Category Archives: Beth Luthy

The Valor Award: Serving Our Heroes

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Julie Minson is honored to receive this year’s Valor Award for future nurse practitioners. Photo courtesy of Minson.

By Quincey Taylor

Serving others that have given so much in honor of this country is a privilege that only select nurses get to enjoy. Some of these nurses are alumna Emily Lance Santillan (’19) and current nursing graduate student Julie Minson, both of whom received the Valor Award during their respective times in the nursing program, the first during her bachelor’s and the second during her time as a graduate student.

The Valor Award is a great opportunity for students that want to learn skills in a specialized environment. Given to students at differing times in their education, the Valor Award is modified to best help recipients at their current point of training. Undergraduate students have the opportunity to work at the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, mimicking a paid internship, while graduate students can use the hours gained at the VA towards becoming a nurse practitioner.

Surrounded by experienced nurses and guided by their preceptors, Santillan and Minson readily cared for a population that is in need of their love and attention.

Emily’s Experience

The Nursing VA Learning Opportunity Residency (VALOR) Program is for outstanding students who have completed their junior year of an accredited baccalaureate nursing program and may be interested in a nursing career in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Under the guidance of a VA registered nurse preceptor, VALOR students have opportunities for clinical practice and competencies in a nursing specialty area. The student will also complete an independent, problem-focused, clinical project.

Santillan was so grateful for the experience she had at the VA. She says, “It was a huge growing and learning experience. My confidence as a nurse just skyrocketed. From the beginning to the end, I feel like I was ready to graduate and be a nurse, like the next day if I could.”

She felt that this chance to learn was different than other opportunities that she’d had. She continues, “Sometimes during clinical, it gets you close, but not quite to that point where you are on your own. At VA, I felt like I could do most things independently for the whole day. I could do charting, meds, interventions, everything. That was invaluable for me to have that confidence.”

Santillan was inspired to apply for the Valor Award after doing clinical at the VA with assistant professor Dr. Julie Valentine during her third semester. She loved the experience and decided to apply that next summer. The application process for her was almost like any other job interview, and she was thrilled when she was selected.

That summer, she worked almost full time in order to achieve 400 working hours by the start of fall semester. If she wanted to return to work there now after graduation, it would be a relatively simple process.

Santillan is grateful for her time at BYU and says, “It stretched me a lot and challenged me a lot, but was very rewarding. I feel like if you’re comfortable, you’re not growing. You’ve got to get out of your comfort zone and grow… I know I’m a completely different person. I know I’ve improved so much since when I started at BYU.”

Since completion of her Bachelor’s degree, Santillan has had a baby, and hopes to return to nursing in the fall.

Julie’s Experience

The VA funded learning opportunity for nurse practitioner student clinical training is reserved for graduate DNP and MSN students interested in a nursing career in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Their working hours gained at the VA can go towards their clinical hours to become a nurse practitioner.

“This award actually came as a great surprise to me,” she remarks. She had been thinking about where she wanted to work when she was done with school, and the VA came to mind. She applied to their internship program, where she will be doing her capstone. She was thrilled when she was selected to participate.

She says, “I had been talking to associate professor Dr. Beth Luthy about how excited I was about applying and how I was looking forward to how rigorous the training is, and the growth I will have there.  They see lots of complex patients with complex problems and I know that I will learn so much.”

Unbeknownst to Minson, Luthy nominated her for the Valor Award and she was chosen! She says, “I was humbled and also very grateful to receive this award. I have always loved the elderly.  I started out as a CNA in high school and worked at rest homes and doing home health care with the geriatric population to get through my undergraduate. I also love the grandmas of my ward and love sitting with them.  I’ve always loved their deep well of knowledge and life experiences; they have a deep reservoir of love for their fellowmen because of what life has taught them. Taking care of an aging body with such a deep and wonderful heart can be a challenge, and it’s one I’m looking forward to.”

Coming back to school at 40 years old with three children was not easy for Minson, but she has enjoyed every minute. She says, “I’ve been blown away by how much each professor is individually interested in me and my learning.  This is a topnotch program and if you’re thinking about becoming a nurse practitioner then BYU is the best choice!”

She wants to give a special thanks to Luthy and associate teaching professor Dr. Blaine Winters for their confidence in her and nominating her.

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BYU Nursing Boasts Seven Champions in Washington DC

ShotatLife4BYU’s Shot@Life champions meet with congressman Ben McAdams in Washington DC.

By Corbin Smith

We love to imagine what we would do if we were gifted a million dollars. If you had a million dollars, what would you do? Would you share it or keep it for yourself? How would you use that gift to make a difference?

Even though associate professor Dr. Beth Luthy and assistant teaching professor Lacey Eden don’t have a million dollars, they do have another powerful tool that has helped them make a difference in the world: their voices. Their own passions have led to them to unite their voices with a global health program called Shot@Life.

Shot@Life is part of the United Nations Foundation. Its purpose is to ensure that all kids, wherever they may be in the world, gets access to the vaccinations they need to have a healthy childhood. They work with organizations like UNICEF, the World Health Organization and the Vaccine Alliance to help them in their goal for global health.

Luthy, Eden and five graduate students—Dan Smith, Virginia Jeffries, Emily Richards, Katie Bates and Deborah Gibbons—have all been named Shot@Life champions. Shot@Life champions are, according to their website, “individuals who are dedicating their voice, time, and support to stand up for children in developing countries.” They were selected as champions by the United Nations Foundation and were invited to attend the champions summit in Washington DC last February.

Shot@Life receives its funding in two major ways: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the US government. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donates millions of dollars each year to the program in support of global health. The Shot@Life program’s goal each year is to convince congress to match the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s donation by renewing global health funding. This is where the Shot@Life champions come in.

The three days spent in Washington DC at the champions summit are to teach and persuade congressman from your state to vote in favor of continuing global health funding. For Eden, Luthy and their students, it was an exciting time to meet with politicians and prepare to teach them the benefits of global health.

For the BYU group, the first day was spent meeting in groups made up of champions from each state, finalizing research and learning how to give an effective and powerful sales pitch to a congressman. Day two is all about the presentations. Messages are refined and glossy handouts are passed out as the champions from each state present to their state’s congressman. After a successful day presenting, the final day in DC was for debriefing.

All those who attended the summit felt like they had done something positive for the world. “I really feel like I am making a difference,” says Luthy, “It feels so good to be a part of something that helps so many people worldwide.”

Due to the hard work of the champions, Shot@Life has been crucial in helping get vaccinations to the places people need them the most, slowly ridding the world of many terrible diseases. According to the WHO, in 2018 only 33 cases of Polio were found, compared to 350,000 in 1988.

Even with all their success, the end goal for the Shot@Life program is to eradicate all fatal and avoidable diseases from the world. “We live in a world where most of these diseases are completely preventable,” says Luthy, “and we have to do everything we can to stop the suffering.” Thanks to the dedication and passion of Luthy, Eden and Shot@Life champions all over the nation, that goal is in reach.

It is easy to get involved with the Shot@Life program! Visit shotatlife.org to find out how you can get involved and help every child around the world have their own shot at life.

 

Getting Involved: BYU Graduate Students Help to Pass Bill at Utah State Legislature

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Students Libby Willmore (left), Charlie Rowberry (center), and Julie Palmieri (right) lobbying at the state capitol.

By Quincey Taylor

When you think of a House of Representatives or a state legislature, what kind of people do you imagine there? Perhaps middle-aged men in tailored suits? Well, first year BYU graduate nursing students Libby Willmore, Charlie Rowberry, and Julie Palmieri are breaking that stereotype. These students were not afraid to stand up and work towards making changes that will directly affect them after graduation.

These motivated students had the chance to assist associate professor Dr. Beth Luthy – who is also the Legislative Chair for the Utah Association of Nurse Practitioners – in lobbying House Bill 336 in the Utah State Legislature. Getting a bill passed is a long and difficult process, but these students were up to the challenge as they were led by their stalwart professor.

 

Why was House Bill 336 created?

A nurse practitioner’s scope of practice, or what they’re allowed to do, is dictated by every individual state. There are no national guidelines or regulations. As a result, some states choose to allow NPs to practice full authority within the NP scope of practice, while other states extremely limit what NPs can do. Many times these restrictive states require by law for NPs to be under the direction of a physician at all times.

Utah’s laws fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. For example, when NPs in Utah graduate, they are subject to the Consultation and Referral Plan (CRP) which requires them to be under the direction of a physician for the first two years or 2,000 hours of practice when prescribing controlled substances.

When a physician opts to be responsible for an NP, he signs a mandated document that many physicians charge NPs thousands of dollars to receive.

While originally written to more closely regulate the prescriptions of opiates and other dangerous substances, these laws have evolved to a rule that ties the hands of newly graduated nurse practitioners and requires them to pay thousands of dollars for a piece of paper that likely will sit in a filing cabinet until they reach two years of practice or 2,000 clinical hours, whichever comes first.

This was also a problem because nurses could easily avoid these charges if they simply chose to move to a state that doesn’t require them, thus driving nurses away from Utah practices.

 

What happened when House Bill 336 was implemented?

After working with legislators and coming to a common agreement, HB 336 was passed. The law was changed to require newly graduated NPs to have a CRP only for the first year or 2,000 hours of practice if opening their own clinic. They also changed who could give out a CRP mandated document, now allowing other senior NPs in the field to act as their referral.

This will now be friendlier to small practices opened up by nurse practitioners, allowing them to hire employees without the need for physician supervision. They can practice more easily in rural areas where there might not be a surplus of physicians.

Changing the law will also save new NPs thousands of dollars they might have paid to physicians in past years.

 

Why were these students interested in participating?

These laws would have affected any nursing student that decided to stay in Utah after graduation. This was something that personally motivated Willmore to get involved. She said she became interested in helping when “Professor Luthy was talking about her work at the capitol building during class and mentioned that she could use some help. I figured that working with law makers to change practice regulations for nurse practitioners will directly affect me when I graduate so I better get in there and help out.”

These students were active participants in Luthy’s legislative committee and personally lobbied to gain support to pass the bill. They dutifully participated, coming up to the capitol multiple times a week during the campaign.

Luthy is so proud of the efforts of these students and says, “All three of those students were fully engaged. Every day they were up at the capitol. They were lobbying. They were attending committee meetings. They testified in committee hearings. I mean, it was completely amazing.” She is looking forward to future developments to progress the cause of nurse practitioners.

Introducing New BYU College of Nursing Program Directors

By Quincey Taylor

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Changes to the staff of the BYU College of Nursing were made this fall semester, bringing new insights to the established positions. Associate teaching professor Dr. Peggy Anderson has replaced associate teaching professor Debra Mills as the undergraduate program director, and associate professor Dr. Beth Luthy has replaced associate professor Dr. Donna Freeborn as the graduate program director. We want to introduce Anderson and Luthy as well as thank Mills and Freeborn for their years of devoted service in these positions.

Peggy Anderson

In an office adorned with photos of the Savior and family members, Dr. Peggy Anderson keeps her priorities in mind every day. Anderson is one of the tenured members of the faculty, having worked in the College of Nursing for a total of 14 years. She loves working with the students, and when she was invited to take the position as the new undergraduate program director, she happily accepted. Although it sometimes seems overwhelming, Anderson is ready and willing to bring new insights into the important position.

When asked about her 35-year career in the healthcare industry, Anderson laughs, “I’ve been around the block a few times.” She did not originally consider going into nursing when she was a student at BYU; her dream was to work with special ed children. However, she was influenced by her father, with whom she had a close relationship, to consider nursing. Anderson’s mother, sister and grandmother had all been nurses and her father saw the work ethic required for the field. He knew that Anderson had that same work ethic and that she could excel as a nurse if she wanted to. She ended up following his advice and graduated from BYU with a nursing degree. She fulfilled her dream of working with children and went into pediatrics. Anderson’s true passion for nursing lies with patient care. She loves to serve those that are suffering as well as their families.

This love for serving others has translated perfectly into her educational career. In many ways, teaching is a form of service to the younger generations. Recently, Anderson ran into one of her past students with whom she did clinicals. It was fun for them to reconnect because of the personal relationship sparked in their time working together. While Anderson strives to have a professional attitude during clinicals, she comments, “You can’t help but get to know each other really well.” Anderson expresses excitement to continue working with the bright students in the program and mentions, “they are always in my prayers.”

Debra Mills

Debra Mills is stepping down as the undergraduate program director, but that does not mean that you won’t be seeing her around. She is reassuming her full-time faculty position and will be solely teaching once more. When asked how she feels about handing the position over to Anderson, she says, “I know I am leaving it in capable hands.”

Mills first considered going into nursing when she was talking with a neighbor who was a nurse in the Navy. This neighbor liked her and thought she had the characteristics needed for the medical field. Mills applied to the nursing program at Rick’s, got in, and came to work in Salt Lake City after graduation. After three years working, she achieved her goal of getting a job at Primary Children’s Hospital in 1978.

Her first experience teaching was at the Salt Lake Community College, where she was the program coordinator. She helped to write the associate degree RN program for accreditation there. After all that experience, Mills had a lot to offer once she was hired at BYU. She has been teaching and working here for 17 years. Her favorite part has been being so closely involved with the curriculum used in every course. She truly knows all the ins and outs of every nursing class. She also has loved working with students and putting them at ease if they were ever worried about something.

When asked about how it has been working with such a fantastic team of faculty, she says, “I appreciate them. I appreciate their support, when they let me know if they need something or if I can be of help. I just appreciate them.” There is no doubt that faculty feel the same way for her, and want to thank her for all her years of dedicated service.

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Beth Luthy

Barefoot and cozy in her office, Dr. Beth Luthy helps master’s students feel at ease as the newly appointed graduate coordinator. Although she is heartbroken that Donna is retiring, Luthy is excited to get to work with the students and feels that she has something unique to offer in this position.

Luthy did not plan to become a nurse at first; however, she was inspired to start learning the Healer’s art when her first son was born with a liver abnormality. He ended up getting a liver transplant early on and was very sick for the first five years of his life. Luthy sometimes felt frustrated because she would listen to the medical staff discuss her son’s condition, and she did not understand what they were saying. “It was like another language,” she says. It was then that she decided to go to nursing school to become a better advocate for her suffering child. She wanted to give a voice to the voiceless and be her son’s informed supporter.

This pattern of advocating for the weak has continued throughout her career. Luthy became a school nurse for a number of years. She fell in love with the job and enjoyed interacting with the children. However, she became a little exasperated when she realized that for many she was the only line of defense in their healthcare. They did not have insurance and therefore did not receive the care they needed. This inspired her to go back to school in order to treat these kids herself. She decided to go to Nurse Practitioner School at BYU in 2005. There she got a Bachelor’s in Community Health Education.

Her heart always remained in the education system, and she applied for a position teaching in the undergraduate program at BYU. Before applying, Luthy was uncertain if this job was the path she should follow. However, one day while she was taking her kids to soccer practice, she received an undeniable prompting that she was meant to teach at BYU. “It was so strong,” she says, “I just kind of sat there dumbfounded, taking in that moment. It was a revelatory moment.” Luthy got the job and began teaching.

Luthy learned about the position opening as the graduate coordinator from Dr. Donna Freeborn, who in many ways was her mentor. When asked about how she feels as the new graduate coordinator, Luthy replied, “If I could look 13 years into the future, I never would have thought that I would be here.” She knows the students are capable of amazing things and looks forward to holding them to that standard.

Donna Freeborn

Dr. Donna Freeborn is retiring after a full 20 years working in the College of Nursing. Freeborn has even taught multiple current faculty members when they were students, therefore influencing the future of the nursing program. We will miss her and are grateful for the legacy of service she has left. She truly has left a mark on the nursing program and the students who have passed through it.

Freeborn started her nursing career in Med/Surge, eventually going on a service mission to Hong Kong. Her passion was with labor and delivery, inspiring her to get a master’s degree and become a midwife. After a few years of experience, Freeborn saw an ad in the church news for someone to come to BYU and teach labor and delivery. She applied on a whim, uncertain if they would be interested in having her. She was hired, however, and began teaching in the undergraduate program for the following three years. After that, she taught in the nurse practitioner program for 17 years. When asked about how she felt leaving the field to come teach at BYU, she says, “I really liked the patients, that was my biggest thing, and I thought I would miss that when I came to teach. But the students filled that gap.”

Freeborn has absolutely loved teaching and focusing on the Savior, commenting, “Teaching and nursing are very similar in a lot of ways. In nursing, we talk about learning the Healer’s art and in education, we focus on becoming like the Master Teacher. Well, we’re talking about the same person.” She has learned to see people how the Savior would. She says, “You have to look at people like human beings. They have all aspects of their lives intertwined and we need to be understanding.”

Freeborn expresses her gratitude to all her coworkers and students, but at the same time she is excited for a relaxing retirement. When asked about her future plans, she says, “I’m building a cabin in Mount Pleasant.” The faculty wants to wish her luck in retirement and hopes she visits often.

 

Beth Luthy Devotional, “The Faith to do His Will”

By Mindy Longhurst

01a1ca7b-5a69-46a9-a05c-81586b985105_3ccde869-4abe-4011-aa71-e012667472b0_1280x720Image of Beth Luthy speaking at the devotional. Photo Credit: BYUTV

On Tuesday, June 12, 2018, nursing associate professor Dr. Beth Luthy gave a devotional speech to the campus of Brigham Young University. Her speech was entitled, “The Faith to do His Will.” Luthy started her devotional by explaining that this life is a journey. Sometimes this journey is great when we are, “on the mountaintop, but we can’t stay on the mountaintop for long.” Most of our lives will be spent in the valley, going through hardships and struggling to make an uphill climb.

Jesus Christ sacrificed and suffered so much so that we could have someone to help us through life. The Savior constantly gave up His will and turned it over to the Father. But, turning our will over to God can sometimes be very difficult. Even in the scriptures, it describes how Jesus struggled with performing the Atonement. Luthy quoted Luke 22:42, which reads “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” In that moment, the Savior completely turned his will over to God.

BYU Comms Beth DevoBeth Luthy and her grandson. Photo Credit: BYU Communications

Luthy then told a captivating story about the medical journey of her son Michael. When Luthy was 19 years old, she gave birth to Michael. He was born with a medical condition that made it difficult for his liver to function properly. Through months of doctor visits, tests, hospitals and surgeries, “God was good”, and he was able to overcome this and other medical issues.

Then, out of nowhere, a life threatening infection plagued Michael’s body. His heart rate dropped significantly and his body was holding on to life. The doctors had to perform surgery to help him live. Right before the surgery, Luthy’s husband was giving Michael a priesthood blessing. During this blessing, Luthy’s husband turned over his will to God. He prayed and blessed that if Michael was needed back Home that he would be able to accept God’s will. A few moments later, Luthy also turned her will over to God. This was not something that was easy to do. This experience brought them closer to God. Right after they both turned their wills over to God, the surgeons and medical personnel brought Michael back. For some miraculous reason, Michael no longer needed surgery and was able to eventually return back home healthy.

Luthy then explained that God gives us experiences to use for our good. This can be used to strengthen us or be used to help others. It takes faith to ask for God’s help. It takes even more faith to turn over your will to God. As you take the steps to trust Him, you will learn that “God is good.”

To listen to the devotional, please visit https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/beth-luthy_the-faith-to-do-his-will/?M=A.