Category Archives: Alumni

Graduating from the Classroom to the Delivery Room

By Calvin Petersen

Perhaps more than anything, graduation is a time for questions. Those graduating ask questions like: Will I get more sleep now? What am I going to do with my life? Will I live where I want to? Will I find a job? Will I be any good at it?

Those who aren’t graduating yet ask: Will I get more sleep now? What am I going to do with my life? How can I be ready for graduation when it’s my turn? Will I be prepared for the real world?

Larissa Black, who graduated from the BYU College of Nursing last December, is evidence that some of these questions really do have answers.

The New Nurse on the Unit

Larissa is from Tomball, Texas, and has a pair of fake cowboy boots and a love of barbecue to prove it. After graduating and conquering the NCLEX, Larissa began her job as a labor and delivery nurse at the University of Utah Hospital.

“My patients come in pregnant and they leave with a baby. That’s the best way to describe it,” says Larissa.

However, the transition from college student to full-time nurse hasn’t been as seamless as Larissa had hoped.

“Starting my career has been difficult because I feel like I’m trying to figure out a million things at once,” she says. Those million things include learning a charting system she’s never used before, remembering policies specific to her hospital and a long list of things to check for every patient. Larissa found that one of the best ways to take on her tasks is simply observing how others do it.

Larissa works closely with three nurses who take turns training her. “Everything always gets done,” she says, “but they go about it a little bit differently.” Seeing the nurses’ different methods for doing things gives Larissa the opportunity to decide for herself which practices are most effective and which ones aren’t. By taking the best practices together, Larissa will already have an efficient routine when she finishes her training.

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A Labor of Love (or a Love of Labor)

Since she sees people “at their worst” every day, Larissa has frequent opportunities to practice the Healer’s art and demonstrate compassion.

“The most important thing is to be kind and non-judgmental,” she says. “Besides the physical tasks of nursing, like hanging medications and taking vital signs, there is a side of nursing that’s about helping someone to heal emotionally and spiritually. It’s easy to forget that aspect, but remembering it is so important in helping people.”

It was out of a desire to help people that Larissa initially decided to become a nurse. She’s also fascinated with the human body and even watched ‘Untold Stories of the ER’ when she was younger.

“I was really lucky to be one of the few who knew what they wanted to do from the beginning,” she says. “I never had to change my major.”

Her passion for women’s health made labor and delivery a natural fit for Larissa. Of her experience in the L&D unit so far, she says, “I just love it, it’s amazing! And it never gets old. Every time I’m with a patient and am able to be there when she has her baby, it is 100 percent the coolest thing ever, every single time.”

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Reflections on Nursing School

Something Larissa wishes she would have done while still in school is work in a hospital part-time.

“I’ve noticed that my cohorts who worked as CNAs or phlebotomists or medical assistants in some aspect are much more comfortable with the way that hospitals and clinics run because they’ve been there. They’re already used to it, so when they graduate they’re just stepping up into a different role.”

Nevertheless, one of the most valuable experiences Larissa had at BYU was working as a TA in the simulation lab. Each semester she set up and administered simulation labs, as well as voiced the manikins during simulations.

“That helped me in so many ways,” Larissa explains, “I saw simulations several times, so now if I ever have a patient who shows certain signs and symptoms, I’ll remember what to do.” Her job also led to lasting friendships with faculty and peers.

When asked what she does for fun outside of work, Larissa laughed and said, “Sleeping.” Apparently, even after the stress of homework and finals are long gone, sleep is still a rare commodity.

Larissa doesn’t have all the answers and still isn’t sure what her future holds. However, she’s never forgotten what her capstone preceptor often said, “Larissa! Slow down. You don’t have to walk that fast.” This response to Larissa’s constant power-walking to and from patient rooms has become a mantra for her life. “Just slow down,” Larissa says, “It’s okay. Take a deep breath, everything is fine. Eat a snack if you need a snack. Take care of yourself and then go take care of others.”

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The Glory of Nursing

By Jonathan Schroeder

When people ask me what I do for work, I tell them that my job is to make nursing students look good. What I don’t tell them is that sometimes I wonder why they pay me to do it (or anyone else for that matter).

During my six months working for the college of nursing media team, I’ve met some extraordinary people. I’ve met a senior who somehow found time to study for anatomy midterms while prepping for a rugby national championship. I’ve chatted with an alumni mom who’s also a body-builder who can dead-lift twice my body weight and I’ve marveled at students who have graced the dancefloors with the likes of BYU Vocal Point and Studio C.

But probably the most baffling thing about all of this is that as awesome as these students are, not very many of them are willing to talk about it. Because in addition to being super smart, super involved, and super kind, most nursing students are also super humble and super modest. In other words, they don’t like to talk about themselves. This was easily the hardest and sometimes the most frustrating part of my job. Some days I’d feel like a detective, sleuthing for clues to new blog stories I could put up. Others days I felt like a police interrogator, trying to get nursing students to fess up to cool experiences they had. “But it’s nothing that special,” I’d hear time and time again.

(If you’re ever curious as to how I found out about the above-mentioned stories, let’s just say it’s amazing what you can find out from a five-minute conversation with the folks in the advisement center.)

Now I realize that not everyone likes broadcasting their story to the world and nobody likes being that one person who only talks about themselves. But I feel like there’s a way to be modest and still celebrate yourself.

Now before I get into this, I need to disclose something. I hate talking and writing about myself. I hate being interviewed and I’m my own worst critic. Fortunately, as a Communications major, I spend a lot more time writing other people’s stories instead my own, otherwise I’d be unemployed. So for those of you who don’t like “tooting your own horn,” please know that I’m more sympathetic to your cause than this article might make it sound. That being said, I wanted to share something with you that has changed my perspective about my own self-worth and accomplishments.

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In 1942, CS Lewis gave a famous sermon entitled “The Weight of Glory.” You might have heard it quoted in conference talks or BYU devotionals a few times. In the sermon, Lewis talks about how “glory,” specifically “desiring our own good and earnestly hoping for the enjoyment of it,” isn’t a bad thing.

A lot of times when we think about the word “glory”, we see it in a negative context of self-aggrandizement, of focusing only on ourselves and our own achievements. But in the closing remarks of his sermon, Lewis says that glory is not only a positive trait, but a divine one.

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“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship…All day long we are helping each other to this destination. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and circumspection proper to them that we should conduct all our dealings with one another…There are no ordinary people.”

Now it’s easy to take this quote and think about others; but how often do we apply this quote to ourselves? How often do we consider ourselves as a possible god or goddess? How often do we remember that, no matter how unimportant we feel our own contributions or actions may be, that “there are no ordinary people”? Furthermore, how often do we stop to consider how our own stories and experiences might inspire the potential gods and goddesses around us?

“Perfect humility, dispenses with modesty,” Lewis says. “If God is satisfied with the work, the work may be satisfied with itself.” Obviously there’s a point where recognizing our own accomplishments can turn humility into pride; but I would suggest (at least in the case of most Nursing/BYU students that I’ve met) that most of us tend to sell ourselves short more often than not.

Matthew 5: 14-16 says that, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

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Through my time working at the College of Nursing, I have become convinced that BYU Nursing students are among the brightest lights on this campus –not only to their fellow students at this University, but also to the world. Their stories have the potential to change lives and inspire others to come unto Christ, as they embody “The Healer’s Art.” My hope and prayer is that they will not only embrace this destiny, but that they will not be afraid to take a few moments to “glory” in the wonderful people that they are and the glorious beings they will become.

Do Angels Always Have Wings?

By Tracey B. Long (BS ’86) PhD, RN, MS, CDE, CNE, CCRN

Angels are thought of as having wings. But on Sunday, October 1, 2017, after a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival with 2,200 country music lovers at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, dozens of angels without wings known as nurses descended on Las Vegas wearing scrubs  and went into full action.

The two busy trauma centers of Las Vegas are Sunrise Hospital and University Medical Center Hospital. Both typically receive 20 trauma patients each day. However, after the call of “shots fired” was announced, each center treated over 250 patients with gunshot wounds and other surgical needs, totaling 527 wounded and 59 fatalities.

That Sunday evening, the two hospitals called in their off-duty surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nursing surgical teams and activated all their training and creative thinking to deal with the sheer volume of people flooding into their emergency departments. More than 100 physicians and nurses arrived, like angels swooping down to bring help and healing.

“We get these types of patients regularly, but maybe two at a time at most,” says Rhonda Davis, Sunrise Hospital trauma nurse. “All at once we had dozens of people who needed life-saving critical interventions at the same time. We went patient to patient as quickly as possible, trying to help save them. I wasn’t thinking; you just do.”

Teams usually have space in a completely stocked surgical room for trauma cases, but in this case many were processed in hallways with makeshift supplies stretched thin for the hundreds being treated.

“It wasn’t an ER of screaming. There was calmness because people were being taken care of,” says Dorita Sondereker, RN, director of emergency services for Sunrise Hospital. “The patients kept rolling in, and we were just trying to find placement for everybody.”

The angels even included the patients themselves, who were seen holding each other’s hands and declining care for themselves, saying, “Take care of those who are hurt worse. I’m good.”

Thea Parish, a junior nursing student from Nevada State College, was working at the time as a pharmacy technician. “Ever since I started nursing school, the human race has been declining and hating on each other,” says Parish. “I was debating whether I wanted to be a nurse, but when I looked around, I was like, this is what it’s about: saving people. We were the helpers. That was the most memorable moment. Yeah, there was a lot of trauma happening, but at the same moment humanity was happening, and it was amazing.”

Sometimes the angel nurses were there to heal and save lives, and sometimes they were there to bring news to grieving families of a fallen loved one. Nurses heal on both sides of the veil of mortality.

One of the first fatalities in the shooting was a nurse, Sonny Melton, who sacrificed his own life as he protected his wife from gunshots. Other nurses not related to the trauma centers, including dozens of nursing students, responded the next morning by standing in line for four hours to donate blood.

“I felt helpless not being able to assist in the hospitals where the victims were, but I could help other people in my corner of the world,” said a nurse working at another hospital. “We’re all connected, and if people are hurting, that’s where nurses want to be to help them heal.”

There is more good in the world than any one evil man. There are more angels among us than we recognize, and that brings peace. Not all angels have wings; many wear gloves and a stethoscope.

Tracey Long is a nursing instructor for the College of Southern Nevada, and director of clinical education at HealthCare Partners, a DaVita Medical Group. She also serves as a BYU alumni regional director assisting university alumni chapters in the Southwest.

Alumni responding to Crisis: When Disaster Struck, BYU Nursing Alumni Answered the Call

The two historic storms slammed into the Southeast coast of United States within mere weeks of each other. The National Weather Service called Hurricane Harvey “unprecedented.”

According to CNN, Harvey dropped an estimated 27 trillion gallons of rain over the course of six days and left a third of Houston, Texas, flooded. Irma was the strongest hurricane to hit Florida in over a decade, dumping more than 10 inches of rain and leaving nearly three-quarters of the state in the dark. Because of the impacts of these storms, the 2017 hurricane season may be the most expensive in US history.

During these hard times of destruction and uncertainty, many people stepped in to help combat the devastating effects of the hurricanes. Among them were BYU College of Nursing alumni.

The Damage

“I was shocked by the impact [of the hurricanes],” says Paige Newman Dayhuff (BS ’16), who lives in the northern Houston area of Conroe. “Along some roads, every house was gutted, and the first floor was bare to the wood framing.”

Dayhuff saw firsthand much of the damage, particularly when officials released water from an upstream dam to prevent it from bursting. Officials told the Wall Street Journal that in Houston alone, at least 136,000 buildings were flooded during Harvey’s rampage.

“The freeways, both northbound and southbound from us, were blocked by water,” she says. “In some low-lying areas, the water had risen over fifteen feet and flooded the freeway entrances and exits. My home as never flooded, but houses about five minutes from us were.”

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Kimberly Coleby Ethington (BS ’99) of Tomboll, Texas, was working at the hospital when Hurricane Harvey first hit.

“I was up on the seventh floor of a NICU/nursery unit,” Ethington says. “We listened to the rain and wind all night. I was told to pack a bag just in case the roads would not be passable to make it back home.”

Ethington did manage to get home, but her neighborhood flooded soon after, preventing her from returning to the hospital for several days. Her coworkers at the hospital fared little better.

“Basically whoever was at the hospital Saturday morning stayed until the following Tuesday or Wednesday trapped at the hospital and flooded in,” she says. “Through the tornado warnings, all babies and parents were moved to one inside hallway and triage room. One floor of the hospital that had not been in use was made available during the storm and up to two weeks after for families of workers who had no place to go. We called it Hotel Harvey.”

Oncology nurse Joanne Grant Dortch’s (AS ’84) own place of work was hard hit as well. “Our clinic lost power for a week, and I was stranded at my house in Kingwood during that time due to flooding,” she says.

The Job

One of the main ways in which BYU nursing alumni responded to the hurricanes was continuing to work as nurses.

The Wednesday following Harvey’s initial landfall, the roads were clearer, and Ethington returned to the hospital to work the night shift as a recovery nurse. The hospital had also flown in several nurses from out of state to address the massive needs that Harvey created.

“I worked several nights in a row and some days on my floor until things got back to normal over the week,” Ethington says. “We did have one baby that could have been discharged earlier, but her parents’ home had been flooded, and we weren’t going to send a preemie to a hotel, so we let the family stay a few extra days rooming in.”

“When we were able to get out onto the roads and to another clinic that wasn’t affected by Harvey, we called all of our patients to check on them, do whatever we could to help, and get them back on their chemo schedules,” says Dortch. “These patients become our friends, and we love them. We were worried about their white cells, red cells, and platelets being low, we worried about pain, infection, having nowhere to live in some cases, and so many other things.”

The Cleanup

Following Harvey, many members in wards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rallied to assist in the cleanup. Dayhuff’s ward was one of them.

“Members of our congregation responded immediately to flooded houses, organizing groups to help with people’s homes in the area,” Dayhuff says. “We probably spent about three weeks cleaning out houses, with some people working for up to ten hours every day.”

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Tricia Bunderson (BS ’09)

She explained that members were divided into teams that would help gut homes and help the owners clean. They wore masks to prevent inhaling mold spores or other contaminants. They frequently would walk to the neighbors’ houses right after to offer assistance.

“Sheetrock, furniture, appliances, anything on the first level that had been in the water had to be discarded,” she says. “We piled the waste on the sides of the road. I was just in awe of the number of homes affected. It’s not like a fire, where one or two houses are burned, but whole neighborhoods that were destroyed. I had never been part of a natural disaster, and it was overwhelming to think of all the people affected.”

Throughout all these experiences, BYU nursing alumni proved that the Healer’s art could be practiced anywhere, be it in the hospital or a house ruined by flooding.

“For about three consecutive Sundays we had condensed church meetings, gathering for only an hour and dispersing to cleaning out homes right after,” Dayhuff says. “I loved gathering in our jeans and yellow Mormon Helping Hands shirts—there was just such a feeling of willingness to serve and anticipation for being able to help others.”

As a nurse, Dayhuff also served as a “handwashing enforcer” at the sites. She later worked sorting out deliveries of supplies at a donation zone in a converted steel manufacturing warehouse. She says she was overwhelmed by the charity and love displayed by people.

“We had truckloads of donations arriving hourly—food, hygiene supplies, bedding, so many clothes, cleaning supplies, baby products, books, toys. We had everything pouring in,” she says. “After a week of organizing, we opened the facility to those needing the supplies. The flood victims came through with shopping carts and were able to take what they needed according to the number of people in their family. Many of the people had lost everything. I felt so blessed to see their reaction when they received the donations. I wish those who had sent the donations could have seen the gratitude and humility on those people’s faces!”

“Today I got my chance to go help for a few hours,” says Tricia Terry Bunderson (BS ’09). “It was hot. It was smelly. The mold was already setting in. But I’ve never been so happy to get my hands dirty and help strangers who have lost so much.”

Bunderson’s family realizes that the amount of cleanup and rebuilding to be done is daunting, but they know that it takes one day at a time for the city to recover.

“I’ve seen grocery stores stocking shelves as fast as humanly possible, nurses working even though their own homes have been flooded, and oil workers pulling long shifts to get the plants up and running again. This teamwork really pulls at my heart. I am in awe of the hardworking, selfless, and brave people of Houston. We truly are #hoUStonstrong.”

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Sometimes circumstances prevented BYU alumni from being able to work in the cleanup, but their family members attended. The experiences taught them lessons about gratitude.

Amy Culter Benson (BS ’00) lives in Haslet, Texas, almost six hours’ drive time from where Harvey hit. Her husband, an LDS bishop, brought sixty members of their congregation to the cleanup efforts at the invitation of an Area Seventy. Benson had a nursing baby and was unable to go with the crews, but she prepared supplies, babysat kids, and packed lunches.

“They left before dawn on Saturday morning and drove five hours to Port Arthur. They tore down sheetrock, ripped out carpet, removed furniture, clothing, toys, and appliances,” Benson says. “Dave, my husband, felt the words to several LDS hymns they sang in sacrament meeting were especially powerful—‘Because I Have Been Given Much,’ ‘Come, Follow Me,’ and ‘Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel.’ It was a powerful experience to be part of a huge cleanup effort like that.”

Ethington found herself in a similar situation.

“As I worked the night shift those first few days when people started cleaning up, my teenagers during the day went out to serve,” she says “They helped families in the neighborhoods close by that we knew at first. The weeks after we joined Helping Hand crews to help muck out homes further away. It was a memorable experience for our family.”

Some of the College of Nursing’s other Helping Hands volunteers were Rachel Camille Stewart (BS ’00) and her family. Although the Stewarts’ home in Augusta, Georgia, is more than 100 miles from the coast, the Stewarts have already helped clean up after five hurricanes, sometimes spending as much as eight hours traveling to reach impacted areas. Like Benson, Stewart has usually stayed at home with the kids while her husband and two teenage sons have gone to work clearing debris and fallen trees.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma—just two weeks after Stewart’s husband was called to be a bishop—an Area Seventy asked for volunteers to serve in inundated Jacksonville, Florida, which experienced its worst flooding in almost 100 years.

Stewart says their story is not unique. For years, many of their LDS neighbors have also answered the call to help in areas across the Southeast.

“The blessings of laboring in the service of others brings such joy that the youth in our area jump at the chance to participate,” Stewart explains. “Even though the work is long and difficult, the people served are always so grateful for the cheerful service provided. Truly it is a blessing to be able to literally and figuratively lift the burdens of our brothers and sisters in need.”

Steven Tibbitts, Jonathan Schroeder, and Jeff L. Peery contributed to the research and writing of this article.

Mentored Learning 101

When BYU student Kielee Wiser (BS’ 17) entered the College of Nursing, she set important goals that would lead to her playing a pivotal role in a major research study that not only advanced scientific understanding, but also prepared her for her career as a nurse.

“When I started in the nursing program, I had a couple of goals for myself, one of them being to become involved in some form of research,” she says. As part of achieving this aim, she took a research class taught by assistant professor Dr. Neil Peterson. When the semester ended, she joined Peterson’s research team.

Peterson’s research project centered on testing the accuracy of fitness trackers like the Apple Watch and Fitbit. As part of the team, Wiser found herself taking on responsibilities that helped her expand her research skill-set.

“My role in this project was to collect the data,” she says. “I promoted the study on campus, met with participants, ensured they understood the study and their role, and later processed the data on a statistical software.  This process took a little less than a year and was something I was continually working on with Neil.”

Each student on the research team had a specific device they were in charge of testing. In addition to being responsible for the Apple Watch, Wiser was also responsible for large portions of the project as a whole.

“She really was the project manager,” Peterson explains. ““Anything that she felt like she could do I just let her take on that responsibility. She met with the participants, entered data, and met with other research assistants to help make sure that they had everything that they needed. Some of my research assistants either graduated or went on study abroad during the spring term, so she picked up for them. She really did a lot of work and made it happen.”

Peterson’s research team is a classic example of mentored learning. Peterson set the overall goals of the project and gave important advice while the students, including Wiser, carried out the project.

The students felt like Peterson was constantly available and willing to help.

“Dr. Peterson was very helpful when I, or any of my fellow research assistants, had any questions,” Wiser says. “He provided specific instructions that were easy to follow.  He placed a lot of trust in me, which made me feel like I was an integral role in this study.”

Overall, the study found that the devices were generally accurate, however, there were differences between which aspects of the devices was most valued by each gender. Men tended to like the technological features, while women wanted to make sure the device looked good.

Aside from impressive project results, one of the most important conclusions reached through the research was that the students were capable of achieving great things with a little help.

“I learned more about the process of research and also became more passionate about promoting exercise,” Wiser says, “It was helpful to understand all aspects of the research process, as well as what I could potentially do in my future career.”

Volunteers at BYU Craft 301 Yarn Wigs for Children Battling Cancer

By Calvin Petersen

More than 500 people sacrificed sleep and St. Patrick’s Day plans to make yarn wigs for child cancer patients at the Magic Yarn Project’s largest-ever wig workshop. Co-hosted by the Magic Yarn Project and BYU College of Nursing, the event on March 17 was the second workshop of its kind.

“No one leaves these workshops without a smile on their face or without feeling like their simple act of love will make the world a better place. I love being able to witness that in their countenances,” said Holly Christensen, BYU alumna and co-founder of the Magic Yarn Project.

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The Magic Yarn Project began in 2015 when Christensen crafted a yarn Rapunzel wig for her friend’s daughter, who had lost much of her hair in chemotherapy. Now three years later, the Magic Yarn Project has made the world a better place for over 7,000 children battling cancer in 36 countries. Each of these children has received a hand-made princess or pirate yarn wig at no cost. Wigs take approximately two hours to make and are crafted by volunteers at wig workshops.

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Wig workshop volunteers pose with 301 completed wigs after the service event on March 17, 2018.

“It was a huge success!” Christensen said of this year’s BYU wig workshop. While most of the wigs will be distributed by BYU nursing students during their clinicals at Primary Children’s Hospital, Ryver had the chance to choose her wig in person. She wore an Anna wig and a wide smile as her mother pushed her around the Wilkinson Ballroom in a stroller. Not even three years old, Ryver was diagnosed with leukemia only a few months ago.

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“It was heart-warming to see Princess Ryver light up when she got her wig, and equally rewarding to see her mother get excited about picking out a wig with her. Ryver’s presence definitely made the workshop memorable and was a sweet reminder that this is what the project is all about,” said Christensen. For her, the experience of personally gifting a wig was rare; most wigs are mailed to individuals and cancer centers around the world.

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The wig workshop at BYU brought the community together. Among the hundreds of volunteers knotting, braiding and decorating yarn hairpieces was 17-year-old Connor Munden. His grandmother’s involvement in the Magic Yarn Project Utah Chapter inspired an Eagle Scout Service Project to prepare for BYU’s workshop. Along with family and friends, Connor cut most of the yarn—thousands of feet of it—that eventually became 301 completed wigs.

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In addition, students from BYU and members of the Magic Yarn Project Utah Chapter volunteered to teach those coming to the workshop how to make various wigs. “This event helped me realize there are lots of different ways to serve those with cancer,” said Maggie Gunn, a BYU nursing student and wig instructor at the workshop, “We may not be able to cure their cancer, but we can provide comfort and love which, in my opinion, is just as important as the chemo.”

“With the Magic Yarn Project, there’s something for everyone,” concluded BYU nursing student Jessica Small, “Whether bedazzling flowers or tying yarn to a wig, people of all ages can come together and make a difference in the lives of so many children.”

Next year’s BYU wig workshop will take place on March 16, 2019. To learn more about the Magic Yarn Project, visit www.themagicyarnproject.com.

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“Everyone knows someone who has struggled with cancer: a family member, friend, patient or ward member. While we can’t cure someone’s cancer, we can help, comfort and love them. Making these wigs is a way to show child cancer patients that they’re loved,” said Jane Goodfellow, a fourth-semester BYU nursing student. Goodfellow (right) is pictured with fellow nursing student Leah Guerrero (left). The two volunteered as instructors at the wig workshop.

 

 

Sister Barbara Perry; BYU Alumni Come Together for Largest-Ever Night of Nursing Event

For the past five years, the Night of Nursing event has been one of the most highly-anticipated events of the year for nursing students and alumni alike. This year was no exception. Two weeks ago, more than 400 BYU alumni across the country came together to network, reminisce, and hear from former BYU nursing faculty member, Sister Barbara Perry. With participants at 40 different locations across the country tuning in to hear Sister Perry’s remarks, this year’s event was easily the largest Night of Nursing event in the history of the College.

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Alumni in Tucson, AZ gather for the Night of Nursing Broadcast. Also pictured above is the Mesa, AZ Night of Nursing Event.

“Nursing and nurses have had a role in my life since it began,” Sister Perry shared.

Many alumni may not have been aware that Sister Perry is actually a distinguished nursing professional. A graduate of the LDS Hospital School of Nursing, Sister Perry spent 15 years at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City. During her time there, she eventually became the head nurse of a busy Labor and Delivery unit that averaged 500 deliveries per month (about 17 babies per day).

“Because of my preparation and experience in labor and delivery, it was always a special blessing to be there with family and friends, as new life came,” she recalled. “It never became routine and it was always a thrill.”

After more than a decade at LDS Hospital, Sister Perry accepted a teaching position at her alma mater, where she taught associate-level nursing courses for four years. During this time, she met and married Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

“I will be forever grateful for my nursing education and experience that allowed me to provide the necessary care for my dearest patients,” Sister Perry said. In the years following her marriage, Sister Perry not only used her nursing skills to care for her late husband but also her parents, who required extensive care during the final years of their lives.

“I wish you success in your careers as nurses, for those who are already nurses and for those who are becoming,” she concluded. “It’s a great profession, it gives you a lot of opportunities for different work experiences, different time shifts and it will bless your lives. I pray that you will go forward and enjoy and appreciate the blessings of such a profession.

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Students and alumni in Houston, TX gather to hear Sis. Perry’s remarks. The Houston event was one of 40 locations that participated in the Night of Nursing.

A full recording of Sister Perry’s remarks is available on the BYU College of Nursing Facebook Page