Category Archives: College of Nursing Faculty

College Begins Recognition of DAISY Honorees

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Sage Williams (left), Dean Patty Ravert, and Julie Valentine.

The BYU College of Nursing has partnered with the DAISY Foundation to begin a new tradition and recognize an extraordinary nursing faculty and student each semester. Last October we were pleased to recognize assistant professor Dr. Julie Valentine with the first DAISY Faculty Award and Sage Williams as the DAISY In Training Award recipient.

The DAISY Foundation (an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System) was established in 1999 by the family of Patrick Barnes, as a way to honor him after he died of complications of the auto-immune disease ITP. Pat’s family created the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses to honor registered nurses who make a difference in the lives of patients and families experiences in healthcare (some of our alumni have received this distinction).

The DAISY Faculty Award provides national recognition and appreciation to nursing faculty for their commitment and inspirational influence on their students. The DAISY Student In Training Award is designed to remind students, even on their toughest days in nursing school, why they want to be a nurse.

Each January and September, the College of Nursing will accept nominations at nursing.byu.edu of a nursing professor or student that reflects compassion and exemplifies the Healer’s art. Recognition occurs at the college’s professionalism conference in February and the scholarly works and contribution to the discipline conference in October.

DAISY Faculty Award

CMH01731-1Julie Valentine is an assistant professor and also a certified adult/adolescent sexual assault nurse. Dr. Valentine focuses on multidisciplinary, collaborative research studies uniting disciplines in sexual assault case reform to benefit victims and case processing. In 2015 she was the primary author of two grants totaling $3.2 million for the testing of previously untested sexual assault kits and the resulting investigation and prosecution of these rape cases in Utah.

She is engaged in a collaborative research project with the Utah state crime laboratory exploring the impact of new DNA testing methods in sexual assault cases, and a collaborative law enforcement study on trauma-informed victim interviewing in sexual assault cases. From 2014 to 2017, she served on the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Reporting committee with the National Institute of Justice developing national best practice policies in sexual assault cases.

In 2016 Dr. Valentine served on the BYU Advisory Council on Campus Response to Sexual Misconduct which investigated Title IX implementation and recommended substantial policy and structural changes. As a mother of eight children and two grandchildren, Julie is an influential teacher wherever she goes. Whether at the lectern, hospital, courtroom, legislative floor, church or home, she shows love, compassion, and a kind listening ear with everyone.

Of interest, her favorite holiday is Valentine’s day, when her family sends our Valentine cards and enjoys making dozens of yummy treats to share with neighbors, friends, and co-workers.

DAISY In Training Award

CMH01733-2Sage Williams (BS ’17) became a research assistant at the end of nursing semester one, working with faculty members Dr. Julie Valentine, Dr. Linda Mabey, and Dr. Leslie Miles on multiple research studies on sexual assault victims throughout Utah. Her passion for caring for underserved and vulnerable individuals expands beyond the research arena to immersing herself in volunteer work.

She takes a monthly 48-hour call as a victim’s advocate in Utah County for sexual assault victims with Center for Women and Children in Crisis, volunteers at the University of Utah Health Burn Camp program for children, and worked this past summer in a family refugee camp in Greece for children and families fleeing Syria. Of note, she left the camp to join faculty members in Dublin, Ireland to present at the International Sigma Theta Tau conference. While there, Sage only had sandals to wear because she had given her shoes to those more in need at the refugee camp.

Her plans include obtaining a DNP as a psychiatric mental health nurse. She is truly an exceptional nursing student who emulates the Healer’s art and will make a difference in the world, especially with those who have been traumatized.

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Who Comforts Nurses?

Note: See our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/BYUNursing/) for this article’s accompanying video

Who comforts nurses?

It’s a question that may feel odd to ask, given that nurses care for and comfort others. People sometimes forget that nurses are human too.

So who is the designated person for nurses to turn to when their workload seems to be overwhelming them?

“Unfortunately sometimes nobody,” explains assistant teaching professor Stacie Hunsaker. Hunsaker studies two phenomenon that occur frequently in the nursing profession—burnout and empathy fatigue.

Burnout, she explains, is “exhaustion from the demands of work” and can happen in any job. Empathy fatigue is a condition that is a bit more specific to healthcare and has reaching consequences.

“That is when a healthcare provider feels too tired to care,” Hunsaker explains. “Maybe they’ve had a lot of emotional patients, a lot of emotional cases, a lot of things that cause almost PTSD. They didn’t experience the event that caused the stress, but by caring for others and having that empathy for them, it hurts them. People often build up a hard shell to prevent more hurt, so they stop caring.”

When a nurse experiences empathy fatigue, it can deeply affect the way he or she treats patients.

“Most of us decide to enter nursing because we love people and we care for people, and if you build up a wall, you can’t make that connection with a patient,” Hunsaker says. “It really can negatively impact the patient’s care. A lot of research has shown that it can negatively impact even a patient’s recovery.”

How common is empathy fatigue? According to Hunsaker, it’s fairly prevalent.

“There are a lot of studies and a lot of research that it’s most often recognized and probably the biggest problem in those areas that have more exposure to death or dying or psychologically exhausting patients,” she says. These areas include intensive care units, emergency departments, and oncology.

Luckily, research has also shown ways to combat empathy fatigue. Some are basic, such as getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating well. Hunsaker recommends that new nurses avoid picking up too many overtime shifts and take sufficient time to focus on themselves and their relationships with others outside of work. Positivity is also an important tool.

“The number one thing that’s easy to do that I would suggest for nurses is every night before you go to bed write down three good things that happened to you,” she says.

Additionally, nurses need to find someone who they can turn to for help. Research has shown that those who comfort in turn need someone to comfort them.

“I teach and try to tell my students and new nurses to talk to somebody that you know gets it or understands,” Hunsaker says.

One of these sources can be Heavenly Father.

“I can’t imagine practicing nursing without prayer and without praying before a shift, without praying before a difficult case or after,” Hunsaker says.

New Visiting Scholar

The BYU College of Nursing is hosting a visiting nursing scholar from China.

Dr. Fen Yang is from Wuhan City in China’s Hubei Province. She will be at BYU through April. During that time, she hopes to complete research on evidence nursing and community management of chronic disease.

“The reason I chose to study nursing is that I want to help people,” she says. “Nursing is a great occupation; patients can feel more comfortable because of nurses.”

While Yang was studying to obtain her doctorate, she met a man affiliated with BYU who helped her extensively with her studies. He told her good things about the university, including the kind disposition of the students and teachers. She also is intrigued by the clinical simulation conducted by the BYU College of Nursing.

“I am curious about it, so I am here,” she says.

Already Yang is coming to love the clean air and water of Utah Valley, as well as the educational climate that favors student independent learning. She also notes differences in nursing practices between the United States and China. In China, nurses focus more on disease care while American nurses focus more on patient interaction and have a larger amount of responsibility.

Her hobbies include walking, bike riding, and reading.

Culture, History, and Nursing Development

When assistant professor Dr. Sheri Tesseyman graduated from nursing school, she got her first job at a small hospital in Mount Pleasant, Utah. She recalls that it only had twenty beds, ten of which were used for storage. The X-ray technician was also the town’s police chief, and the difference between the main area and the emergency room was whether you came in the front or the back door.

“That was a great experience,” she says. “It was a good place to be right out of school—you had to use everything you ever learned.”

Tesseyman has come a long way from that small-town clinic to working at BYU. She brings with her a wealth of interdisciplinary experience that includes a master’s degree in anthropology and a PhD in history from the University of Manchester in England.

After graduating from high school, Tesseyman lived with her family in Brazil for one year before returning to the US to study nursing at the University of Utah. She also worked as a licensed practical nurse between classes.

She later earned her master’s degree in nursing from BYU in 1989, where she also met her husband. She seemed to be on a good path, but Tesseyman knew that she wanted to expand her nursing experience into other fields, particularly anthropology.

Tesseyman is no stranger to foreign cultures—she lived in Brazil, served a mission in southern Texas, and spent a year in Mexico while studying at BYU. Back in the States, she found herself even more immersed in the study of cultures.

“I got a position with Utah Rural Development Corporation working with migrant workers in the orchards here in Utah County, which was great,” she explains. Her experiences with migrant laborers in Utah and Salt Lake Counties pushed her even more in the direction of further study.

Finally, Tesseyman decided to go back to school to get a PhD in anthropology. She initially studied medical anthropology at the University of Utah, but following the death of the university’s specialist, she was awarded a master’s in anthropology.

“That’s been a great lens to see the world through,” Tesseyman says. “I would highly recommend that to anybody in any field. Study anthropology because it really gives you a great perspective on society and people and cultures.”

She then decided to switch to the University of Manchester in England to get a PhD in history, with an emphasis on 19th century nursing. Much of her research has revolved around the differences in the development of nursing practices in England and the United States. While it might seem unorthodox to bring anthropology and history into nursing, Tesseyman passionately believes that both bring additional insight into current nursing practices.

“Nursing is changing really fast right now, and it’s fascinating to see how various crossroads in the past have led to the way that we do things now,” she says. “I think it’s important to understand that to know where we’re going and what that means for health care, what it means for nursing as a discipline, and what it means for patients.”

Between studying and working, Tesseyman has always found time for family. She and her husband have three kids, and one of their favorite activities is traveling. Her husband is from England, and the family has always put a large emphasis on taking “holiday” to travel abroad. Sunday night board games are also a family favorite.

Before coming to BYU, Tesseyman taught at Westminster College for twelve years.

Redefining Disability Awareness

According to the US Census Bureau, nearly 56.7 million people in the US struggle with some form of disability. That means that for every five people you meet on the street, at least one of them could be dealing with some unique physical, mental, or emotional challenge. But as a member of the College of Nursing media team has discovered, there’s more to that person than meets the eye.

Jonathan Schroeder is the newest member of the College of Nursing media team. He’s also part of a new social advocacy project working to change how people see and talk about disabilities.

“Sometimes, no matter how hard we try not to, we see people with disabilities differently,” Schroeder says. “When we think of Joe, the first thing we think of isn’t a brilliant student with a sense of humor; we think of the guy in a wheel chair. We don’t remember Suzy as a stunning artist; the first thing we think of is the girl who suffers from serious anxiety or depression. We forget that these people are so much more than the challenges they face.”

Schroeder and three of his friends started More Than What I Have (More Than), a project that is working to change how society sees disabilities.

“The goal of More Than is to recognize people for who they really are; not just the disability or challenge they might have,” says Kimball Vaughn, one of the project leads.

More Than showcases individuals with a wide range of disabilities; from well-known disabilities like Muscular Dystrophy and Cerebral Palsy to more obscure ones like Crohn’s Disease or Raynaud’s Syndrome.

“Not all disabilities are visible,” project videographer Dan Hainesworth explains. “There are a lot of people who struggle with disabilities/conditions like anxiety or depression. We need to be just as aware of their needs as we would be with someone in a wheelchair.”

But rather than just highlight the disability itself, More Than is trying to emphasize all the amazing things that people with disabilities do.

“We’ve found a lot of really cool stories,” Schroeder shares. “For example, there’s a guy on the BYU Cheer Squad that has MS and a girl with severe depression who is an amazing make-up artist. We’re hoping that once we get enough stories out there, that people will start to see those who struggle with disabilities as more than just ‘a disabled person.’”

The group recently launched a #MoreThanWhatIHave challenge to help celebrate BYU’s Disability Awareness Week (October 23 – October 27). Participants are invited to create a simple 10-15 second video and post it on social media with the hashtag #MoreThanWhatIHave.

“The video challenge is a really easy way for anybody to show support for those with disabilities,” Vaughn explains. “All you need to do is pull out your cellphone and talk about a challenge you struggle with. It could be stress, stage fright, ADHD, sleeping troubles – whatever you feel like sharing. Then tell us how you define yourself. Share how you are ‘More Than What You Have.’”

“We’re really excited about this challenge,” Schroeder adds. “We hope that once people start to see themselves as “more than their challenges” that it’ll be easier to do the same for people with disabilities.”

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Faculty Spotlight: Debra A. Mills

From the Fall 2017 magazine. See more at http://nursing.byu.edu/Content/development/fall2017-online.pdf

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Humbly Serving in the Background

There, in the background, a persistent woman keeps the college running. Associate teaching professor Debra Ann “Debbie” Mills (BS ’82, MS ’89), RN, MS, CNE, is the faculty member who helps make a nursing student’s life run smoothly. She organizes each semester’s class schedule, supervises the standardized testing, arranges a calendar for the ATI Nursing Education Program, and orders supplies. She trains faculty members to understand test results, works with the clinical agencies, and ensures that students pick up their books—all to help students fulfill their potential in learning the Healer’s art.

While on campus, Mills is the undergraduate program coordinator and a facilitator for her colleagues.

However, as soon as she leaves, she is an avid exerciser.

She regularly completes P90X, R.I.P.P.E.D., kickboxing, weightlifting, U-JAM Fitness, water aerobics, and TRX Endurance routines. She tries to be physically active for two hours a day and considers exercising her second job.

If you have met Mills, you will know she is a petite, gentle lady and does not seem to fit the mold of an aggressive gym rat. However, rumor has it that one day she got so caught up in her hard-hitting sets and reps that she broke the nose of her sparring partner.

Mills decided to become a nurse during her senior year of high school after having an opportunity to talk with a neighbor who served as a naval nurse.

After graduation she attended Ricks College to pursue a nursing degree. There she had the opportunity to learn in a classroom and a hospital. At that time there was no lab, so the nurses learned by watching filmstrips and practicing on each other.

The start to her nursing education had a few bumps. From not being able to find a pulse to being told to go home, Mills faced many discouraging challenges. However, she overcame them in a defining moment that concreted her desire to become a nurse.

The day after being told that she was not smart enough to be a nurse, Mills returned to the same hospital but under the direction of a different supervisor. This manager assigned her to care for a small senior woman who soiled herself daily. Mills’s first thought was, “You must be miserable—let me get you cleaned up.” So she did. She took care of this patient, cleaning her up and trying to make her as comfortable as possible.

However, giving such quality care made Mills late in giving some medication. She was certain the nurses would be upset. However, as she was leaving the floor that day, the unit manager stopped and said, “Thank you for taking care of one of God’s children.” At this point Mills knew she was going to be a nurse. It would be hard, but it would be worth it.

Mills worked in different places— Primary Children’s Hospital and Salt Lake Community College, to name a few—before finding a home at the Y in 1982. After receiving her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the BYU College of Nursing, she accepted an offer to teach there and has been helping students and faculty ever since.

Mills’s list of accomplishments is extensive: a decade as baccalaureate studies coordinator, five years as a MORE evaluator to review evidenced-based nursing articles with a pediatric education focus, and 21 years as a college representative for the Primary Children’s Hospital Consortium.

She is a Utah State Board of Nursing committee member, was nominated for a 2005 Excellence in Pediatric Nursing Education Award from the Society of Pediatric Nurses, and was a 2002 recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award from the Utah Nurses Association.

Mills is a great example of persistence, diligence, and hope.

Her experiences as a student help her to advise and encourage those students who are struggling as well as those who are exceeding expectations. From U-JAM to helping a student in a jam, Mills does it all so that people, including herself, find success

College of Nursing Masterpiece Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Few BYU students may realize that one of the most iconic paintings on campus is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month. That’s because they can’t find this masterpiece in any traditional Museum of Art gallery or HFAC display, but in the nursing student lounge on the first floor of the Spencer W. Kimball Tower.

In 1992, the BYU College of Nursing commissioned former BYU professor Trevor Southey to paint a work entitled “I Would Learn the Healer’s Art.” The four-by-six foot oil on canvas commemorated the 40th anniversary of the College. The painting’s inspiration came from a line from the hymn, “Lord, I Would Follow Thee” that has become a motto for the College: “I would be my brother’s keeper; I would learn the healer’s art.”

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Southey wanted the painting to capture an intimate moment of healing between nurses and patients. He experimented with several different ideas in his sketches and finally decided to leave the patient resting peacefully, as the nurse prepares to care for her charge. Her arms are delicately out-stretched, ready to practice the Healer’s Art.

“I really love this painting not only because of its beauty, but also because of the symbolism it contains,” dean and professor Dr. Patricia Ravert shares.

Trevor Southey Healers Art

“I Would Learn the Healer’s Art” contains three specific symbols that form an inverted triangle within the painting. The red square on the right side of the painting represents blood and the human experience. Opposite the square is a golden sphere that symbolizes the spirit and things of eternity. At the bottom of the painting is an eternal flame, a tribute to the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale.

“I think ‘I Would Learn the Healer’s Art’ does a great job of showing what it means to be compassionate,” observes nursing student McKenna Warren. “That’s something that we try to learn, not only as nursing students, but also as disciples of Jesus Christ.”

For more information, watch this video: I Would Learn The Healer’s Art