of Nursing party for your area, and RSVP via the website. If you are bringing any guests with you (again, all are welcome), make sure that you RSVP for them as well.

Come join us for a memorable evening of connection and fun!

Mary Ellen Jackman: “Go Forth to Serve”



Jackman epitomizes the BYU slogan “Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve”; Photo courtesy of Jackman

By Lyndee Johns

BYU alumni Mary Ellen Jackman (BS ’77, AS ’75) encourages BYU nursing students to take the campus message “Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve” to heart.

When examining her life, it is clear that Jackman has done this herself.

Jackman has worked for Intermountain Healthcare for 33 years, all but 18 months of those years at American Fork Hospital in labor and delivery.

Last November, Jackman traveled to Honduras as part of a humanitarian trip with Smiles for Latin America—an organization that provides medical and dental services to future missionaries.

In San Pedro Sula, 30 dentists and six oral surgeons set up shop in the local stake center to give fillings and root canals. Jackman assisted as a recovery room nurse. Altogether, they were able to serve 670 prospective missionaries.

During the trip, Jackman also helped to deliver supplies to an orphanage and maternity kits to a maternity hospital.

Jackman considers the trip a “very rewarding experience.”

“The Saints are very appreciative and very humble,” Jackman says.

In addition to serving people in Honduras, Jackman has made a significant difference in her own American Fork Hospital.

About ten years ago, Jackman noticed a problem during the clinical days where students would come to assist in the hospital: both nurses and students were getting frustrated. Students wanted to share what they had learned in their classes, and the nurses were overwhelmed by simultaneously trying to mentor students and handle patients. “The only satisfaction the nurse gets is if the student is receptive to learn and take direction, not over-anxious to share what they think they know. In real life it looks different,” says Jackman.

Something had to change.

Jackman worked with the instructors, discovering ways to fulfill both the needs of the students and the needs of the nursing staff. “The immediate difference for the nurses may have been that the nurses were given a way to voice their concerns and plans were made to solve problems,” says Jackman.

Another change was the addition of a student orientation day a week before the clinical day. At student orientation, students are welcomed to the hospital and given a tour. During the tour, Jackman gives the students instructions as to how the unit works and how the students can utilize their skills. The student orientation day is meant to “help them feel welcome and that we care,” says Jackman. “We were all students at one time.”

The changes, as Jackman says, “help students come away empowered and that they’ve had a good time . . . The goal is to have a good experience for both our staff and the students. When we’re at ease with our environment, and our feelings count, it provides a fertile field for learning.”

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Jackman has been a blessing to students coming into the American Fork Hospital; Photo courtesy of Jackman

Jackman frequently acts as a liaison for students coming into American Fork Hospital. She has personally mentored many nursing students who have expressed their gratitude in the form of thank-you cards that Jackman still keeps in her scrapbook.

Jackman serves as an organist at the Mount Timpanogos Temple and in her ward. She enjoys gardening and doing temple work. “Most of all, I love to spend time with my children,” Jackman says. She has six children and 22 grandchildren, with another on the way. She hopes to do another humanitarian trip and to go on a mission. Meanwhile, she is serving at the MTC, helping missionaries arriving from third-world countries and that are in need of clothing items and other supplies.

Jackman wants to remind current and incoming nursing students that nursing is, in her words, “a very diverse field.” The skills that they learn at BYU can be used in a variety of different environments, including hospitals, cruise ships, education, hospice and home health. “A nursing education is adaptable at different times of life, to be built on from an AD or BS degree to masters and doctorate levels. Nursing is a blessing to parents with children as they use their skills for their family.”

“‘Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve’ will last the rest of your life.”



Peace Amidst the Storm: Annie Welton Lyman and Davin Lyman’s Journey through Thyroid Cancer


Annie Lyman and Davin Lyman are wonderful examples of strengthening your faith during trials; Photo provided by Annie Lyman

By Lyndee Johns

Last March, nursing student Annie Welton and pre-med student Davin Lyman had their world rocked by two words.

Thyroid cancer.

This wasn’t in the plan. They had only been engaged for two weeks. They had been told by the doctors that the tumor that they’d found in Davin’s thyroid was likely not malignant. A 10 percent chance of cancer.

“So finding out was really traumatic. You hear ‘cancer,’ and it’s just overwhelming and scary and so uncertain, and you just kind of feel like everything’s rocked,” says Annie Welton Lyman, now married to Davin Lyman. “But we just knew we had to go one step at a time, one day at a time.”

It’s been 11 months of “one day at a time.”

Davin’s thyroid had to be removed, along with 20 lymph nodes. This led to an ongoing battle for balance through hormone replacement therapy, weekly doctor’s visits, and medication.

But how have the couple gotten through it?

How have they found peace amidst the storm?

The Gospel

Annie credits the gospel for getting her husband and herself through this time.

“We were able to go to the temple every week, and just relying on the knowledge that what we were doing was right. We knew that our education was right. We knew that our marriage was right, like Heavenly Father had just given us that assurance, and continual assurance. And that’s what made it all— not only bearable, because it wasn’t fun and it wasn’t easy—but it was possible because of that,” says Annie.

Annie says that both her and her husband’s testimonies and their marriage have been strengthened through this ordeal. “It’s given us such beautiful hindsight and such beautiful realization of like, what that did for our marriage, what it did for our careers, what it did for our spirits and our souls and our family.”

The Scholarship

Annie also credits a scholarship given by the BYU College of Nursing for keeping them afloat.

In the midst of Davin’s bout with cancer, the Lymans were struggling to pay thousands of dollars in medical bills, while working and dealing with heavy course loads.

Annie went to the BYU College of Nursing to see if there were any type of scholarships available. Although it was outside of the typical scholarship period, the school was able to utilize the C Scott & Dorothy E Watkins Charitable Foundation Scholarship. “We’re both back to school, and thanks to the scholarship, we’re able to be in school and be practicing. But I don’t know, honestly, without the scholarship, what would have happened because neither of us can take on more work. And I think we would have been stuck,” says Annie.


Annie Lyman says that her friends in the nursing program were a great support to her; Photo provided by Annie Lyman

Nursing Training

Annie’s time in the nursing program has been invaluable for providing a better understanding of the diagnosis and treatments. “Both of us are in medical professions,” Annie says. “And so I have been spending the past three years learning about the thyroid and the difference between the thyroid and the thymus and the hormones and all that, so it really helped decrease my fear because I had such a better knowledge of what they were saying. So at least when the doctor gave this diagnosis, I could understand ‘This is what that means,’ and understand the hormones and the balancing.”

The nursing program also helped empower Annie by giving her the tools to do her own research. “I just had different avenues that the nursing program taught me, so I was able to work with the doctor and to give my input and my suggestions and thoughts and stuff like that.”  

Empathy is Key

The Lymans’ months of one-on-one time with nurses and doctors have ensured that they have spent a lot of time with what Annie labels “the good examples” and “the bad examples” of nursing.

The vital difference between the two?


“We’ve had some bad examples with people not being empathetic or understanding, just treating it very objectively, which I understand has a time and a place,” Annie says, “But when you just tell someone they have cancer, it’s a fragile thing.”

However, even from the bad examples, Annie was able to learn an important lesson.

“And so that has taught me the importance of being empathetic and personable with every patient because even though to me . . . I may have treated someone with this condition hundreds of times, it’s still important to be empathetic. It’s their first time receiving this diagnosis.”

On the flip side, the “good examples” were the ones that were concerned for both Lymans. “I’ve learned the importance of taking care of not only the patient, but their caregivers and their family,” says Annie. “Because obviously I was not the one going through cancer, but I was just as worried. It was just as emotional. And so when they took the time to talk to me and care for me as well, it made a huge impact. And so it’s really just taught me that nursing is much more personal and every diagnosis is personal.

“And so empathy is important in every single patient and condition.”

Share the Burden

Annie encourages everyone going through a similar condition to share with friends or family members what has been going on.

“Don’t be afraid to let people in . . . Don’t be afraid to tell them about what you’ve been going through. Because I think sometimes we think we’ll feel like a burden, or we’ll feel like we’re trying to get attention, or it might make someone else uncomfortable if we tell them, but really that’s not the case.”

Annie says that sharing with others helped to quickly connect with them. “It helped them feel like they could share what they were going through, and I hope that our experience has helped others as well.”

In addition to friends and family, Annie says to share our burdens with one other vital person: the Savior.

“There were so many times where I had an assignment due, or we had bills to pay, or I was having a meltdown, and I just had to be like ‘Heavenly Father, I have to just give this portion over to you,’ or ‘I have to let go of this stress, I have to let go of this fear.’ And He let me just concentrate on one thing at a time . . . And I felt like He took most of the burden off.”

Storm Is Over

While the Lymans are still trying to navigate the winds of hormone treatments, the storm appears to have ended.

Though remission has yet to officially be declared, the doctors confirm that the cancer was removed with Davin’s thyroid.

“We’re still balancing and then we’ll still continually do biopsies to make sure that it’s still not there, but we’re pretty sure that it’s gone,” Annie says.

Taking everything that they’ve learned from this experience—the medical knowledge, the importance of empathy, the shedding of burdens, and the compassion of the Lord—the Lymans are learning how to help patients of their own in their respective medical fields.

Their ship may not be in the harbor yet, but they are looking towards the future.










BYU’s Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi: Pushing for the Platinum


Platinum is the highest level of Phi Kappa Phi’s Circle of Excellence awards; Image provided by Phi Kappa Phi

By Lyndee Johns

Members of BYU’s Division I chapter of Phi Kappa Phi don’t just go for the gold—they push for the platinum.

Phi Kappa Phi is, as the BYU pamphlet boasts, “the nation’s oldest, largest, and most selective honor society for all academic disciplines.” Juniors in the top 7.5 percent and seniors and grad students in the top 10 percent of their classes are invited to join Phi Kappa Phi, where they are encouraged to participate in chapter activities and be on the student board.

And, as chapter president and college assistant professor Dr. Deborah Himes puts it, BYU’s chapter is “doing something right.”

The BYU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi has recently received the 2019–2020 Circle of Excellence Platinum award. This prestigious award shows that BYU has met chapter requirements, has both social and service events, and has an active student board.

And according to Himes, it is the student board that makes the chapter what it is.

“It’s a student-driven organization,” says Himes. “As the faculty members, or more the faculty/staff, we help keep things running. But we try to help them set the vision . . . We have some of the brightest students on campus, and they can make a lot happen. So we will give them opportunities to do that.”

Run by two elected vice presidents, the student board plans chapter activities. Last year, Phi Kappa Phi partnered with My Story Matters to meet refugee families living in Utah, and to record their stories. The families were later given a bound book that contained their stories, and a family picture. “It was very impactful for the kids to see them realizing that their story matters, their story is important,” says Himes.

Phi Kappa Phi’s current plans for the semester include an interdisciplinary Jeopardy event, and partnering with Dahlia’s Hope—an organization that helps victims of sex trafficking transition back into healthy living.

One of the chapter’s goals for the new year includes running a successful initiation banquet, where the Circle of Excellence award will be announced. Their other goals? “Supporting the students and their service and social activities, and, you know, trying to find ways that we can do good in the world,” says Himes.

Here’s to BYU’s Phi Kappa Phi, and may their programs stay platinum.


Student Spotlight: Haokun Yang


Yang (third from the left) is looking forward to additional classes in the nursing program; Photo provided by Yang

By Lyndee Johns

When speaking to second-semester nursing student Haokun Yang, it’s clear what drives him: service.

During his time at Minot State University, Yang was highly involved in student government as a senator. He also participated in DECA, a business club. Through DECA, he was able to go to a national conference in Washington DC and compete in a business competition. A period of self-discovery for him, Yang says that he was able to discover that his “passion is really to help people and to serve others.”

The experience that got him into nursing was that of helping to care for his grandmother when she was in the hospital. He says that helping his grandmother and aiding the caretaker was the “first medical experience” that he had.

“And then from that experience I thought, ‘Maybe I can do something like that—to help people, serve others, and to help them feel God’s love through me.”

One of Yang’s favorite moments in the nursing program so far has been the final exam for NURS 294: Health Assessment and Promotion, where he was able to conduct a head-to-toe physical check. “At that moment, I really felt like ‘I am a nurse. I am going to be a nurse.’”

Yang looks forward to taking NURS 320: Scholarly Inquiry into Nursing—a class that focuses on research methodology. “I want to learn more about research,” Yang says. “I believe that experience is going to help me to take care of patients.”

In addition to serving people through the nursing program, Yang has been volunteering at the Y-serve program Anatomy Academy—a program that teaches elementary school students about the parts of the body and how to keep them healthy.

Haokun Yang

Yang has hiked trails in China and in Utah; Photo provided by Yang

In his free time, Yang enjoys reading, swimming, and being outdoors. While at BYU, Yang has been able to hike some of the famous BYU spots, including the Y trail, Provo Peak, and Mount Timpanogos. In China, his stomping grounds include Mount Hua.

Yang describes his hometown as “one of the most ancient cities in China.” Xi’an is well-known for its food and its many historical sites, including the famous terracotta warriors and the Qianling Mausoleum, where the first woman emperor in China, Wu Zetian, is buried.1

After graduation, Yang wants to take on the challenges of working in the ICU. “I like the fast pace and also the demand from that unit, and I also feel like I can keep up with both the physical and mental demands from that unit.”

The most important thing he’s learned so far in the program? “The Healer’s art,” Yang says. “To help the patients feel God’s mercy through the care we provide.”

  1. Traveling Guide China (2018). “Top Ten Things to Do In Xi’an.” Retrieved from

Differences Make You Better: Dr. Corinna Tanner’s Connection to Terry Johnson’s Dog Driven


Dr. Corinna Tanner provided many of her own experiences for Terry Johnson to use in her book

By Lyndee Johns

“The thing that is sort of funny about this is that anybody that knows me knows I’m terrified of dogs,” says assistant professor Dr. Corinna Tanner.

Considering her role in Terry Lynn Johnson’s book Dog Driven, the statement is truly ironic.

Dog Driven image

Dog Driven was released on December 3rd, 2019; Photo courtesy of Amazon

Dog Driven tells the story of Mckenna Barney, a fourteen-year-old musher who decides to participate in a Canadian sled-dog race carrying a very important piece of mail—her sister’s letter about raising awareness for Stargardt disease. The holdup? Mckenna has been losing her vision to the same disease for the last year, and desperately trying to keep her vision loss from her family and her peers. During the perilous race, Mckenna makes important self-discoveries. “It’s about her journey of grappling with this disability and having the courage to tell people about it, and having the courage to be okay with it,” says Tanner, who has Stargardt’s herself.

While Tanner has, in her words, “perfect peripheral vision,” the disease has affected her central vision—rendering her completely blind in that area.

One of the challenges that comes with Stargardt’s is that recognizing people tends to be very difficult. “And so that makes social situations really awkward and challenging sometimes because you can’t tell the difference between people . . . And in a high school setting where the halls are crowded and you don’t know very many people, it’s very, very intimidating because you can’t tell who people are . . . It can be very socially isolating, and so she captured some of that challenge in the book,” Tanner says.

In 2017, Johnson connected with Tanner though an online blindness support group, asking whether Tanner would be interested in being interviewed. Tanner met with Johnson for interviews over the next five to six months. Johnson asked about Tanner’s experience with Stargardt disease, especially about her experiences as a teenager. Some of these memories, such as Tanner having to move closer and closer to the chalkboard until she had to stand directly in front of it to be able to read it, are included in the book. “But one thing that came out of the interviews that she said she really wanted to capture was my positive attitude about blindness, about my acceptance of blindness. She wanted her character to have that same kind of acceptance and positivity around her disability,” Tanner says.

When Tanner listened to the book the first time, she found herself getting so caught up in the story’s plot and adventure that she actually forgot that she had inspired many of Mckenna’s experiences. “Hearing her experience about what she could see, what she couldn’t see, and how she did it, I was like ‘Oh, that’s just like me,’” Tanner says. “And I was like ‘That is me!’’’


Dr. Corinna Tanner appreciates Terry Johnson’s accurate depiction of Stargardt’s

Tanner describes the main character Mckenna as a combination between herself and Johnson, who has experience with dog-sledding and lives in Canada. But Tanner says that she could take from Mckenna’s example of overcoming fear by applying it towards her own fear of dogs.

While some moments of the book are taken directly from Tanner’s experiences, there are some differences. While in the book Mckenna’s little sister gets the disease first, Tanner says that it was the opposite for her. “In my case, I got it first . . . then my younger sister did develop Stargardt’s too, and hers was more severe than mine . . .  [Johnson] just kind of flipped the story a little bit.”

Tanner also had a slightly different method of coping with her vision loss growing up. “I don’t think I was actively trying to hide it as much as this character was as just trying to suck it up and tough it out, because my parents were busy.”

When Tanner at first noticed problems with her eyesight, she’d chalked it up to needing glasses. And as her mother had her hands full with trying to raise seven young children and caring for a developmentally delayed uncle, it took a year—and a school vision screening test—to find out what was really going on.

Standing in front of volunteer moms and her classmates, the only letter that Tanner could make out on the chart was the gigantic letter E. “And the moms thought I was just being a smart aleck. They thought I was trying to be funny, and the kids thought I was trying to be funny too. So everybody was laughing. And I ran out of the school crying,” Tanner says. The incident led to a trip to the eye doctor, and an eventual diagnosis of Stargardt disease.

Tanner has three main messages that readers should take away from Dog Driven:

  1. “It’s respectable to be blind.”
  2. “Blind people can do most things sighted people can do, but they do it in a different way.”
  3. “Sometimes blind people don’t look blind.”

“It’s important to think about the fact that if someone had known—if any of the adults in her life had known—about her vision impairment, she likely would not have been permitted to join the race,” Tanner says. “And that’s unfortunate. I feel like children with disabilities and people with disabilities are frequently held back from reaching their full potential out of concern for their safety, which is valid, but on the other hand, there is spiritual and psychological and emotional safety too that are important to be considered . . . She could have gotten hurt on the trail, but so could any of the other mushers.”

One line from the book still stands out to Tanner—particularly because it is her own. In Dog Driven, one of Mckenna’s opponents has a lead dog, Zesty, who is visually impaired. However, Zesty is the most hardworking and focused dog on the team. Near the end of the book, Mckenna comes to an earthshaking conclusion: “Zesty is not disabled. Her differences make her better.”1

And that’s what Tanner takes away from it all: “My blindness hasn’t made me disabled. In the end, it’s made me better.”

  1. Terry Lynn Johnson, Dog Driven (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019), 242.