Category Archives: College of Nursing News

Exciting New NLC Tech Transforms Student Learning Experience

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Assistant Lab Supervisor Kristen Whipple watches as students learn how to operate the new Pyxis MedStation

One of BYU’s top learning facilities got some exciting new upgrades this summer. Among the more exciting improvements, the Mary Jane Rawlinson Geertsen Nursing Learning Center (NLC) now boasts eighteen new hospital beds, two new state-of-the-art classroom manikins, and two new Pyxis MedStation 4000 systems.

“In the NLC, our goal is to simulate real-life nursing scenarios for our students, so they are better prepared when they enter a hospital for first time,” said NLC supervisor Colleen Tingey. “The Pyxis MedStations are what students are most likely to see in Utah area hospitals.”

“Pyxis is actually a real, clinical machine that we use as a teaching tool,” Assistant Lab Supervisor Kristen Whipple added. “But the same Pyxis machine we use here could be used in any hospital.”

Acquired through a donation by the Fritz B. Burns Foundation, the Pyxis MedStation 4000 is a computerized medical dispenser that is quickly becoming a standard piece of equipment for nurses across the country. The Pyxis MedStation is programmed with a patient database to help nurses keep track of all of their patient’s specific medical needs.

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“The whole idea behind the machines is to improve patient safety,” Tingey explained. “Because the patient’s record is already programmed into the machine, it can then dispense the right medication for that patient and help the nurse avoid medical errors.”

Prior to this summer, the NLC had just one older version of Pyxis to use for all nursing simulations, which often ran simultaneously. Nervous nursing students would often waste valuable time waiting to get meds for their simulation because of backlog at the older machine.

“We’re really excited to have two Pyxis machines, instead of just one,” Whipple said. “Now it’s easier for students to access them during their simulations.”

Thanks to the Fritz B. Burns Foundation, NLC also welcomed two new additions to the College of Nursing manikin family. The new arrivals (one adult and one child) are auscultation manikins that help students learn to identify heart, lung, and bowel noises.

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Nursing student Aimee Schouten with the new pediatric auscultation manikin.

Students can use a stethoscope to listen to the manikin’s heart rate and breathing. Computer programs allow the professor to control what sounds the student hears, as well as the area on the manikin that the sound comes from. The professor can also program the manikin to emit different types of sounds or project the sound through a speaker, so the whole class can hear.

“When students practice on each other, they get to hear normal sounds,” Tingey explained. They get to hear what normal, healthy patients sound like. But they don’t get the opportunity to hear abnormal heart sounds. These manikins provide an opportunity for students to hear what an abnormal heart sounds like.”

Nursing faculty are especially excited about the new pediatric auscultation manikin. Whipple said that nursing faculty had specifically asked for this device to better teach pediatrics to nursing students. “Small children don’t just behave like small adults,” Whipple pointed out. “Their bodies are different than adult bodies; so we need to train in what’s specific to them. This pediatric simulator acts like a pediatric body would and helps us identify those sounds that are unique to children.”

The new adult auscultation manikin has several unique features that are useful to professors and nursing students. Professors can use the adult manikin’s computer program to display EKGs, phonograms, and ultra-sounds. This allows students to see the physiology behind any abnormal sounds they may hear.

“Basically, this manikin allows our students to not only identify abnormalities like heart tremors,” Tingey said. “But it also allows students to learn how the sound correlates to what’s happening in the heart.”

 

 

 

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Professor, Leader, Veteran, Nurse: Dr. Kent Blad

BOOM!

It was January 1991, during the Persian Gulf War. Another Iraqi Scud missile had just been knocked out of the sky by an American Patriot missile battery, a regular event given that Saddam Hussein’s forces were lobbing dozens of missiles at coalition troops. Some might have found the massive explosions unsettling—for military nurse Kent Blad, however, they ensured that he would sleep calmly that night, knowing that his odds of being hit by an Iraqi projectile were being significantly reduced.

Fast-forward twenty-six years to 2017, a year that marks two important milestones for Dr. Blad, now BYU College of Nursing associate dean. In June, it will be his 30th year as a registered nurse. Second, it is the end of his five-year term as associate dean, after which he will continue to teach as a professor. It will be one more transition in a career that has spanned decades and seen Blad serving everywhere from Provo to Saudi Arabia.

Interestingly, Blad didn’t start off studying nursing. He at first was majoring in pre-med to become an orthopedic surgeon. However, once he got married he started to have second thoughts about being a surgeon.

“When I got married, I figured I wanted to be married to this woman, not to a profession,” he says.

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Blad as a military nurse

His older brother was a military nurse, and his example helped Blad decide to enlist in the military and concurrently enroll in nursing school. He worked as a military operating room technician to pay his way, and once he had his degree he was made an officer. He served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, where he had the harrowing experience of listening to Scud missiles streak across the sky. However, he was not injured during the war and was able to serve his country faithfully.

Blad left the military two years after the Persian Gulf War ended, and by this point, nursing was in his blood.

“The more I got into it, the more I obtained a passion for it because I soon realized that not only is it a profession, but it’s a service profession where you spend your whole life serving others,” Blad says.

For ten years, he worked at the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salt Lake City, primarily in critical care. He then enrolled at BYU to get his master’s degree, which opened up new, unexpected doors to him. Immediately upon graduation, he was offered a job to work in the College, which he accepted.

This was in 1999, and he describes the following years as “18 wonderful years, not without their share of challenges, but certainly with many, many blessings.”

The first few were spent teaching, until 2012 when Dr. Patricia Ravert, the newly installed dean, asked him to serve as one of two associate deans in the college. He accepted, undertaking the many responsibilities that come with being an associate dean.

“There was never a time that I was able to just sit around and stare out the window,” he says. Blad’s duties include supervising the Nursing Learning Center and the advisement center, distributing faculty assignments, managing the curriculum, and attending various university meetings, all on top of continuing to teach classes and contributing to the discipline.

One of Blad’s biggest pieces of advice to both faculty and students is to find balance, stressing the fact that nothing should come before their top three priorities, namely their family, their well-being, and their religion. He had to take his own advice in this new job, constantly evaluating his life to see how he could better prioritize his time.

Despite the difficulty of managing so many different tasks, there have been numerous positive impacts that Blad can see in the past five years, mainly due to the cooperation between members of administration and the College faculty.

For one thing, the College just passed its accreditation review with no negative recommendations. The Mary Jane Rawlinson Geertsen Nursing Learning Center was completed and is now running smoothly. Blad has also had the satisfying privilege of helping distribute increased scholarship funds to deserving students and helping coordinate teacher-student mentoring. The past five years have also seen a focus on promoting professionalism and courtesy among the faculty, which Blad says has created a wonderful working environment.

“That’s the thing I’m going to miss the most as a leader is that comradery and the love that you share with your peers,” Blad says. “We have tremendously excellent faculty. In my travels around the country, it is seconded by no other faculty in the US. We have the top faculty that can be put together.”

One of Blad’s biggest contributions to the College is also one of his biggest passions: treating veterans. Blad was the one who in 2005 recommended that one of the clinical practicums for the Public and Global Health nursing course be focused on treating veterans, and since then the program has become the leading program of its kind in the United States.

“It’s pretty special,” he says. “It’s a satisfaction in my career that is matched by nothing else.”

Outside of work, Blad spends most of his time either with family or as a bishopric member in a YSA ward. He and his wife have seven children, and eleven grandchildren. Now that he will have more time, he expects them to continue old family traditions like camping, hiking, and picnicking. Blad also enjoys doing yard work and gardening.

Help Celebrate the College of Nursing’s 65th Anniversary

 

To recognize the 65th anniversary of the Brigham Young University College of Nursing—established on September 29, 1952—we’re inviting all alumni and students to help celebrate. Since the influence of our program is known worldwide, we’re wondering, “Where will the college logo travel in the next few months?”

From now until September, we are asking our alums and students to do the following:

  1. Cut out/use the college logo from the 2017 college spring magazine (page 13) or print the image from above.
  2. Bring the logo with you on your journeys—near and far—this spring and summer.
  3. Take a photo of you, your family, or your friends with the logo in front of your favorite location.
  4. Post your images on Facebook or Instagram and use the hashtag #Ynursing52.

 

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Kaylee Hunsaker at National Institute of Health in Washington, DC

If you are not planning any trips, no need to worry. Snap an image in your backyard, community, or workplace. These photos will track all of the adventures and accomplishments of our alumni and students. We’re planning a display in the fall 2017 issue of the magazine, during Homecoming, and at the Scholarly Works Conference in October. To be considered for inclusion in the fall magazine, entries must be received by June 15; otherwise, photos are due September 15.

 

You don’t do social media? Email high-resolution photos (JPG file in original size) to nursingpr@byu.edu, or mail them to BYU College of Nursing, 65th Anniversary Celebration, 572 SWKT, Provo, UT 84602.

Let’s see how far our celebration can go! Who will take the logo with them? Stay tuned.

 

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Cory Paul (BS’17) in Antarctica 

 

New group of FNP students begins program

With spring term starting this week, the BYU College of Nursing welcomed 14 new graduate students into its family nurse practitioner program. Despite the group’s differences, each showed during an opening introduction session that they were more alike, with outdoor interests ranging from mountain biking, swimming, and snow skiing.

Among the master students were five nursing alumni: Jasmine Burson (BS ’13), Kalene Mears Ethington (BS ’15), Millie Carter Harper (BS ’03), Virginia Faber Jefferies (BS ’02), and Casey Kochevar Neeley (BS ’12).

A couple of other interesting facts. There are four men, one with a military background. One of the females teaches dance lessons and will have a show at the Dejong Concert Hall next weekend, and another just completed a half-ironman competition with her mother.

All have great nursing experiences in the operating room, emergency department, med/surge, or shock trauma units and are looking forward to learning advanced nursing skills during the next two years.

Move over Lewis and Clark, There’s a New Explorer in Town

“Do you remember that time we took Grandma spelunking?”

Assistant Teaching Professor Daphne Thomas gets that question from her sons every once in a while when they want to remind her of the escapades she took them on when they were younger. Those exploits have made for good memories for the adventurous Thomas, as well as her family.

“That’s the main reason I do it,” she says. “I love those memories and I love for my kids to have those memories and experiences.”

Some of her usual pastimes include hiking, kayaking, traveling, and occasionally snowmobiling (assuming the weather is not took cold). She’s always been prone to leave her comfort zone and see what else is out there in the world, like the time she took her two young sons and their grandmother on a spur-of-the-moment road trip through California and Oregon.

“I just love life,” she says. “[I just] try to live for each moment and make each moment better.”

This attitude has helped her in her twenty-seven-year career as a nurse and a nurse educator. She only began teaching nursing a few years ago, and recently started working at BYU. She loves the College of Nursing for its focus on helping everyone become better not only as nurses, but also as people.

Thomas has been around the block when it comes to nursing positions, with some of hers including staff nurse, charge nurse, trauma coordinator, and nursing manager. Management was definitely the job that stretched her the most, she says.

“It’s definitely a perspective most people don’t get,” she says. “As you get into management, it really starts to connect a lot of pieces that you’ve just never put together.”

Wherever she works, Thomas always keeps a focus on the big picture. One of her favorite areas of study is how to retain people in the nursing profession despite burnout. Her life is an example of overcoming stress and not feeling overburdened.

“Experience is always good,” she says. “I like to grow and to learn, so I like to stretch myself a little bit.”

For Thomas, that experience includes continuing to work as an emergency nurse. She looks forward to each shift, knowing that she will be able to make someone’s day a little better.

“I guess that’s what I try to aim my life at, just making a difference, whether that’s a difference in myself or in my family or my friends or even people that I don’t know,” she says. “I love to do that.”

BYU College of Nursing Annual Essay Contest to Award $150 First Prize!

Get some extra cash for your summer kick-off by participating in the annual College of Nursing’s essay contest.

Current College of Nursing students (pre-nursing, undergraduate, and graduate) are welcome to submit an essay with the theme “Engaging in the Scholarship of the Discipline” by 4 p.m., Friday, April 21, for a chance to win $150. The second prize winner will receive $100 (checks will be issued in May 2017). Alumni from December of last year are also welcome to participate.

The essay should range between 600 to 800 words and include a title. Coursework that meets the competition’s criteria is acceptable as long as it was written during the 2016-17 school year; maintain patient privacy, HIPPA, and FERPA policies also apply. Patient or nurse mentor names may be changed, but please indicate this. Student names will be included as the author of the material. Individuals may submit more than one article, however, only one cash prize per person will be awarded.

Submit the essay to nursingpr@byu.edu. The College of Nursing will announce the winners on Tuesday, April 25 on its Facebook page.

*Submitted entries may be used in future BYU College of Nursing publications.

Refugee Supply Drive Permits Students to Show BYU Pride and Help Others

Are you a BYU nursing student looking for a way to help refugees and have some friendly competition with the University of Utah? Look no further than the Sigma Theta Tau “Supplying Homes of Refuge” drive happening now in the College of Nursing.

The drive is a contest between the four Utah chapters of the international nursing honor association (located at BYU, Weber State University, Westminster College, and the University of Utah) to gather specific supplies for refugees living in Salt Lake City. BYU students are encouraged to donate lotion, diapers, toiletries, socks, baby care products, and underwear of all sizes.

Teaching professor Sheri Palmer, who is heading the drive at BYU, says that the donations are critically needed by local refugee families.

“The biggest thing is that the refugees cannot buy all the stuff that we’re asking for,” she says, explaining that the food stamps refugees live on will often not allow them to buy basic hygiene products.

Time is running out to donate, with the final collection day being Tuesday March 28, 2017. Any donations should be brought to the purple boxes outside the break rooms on the fourth and first floors of the SWKT. Whichever chapter collects the most supplies wins a pizza party.