Category Archives: College of Nursing News

Taking Wing to New Heights

By Calvin Petersen

From extreme sports to nursing and humanitarian work, Debra Wing isn’t afraid of trying new things. Now after teaching at BYU’s College of Nursing for 11 years, Wing will again embrace something new: retirement. And considering her life so far, Wing’s retirement will be far from dull.


Debra Wing (left) and her husband Kelly (second from right) with their three children. Wing says her children and three grandchildren are “the joys of my life.”

Nursing Runs in the Family

Growing up, Wing watched her two older sisters attend nursing school and work at hospitals. As they shared inspiring experiences, Wing thought she would love nursing too.

“I started my freshman year at BYU taking all the nursing prereqs and working in a hospital,” she remembers, “and I kept thinking, ‘I hate this.’”

Wing decided to study business instead at a neighboring college. But before she left BYU, she married Kelly Wing, a military man who had just returned from serving an LDS mission. “We met in a BYU family home evening,” she recalls with a chuckle. After graduating with a business degree, Wing spent the next 10 years as a businesswoman.

“Yet, I always felt something was missing,” she says, “so, with very small children, I went back to nursing school and finished my bachelor’s.”

This was made possible by an opportunity with the military. It needed nurses and was willing to help pay for Wing’s college; Wing needed a job and financial aid. With the added incentive that her husband was already in the Air Force, she joined. “I found out I loved the military,” Wing says, “so I just stayed in.”


Wing with her nursing degree on graduation day.

Nursing on the Front Lines

One of the things Wing enjoyed most about her military nursing career was doing clinical oversight for EMEDS training. In this role, she instructed hundreds of National Guard and Army Reserve medical personnel on how to provide support in war zones. She also worked with Homeland Security to train national disaster relief organizations on how to respond to every kind of disaster—from hurricanes to hostage situations.

“Something I really loved about my career is that nursing continually reinvents itself,” Wing says, “what we thought we knew about nursing yesterday isn’t what we’re going to know about nursing tomorrow.”

Wing herself was “reinvented” dozens of times during her career as she took on new nursing roles. Perhaps her favorite “reinvention” was becoming a nurse for the LDS Korea Seoul Mission in 2015. According to Wing, her mission wasn’t the quietest in the world.

“We were right up by the DMZ, 17 miles from the northern border,” she says, “there were missile exchanges and gunfire right in our backyard.”


Wing’s husband swearing her in as a United States Air Force officer.

In it for the Thrill

Outside of her nursing career, Wing is an extreme sports enthusiast. “I love anything that’s a little bit dangerous,” she says.

Before she met her husband, Wing’s boyfriend in high school and college was a racecar driver. “Our dates consisted of racing,” she remembers, smiling mischievously. Now one of her favorite things to do is drive cars at 150+ mph. However, since the Autobahn hasn’t come to Utah, she makes do with crawling over Southern Utah rocks in her Subaru Outback.

On top of racing cars, Wing is an extreme skier. In fact, she used to race the downhill and super-G professionally. With her approaching retirement, Wing plans to finally take up the extreme sport she’s always wanted to: skydiving.


Wing (second from left) and colleague Gaye Ray (second from right) hold up a sign for the anniversary of the BYU College of Nursing, established in 1952. The two professors traveled with students, including Erin Marshall (left) and Mike McNeil (right), to Pamplona, Spain, for the International Family Nursing Conference in 2017.

Onward and Upward

Wing’s other plans for retirement include working with several organizations to teach medical education in developing countries. “I’ll be leaving the University, but I’m not leaving nursing,” she says.

Wing has worked with Healing Hands for Haiti and IVUMED in past humanitarian efforts and intends to resume those efforts. “I’m excited to be able to go back and do that,” she says. Furthermore, Wing will continue to volunteer regularly at Provo Food and Care Coalition. She and her husband also want to serve another LDS mission.

Reflecting on her experience as a nurse, she says, “What made my nursing career worthwhile was the opportunity I had to serve people every day. I love that experience of giving of myself. There’s a reward that comes from caring that’s far greater than monetary rewards.”

If she could give her younger self any piece of advice, Wing says it would be to enjoy the journey more. “Don’t spend so much time worrying about what has to get done,” she advised, “I think we can become too serious about the task and forget how joyful the journey can be.”

Wing is proud of her accomplishments at the College of Nursing. In addition to working tirelessly to make the NLC expansion a possibility, Wing has mentored numerous students. “I’m very grateful for the students and I’m very grateful for my colleagues,” Wing says, “Working in the College of Nursing has been a beautiful experience because of them.”


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

Jane Goodfellow-1

“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.



Compassionate Individuals Receive College DAISY Awards

The College of Nursing recently partnered with the DAISY Foundation to recognize assistant teaching professor Gaye Ray and nursing student McKenzie Weir for their extraordinary compassion.

The DAISY Foundation is a non-profit organization, established in 1999, by the family of Patrick Barnes. Barnes died from complications of the auto-immune disease, Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (or ITP,) at the age of 33. Like many families that experience loss, the Barnes family decided to do something positive to honor him. After his death, the Barnes family founded DAISY—an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System—to thank nurses who cared for Barnes and recognize exceptional nurses around the world.

DAISY Faculty Award

Assistant teaching professor Gaye Ray received the DAISY Faculty Award with nominations from four different individuals. Their reasons for why she is deserving echo her compassionate personality.

“Nothing feels better than when professor Ray is proud of you. The day is a little brighter after talking with her,” says McKenna, a BYU nursing student. Other students had similar things to say about Ray.

Annie shared, “Gaye values the unique gifts of others by helping us see that we all have different gifts and talents and can use them to help our careers in the future.”

Madeline added, “Gaye is the reason why I stayed with nursing when I was certain I would quit. Her compassion, intellect and zeal for nursing inspired me to want a life like hers, a life where she creates happiness and spreads it wherever she goes. Not only is she brilliant, but she doesn’t act like she is better than anyone else. She sincerely cares about each person and works so hard to make the world better.”

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“First and foremost, Gaye loves Jesus Christ,” said Maggie, “It’s because of that love that she is so ready and able to love those around her. She pushes all of her students to be the best they can in a kind and compassionate way.”

DAISY In Training Award

In addition to honoring a nursing faculty member, the College honored nursing student McKenzie Weir with the DAISY In Training Award. Weir believes in looking out for individuals who need a friend or simply a kind smile to make it through the day. She feels that taking time to remember someone’s name is important and follows this practice with peers, classmates and people she meets at church.

Kayla Smith, the nursing student who nominated Weir, wrote, “Kenzie is always the one in class to keep things in perspective and reminds those that struggle that they are cut out to be nurses. She follows up on personal situations and offers support to her peers—perhaps that poster child for seeking and giving help!”

DAISY Feb 2018-7

The College of Nursing congratulates Gaye Ray and McKenzie Weir for this significant recognition.

Future DAISY Awards

Each January and September, the College of Nursing asks for peer nominations for DAISY Faculty and DAISY In Training Awards (watch for details). The call for submissions is your opportunity to nominate a nursing professor or student that demonstrates compassion and personifies “the Healer’s art.” Recipients will be awarded at our Scholarly Works and Contribution to the Discipline Conference in October and at the BYU College of Nursing Professionalism Conference next February.

BYU Nursing Student Kimi Stevenson Learns the Cost of Empathy

By Calvin Petersen

As a nurse in good health, helping others is effortless. But when a nurse is at their worst health ever, helping others becomes remarkable. Kimi Stevenson, a BYU nursing student, woke up one night in the most pain of her life.

She described it as if somebody was repeatedly stabbing a knife in her back. Though only 18 at the time, Kimi’s arthritis had worsened over the course of a few weeks. She now found herself on the floor, unable to move. Kimi yelled to her roommate Halie, who burst into the dark bedroom, fumbled for the switch and gasped when the light revealed Kimi’s contorted form on the floor. “Kimi! Are you OK?” she yelled. Kimi asked Halie to get her medicine on the other side of the room. As the girl moved to retrieve the pills, Kimi heard a loud thump, and then silence.

“Halie?” she called. No answer. “Halie, are you okay?” Again, no answer. Kimi screamed Halie’s name until another roommate came in and found the two girls on the floor.

“I thought, ‘I’m a lifeguard, I’m in nursing school and when I get an actual opportunity to help, I’m stuck on the floor and can’t even get up,’” Kimi recalls, “but I could coach my roommate through it. I said, ‘OK, tap her shoulder. Did she wake up? Did she do anything? Is she breathing?’ She was breathing and had a heartbeat, but wasn’t waking up. So I called 9-1-1.”

Kimi explained the situation to the dispatcher, who asked Kimi if she would go to her friend and check on her. “Actually I can’t, I’m kind of stuck on the ground,” she said. “Well who’s the ambulance for, you or your friend?” the dispatcher asked.

Halie woke up as the paramedics arrived. They checked her vitals and determined she would be fine; a year later she was diagnosed with epilepsy. As for Kimi, her brother came just after the paramedics to take her to the ER. Kimi calls that paramedic visit “a blessing in disguise” because without the paramedics’ chair, specially designed to take patients down stairs, Kimi might not have made it to her brother’s car.

Kimi Stevenson 4

Juvenile Arthritis and an Aspiring Nurse

At eight years old, Kimi was diagnosed with juvenile reactive arthritis, an autoimmune disease. It started out with a limp. A week later, Kimi’s fingers were so swollen that she couldn’t close her hands. She started to crawl around the house because walking was unbearable. After taking almost a dozen pills a day for over a month, Kimi’s doctors finally found the right treatment. “Overnight I was totally better,” she says.

Throughout the process of finding a treatment, and the monthly visits to get her blood drawn for two years afterwards, Kimi became deeply impressed with the people who cared for her. “I knew I wanted to do something in the medical field because people had been so kind to me,” she says.

Kimi proceeded to ask everyone at each of her doctor appointments if they thought she should be a PA or an NP. While most smiled at the cute eight-year-old Kimi and said, “Whatever you want to be, sweetie,” one physician assistant actually told her why she should be an NP.

“After that, I thought nursing was the right way to go. You get more hands-on experience and it’s more compassionate. By the time I was maybe 14, I knew I wanted to do nursing at BYU,” Kimi says.

Aside from the occasional lower back and leg pains of sciatica, Kimi’s personal health challenges appeared to be over. Her dreams of becoming a nurse and serving an LDS mission were on track. Or so she thought.

Kimi Stevenson 7

Kimi practices using a stethoscope on her father at age ten.

Good News and Bad News

Kimi received her mission call to the Brazil Manaus Mission in August 2015 during her first semester at BYU’s College of Nursing. As she was preparing for her mission, the sciatica returned; only this time it was much worse.

One morning in October, Kimi began her usual three-block trek to BYU campus at 8:30 to make her 9 o’clock class. When the easy walk turned into a painful shuffle that took more than 45 minutes, she knew something was seriously wrong. That day ended with her infamous visit to the ER and her passed-out roommate.

One doctor thought her pain came from a herniated disc and gave Kimi a cortisone shot. Then she woke up to discover her knee was the size of a cantaloupe. It finally dawned on her, “This isn’t sciatica or a disc; this is arthritis!” Yet even with an expedited visit to one of Utah’s two rheumatologists, Kimi’s recovery wasn’t overnight like it was when she was eight.

She was officially diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, an inflammatory arthritis affecting the spine and joints. Kimi moved in with her grandma and spent the next six weeks in a wheelchair. The worst news of all came after Thanksgiving.

“I’m so sorry, but you can’t go on your mission,” Kimi’s doctor told her. Kimi could re-submit her mission papers if she’d improved by March, but because of her medical needs, Brazil was out of the question.


Kimi’s friends often pushed her to class while she was in a wheelchair. One even sprinted her through the finish line of a Halloween-themed 5K run so Kimi could get extra credit for her pathophysiology class.

Delayed Plans and $70,000 in Shots

By February, Kimi no longer needed the wheelchair. Her pain was finally under control, thanks to her weekly shot. Kimi’s stake president called the Missionary Department to ask about the process for resubmitting her mission papers. That phone call produced an unexpected result.

On a quiet afternoon in BYU’s library, Kimi’s phone buzzed. It was her mom. “Kimi, don’t freak out, but look at your online mission portal. You have a new mission call!” The reassignment was to the Brazil São Paulo Interlagos Mission.

Without letting Dr. Call know about her new mission assignment, Kimi went in for a physical on March 7. “Well Kimi, you’re doing really well. I think we can talk about putting your papers back in,” he said. “Oh, about that,” Kimi said with a smile, “I got a new mission call a few weeks ago, and it’s still to Brazil.”

Dr. Call told Kimi she could go to Brazil only if she got a blood test every six months and took enough shots for every week of her mission in Brazil. Since the shots, valued at almost $1,000 each, are ruined when they reach room temperature, she’d have to find a way to get them to Brazil cold.

Weeks later, Kimi found herself flying to Brazil with $70,000 in shots on her lap in a special cooler. After her entry interview, her new mission president asked, “Is there anything I should know about?” Kimi gently placed the cooler on his desk and said, “Just one thing: can I put these in your fridge?”

Kimi still takes her weekly shot and likely will for the rest of her life. Now in her third semester of BYU’s nursing program, Kimi Stevenson has already proved she will make a remarkably empathetic nurse.

Thinking back on her journey, Kimi says, “The whole experience taught me not to take things for granted. It taught me to look at other people who are going through problems, when I’m at the hospital or even when I was on my mission, and to know what they’re feeling, and how hard that is.”

Kimi Stevenson 2

“I’m grateful to the nursing program for all the help I received during those difficult months,” says Kimi. Gaye Ray, one of her nursing professors, made an extra effort to take care of Kimi while she underwent treatment.

BYU College of Nursing Changing Undergraduate Application Process and Requirements

In order to promote a more inclusive approach to undergraduate nursing student selection, the BYU College of Nursing will be implementing changes in the application process.

“The idea is to get a more holistic view of the students and to have a more holistic applications and admissions process,” says Cara Wiley, the nursing advisement center supervisor. “That way we’re taking into consideration some of the other aspects of students and not just GPA.”

“We don’t believe that the characteristics of being a good nurse are exclusively GPA and ACT scores,” says College of Nursing associate dean Dr. Katreena Merrill.

These changes will take effect for students applying for the winter 2019 semester. Listed below in bold are the main changes and what they mean.

1) Students must have completed all prerequisite classes before applying to the program—midterm grades will not be accepted.

Previously, students could apply to the program while still enrolled in prerequisite courses and simply give their midterm grades for the prerequisites. Now students will need to have finished all pre-reqs before submitting their application.

“As usual, we will admit twice a year,” Merrill says. “The application for fall semester will end in May each year so that students taking prerequisites can finish those up in their winter semester and apply in May for fall. Applications for entering the nursing program in the winter semester will close in late August so that students applying to go to the nursing program in the winter will be able to finish classes in spring and summer.”

2) Students with over 75 BYU credits or 100 overall credits will no longer be able to apply.

This falls in line with official BYU policy, which says that students cannot change majors after earning 75 BYU credits (excluding AP or language exam credits). The idea is that more spots for students will be created while students with lots of credits will be able to use the more efficient path of a nursing accelerated course. Overall, this should help reduce the nursing shortage.

“If a student is already in college for three or four years before they even figure out they want to do nursing, the fastest way for them and the most financially beneficial way for them is to then do an accelerated nursing program [outside of BYU],” Wiley says.

3) While grades are still an important consideration factor, other variables such as service and possibly an online behavioral assessment will play an increased role in the selection process.

Now before you go slacking off in your next class after reading this, don’t think that GPA and ACT/SAT scores don’t matter anymore—there is still going to be strong weighting towards these factors. However, now the process is going to put more emphasis on other factors like leadership, community service, healthcare experience (see next section), and possibly an online behavioral assessment.

4) Students need healthcare experience, either as a volunteer or employee.

Students should have some time in a healthcare environment under their belts if they want a competitive application. Healthcare does not mean just in hospitals—it can include nursing homes, therapy centers, or other places where medical professionals work.

“We want to see that they really want to be in the healthcare profession and that they’re doing things for that,” Wiley says. “If you have six months or more [of experience], then you’d be in a good place.”

5) There is no longer an essay in the application.

All students weary of application-caused tendonitis can rest easy—with a catch. While there is no essay, there are small writing portions of the application where students talk about themselves, their goals, and their qualifications.

6) The application process is now two-tiered, a process that seeks to ensure that well-rounded applicants progress between the tiers.

  1. a) Tier 1 will include grades, ACT scores, letters of recommendation, service, leadership, healthcare experience, the writing portions of the application, and possibly an online behavioral assessment.
  2. b) If students pass Tier 1, they proceed to Tier 2, which is an interview at the College. Students must attend in person barring circumstances such as being on a mission or living far out of state—in these cases, a Skype/telephone interview will be arranged.

When do these changes come into effect?

“This will take effect Fall 2018 which means that the students who are first affected by this are those who are looking to apply for the Winter 2019 application,” Wiley says.

More changes and adjustments may be announced as details and logistics of the new application process are finalized.

What does this all mean?

Wiley explains that these changes will help change the College’s demographics and promote a more comprehensive student population.

“We’re hoping for more well-rounded students,” she says. “That could mean that you don’t have a 3.9 and still make it in.”

“While we know that the nursing program is hard and we want students to be successful, we also realize that nursing is a caring profession and GPA and ACT don’t necessarily measure caring and empathy,” Merrill says. “We want to make sure that our nursing students are yes, smart, but we also want to make sure that they have empathy and are able to care for people. That is why we are called the Healer’s Art, because we care and we take care of people as the Savior would.”

Nursing the Impoverished

By Calvin Petersen

It’s no secret that poverty is a big problem. The American Council on Science and Health went so far as to call it “the world’s deadliest problem.” In fact, nearly 29,000 children under the age of five die every day because of poverty, according to UNICEF. As global leaders struggle to find solutions, nursing students at BYU have found a unique way to develop understanding and compassion for the impoverished.

Understanding Each Patient

As they learn the Healer’s art, fourth-semester nursing students at BYU gain Christ-like empathy for their patients by participating in a poverty simulation.

First put together by Missouri Community Action, the simulation creates a realistic community of more than 20 volunteers who act as bank tellers, pawnbrokers, grocery store cashiers, school teachers, mortgage collectors and other community personnel. Eighty students populate the simulated community as they role-play the lives of low-income families. Nursing assistant teaching professor Gaye Ray and Provo Community Action executive director Karen McCandless organize the simulation each semester.

Poverty Simulation 1

(From left to right) Joanna Ostler, Shelby Benally, Amy Sutherland and Jane Goodfellow review their poverty simulation packet moments before the simulation begins.

“We hope that, by inviting you to walk in the shoes of the impoverished, in a small way you will understand what it’s like to have a shortage of money and an abundance of stress. We hope you will be more sensitive to the feelings of those who are living in crisis and be more thoughtful in your future careers,” Ray told students before the winter 2018 simulation.

Students participating in the simulation were randomly assigned to one of 16 different families. Each family was given a packet with information describing the family’s situation and its individual members, based on real-life stories and people.


Students only had a few minutes to make sense of the transportation passes, identification cards, bills and money that spilled from the thick manila envelopes before the whistle blew. Then the first of four 15-minute simulated weeks began. And chaos followed.

The Boling Family Strikes Out

As students raced to their jobs, school, the bank, the grocery store and other community stations, five students, role-playing as members of the Boling family, quickly realized how stressful the poverty simulation would be.


To begin with, because 42-year-old Ben Boling, (portrayed by Shelby Benally) recently lost his job, the family barely had enough money to purchase transportation passes so that 39-year-old Betty Boling (portrayed by Mary Erdman) could get to her full-time job.

Luckily the school bus picking up the Boling’s three children, pregnant 16-year-old Barbara (portrayed by Amy Sutherland), eight-year-old Brian (portrayed by Jane Goodfellow) and 10-year-old Bart (portrayed by Joanna Ostler), was free.

However, after only a week, Ben Boling had a stroke and was hospitalized for the remainder of the simulation. To make things even more stressful, Barbara was expelled from school and the two boys were suspended for cheating. “I didn’t cheat,” promised Brian. “Stop lying Brian,” scolded Bart. “I’m not lying, you’re a liar!” countered Brian. Betty tried to put on a brave face as her family fell apart around her.

Poverty Simulation 2

Ben Boling (left, portrayed by Shelby Benally) fills out an employment form during the first week of the poverty simulation.

The last three weeks of the simulation were hard. At one point, Barbara was taken by the sheriff to juvenile hall for possession of illegal drugs. Then the electricity was shut down because the Boling mother couldn’t make the payments. “This is so stressful!” said Betty, “I feel like I’m the only one taking care of things. I work full-time, so I don’t have time to buy food and pay bills, my husband is out and I have three kids.”

In the final week of the simulation, the sheriff arrived to take Betty to jail for defaulting on a bank loan. Barbara tried to cash Betty’s last check to make bail, but the bank refused to help an underage customer. Barbara looked around frantically, hoping for some aid in a hopeless situation. Then the whistle blew a final time and the simulation ended.

Although the simulation may have not been real, the stress was real and every student came to know, if just for a moment, part of what it feels like to be impoverished.


Bankers deny Barbara Boling’s (portrayed by Amy Sutherland) request to cash her mother’s paycheck.

Determined to Do Something

The impact of the poverty simulation on the 80 BYU nursing students was evident in the discussion afterwards.

“I learned to have more patience with people because you never know what’s going on in their lives,” said Emily Santillan. “It’s easy for us as nurses to say, ‘Why aren’t you taking your meds? Why aren’t you eating your fruits and vegetables? It’s so important; why aren’t you doing these things?’ But we don’t see the whole picture. We have to be patient with them.”


Because she discovered some of the available community resources, Emily Miller’s simulation family did better than most. “I feel like, as a nurse, I need to be more aware of resources that are available in the community to best help my patients,” she said.

Provo Community Action is one such local resource for low-income families. Executive Director Karen McCandless smiled as she listened to the nursing students’ experiences. “This last part is always really satisfying for me because it tells me that the simulation did its job,” she said.

McCandless joined Provo Community Action five years ago in part because of her personal experience in a poverty simulation. “I thought I was a compassionate person to begin with, but this poverty simulation, it literally changed my thinking. That was my hope here: that students would leave a little more compassionate than when they walked in.”

The poverty simulation taught BYU nursing students that while they may not be able to solve the “the world’s deadliest problem” of poverty overnight, they can help solve the health challenges of their patients today. “Even though we can’t change their whole world with just one act, we can do something,” concluded nursing student Lauren Young.


BYU College of Nursing professor Gaye Ray (left) and Provo Community Action Executive Director Karen McCandless (center) talk to students about the winter semester poverty simulation.

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.


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.


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