Category Archives: College of Nursing News

Nursing Staff and Administration Receive SAERA Awards

Photo courtesy of BYU Human Resources

By Jessica Tanner

Three of our incredible staff and administration have recently been recipients of the Staff and Administrative Employee Recognition (SAERA) Award: Kathy Whitenight, Cherie Top, and Cara Wiley. These amazing women have displayed levels of continual learning, innovation, and care that have improved the College of Nursing and BYU. The University-sponsored SAERA Award recognizes those who have shown competency, respect for sacred resources, integrity, teamwork, exceeding customer expectation, respect for all individuals, innovation and accountability. These women have definitely achieved that.

Kathy Whitenight

Kathy Whitenight

Competency: Striving for excellence and sharpening skills on a continuous basis, 2018.

“As an assistant dean, Kathy Whitenight is essential to the workings of the college of Nursing,” writes Dean Patricia Ravert, who nominated her for the award in 2018. On receiving the award Whitenight reports, “I know when other people are getting the awards but I had no idea I was submitted. So it was a big surprise and really an honor to get it.”

There were several reasons why Dean Ravert nominated Whitenight in the competency category. Whitenight has kept up with legal matters, managed updates in physical facilities, and overseen human resources.  Another major department she oversees is Risk Management, where she helps students get the care they need in case of incident or injury. In this duty, Whitenight demonstrates personal care to each student. “They have my cellphone; they can call me 24/7,” she explains. “I’ve only gotten one call in the last year at 3:00 a.m. but I want them to that. I’d rather have them do that than not get the care they need and the financial coverage.” Whitenight keeps up on policies and procedures to help students avoid potential problems.

On Whitenight’s wall hangs James C. Christensen’s painting The Widow’s Might. “I have this picture on the wall,” she explains, “because…most of the things [we do] are done through tithing dollars. And that’s the widow’s mite.” Working with finances, Whitenight handles sacred resources with great care and respect.

Whitenight has to learn continually to keep up with technology and policies. “Each day something new could come in that I’ve never experienced before. And that’s what makes it exciting.”

Cherie Top

Cherie Top:

Exceeding Service Expectations: Serving the needs of others beyond what is expected, 2018

Cherie Top, the Graduate Program and Research Secretary, was awarded for exceeding service expectations. Associate Dean and Professor Jane Lasseter nominated Top after seeing her interact with the students that would come up to apply for the graduate nursing program. “When we have our new applicants coming in they have to do a writing prompt,” Top explains. “And when they come in for their writing prompt we take their photo so that we can use it for the interview…So I make them take a picture up against the wall right next to Jane’s office. In her letter she talked about how I’m really nice to them because they come in and they’re really nervous for the writing prompt.” She helps to put these students at ease as they apply for their future.

Top is also consistently helpful and kind to the other faculty and staff. In fact, the people she gets to work with are her favorite part of her job. “The thing I like most about working here is the environment and the people that we work with. I feel like the staff and the faculty are a really close-knit group but they’re also really inviting.” She immediately felt included when she started working at BYU almost four years ago.

As for receiving the award, Top says, “I was super, super surprised. I didn’t even know they did those awards,” she admits with a laugh. “And they kept it a really good secret—they did it during college assembly and it was just a normal college assembly and I didn’t know it was going to happen.” It was a pleasant surprise, and the clock she received (the SAERA Award trophy) sits shining on her cabinet.

Cara Wiley

Cara Wiley

Innovation: Finding ways to improve products/services to change the way work is accomplished, 2019

Advisement Center Supervisor Cara Wiley was nominated for the SAERA Award by Associate Dean and Associate Professor Katreena Merrill in the innovation category. This was prompted by Wiley’s push for and implementation of an orientation class for first-semester nursing students.

“Before, the students had nothing,” says Wiley. When she became part of BYU nursing advisement, there was no orientation at all for nursing students. An orientation dinner was introduced, but it still was not enough. Wiley remembers, “I researched…other schools here at BYU who have limited enrollment programs, and they had orientation meetings.” It seemed to work for them, so Wiley worked to implemented it in the College of Nursing. It eventually turned into a 390R class so students could have it in their schedules.

“We’re trying to develop emotional intelligence, students’ resiliency, and [also] working on perfectionism,” Wiley explains.  “It’s literally meant to orient them, [to say], hey, this is what it’s going to be like in the nursing program.” Students are able to meet future faculty and learn about a wide variety of subjects. Wiley reports it is a work in progress. “We just keep tweaking it, trying to make it better, trying to help them come in and learn how to be resilient in the first semester so that when they hit the harder semesters, they can handle it.”

Wiley has enjoyed being a part of the orientation class. “It’s nice for me, for the advisement center, to be involved in this orientation class because the students get to know us.” It also brought about the nomination for the SAERA Award. Though she was shocked to get the award, she was also grateful. “I haven’t gotten an award like that in my 14 years of being here and it was really nice to be recognized by my boss…We’ve been doing a lot of changes, and now we’re seeing the results.”

 

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Connection Is Up To You: Dr. Sabrina Jarvis Receives DAISY Faculty Award

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Dr. Sabrina Jarvis with her sister after receiving the DAISY Award

By Jessica Tanner

“I was really surprised to be honest,” says associate teaching professor Dr. Sabrina Jarvis after receiving this year’s DAISY Award  Faculty Award. She was nominated by a student to whom she had shown kindness and care. Living by life philosophies taught to her by her father has opened doors to connecting with others and blessed many lives.

Dr. Jarvis worked as a family nurse practitioner in Veterans Administration Hospitals. It was in her clinical practice she not only found fulfillment in nursing but was also introduced to teaching. However, she reports, “It was quite the learning process,” as she was shy and unfamiliar with giving presentations. Thankfully, she had a mentor, one who could teach her about presentations tap on a projector if she was going overtime. “As you go along, you learn,” Dr. Jarvis says. “I don’t think you spring up being a full-blown teacher; you have to learn the craft.”

Those early experiences prepared Dr. Jarvis to teach at BYU, as she has for the past twelve years. For her the craft of teaching is not just in planning lessons or grading projects; it is about the relationships she builds with her students. She lives life by a philosophy her father taught her:  “In every encounter during your day, it’s usually not neutral; it’s either going to be positive or not.”  Those encounters are often small, such as a smile or asking someone how their day is going. Dr. Jarvis is also a firm believer in communication. “I also don’t believe in ESP—that if we don’t ask, we don’t know.”

“We go past a lot of people and how much connection you make is up to you,” says Dr. Jarvis. She makes a habit of talking with her students after class and strives to learn a new name every day. These simple, trust-building acts have paved the way for opportunities to give of herself. “You don’t realize you’ve made an impact in the moment because you’re just trying to help someone and you learn from them,” Dr. Jarvis says.

One student who nominated Dr. Jarvis for the award wrote, “I nominated her as I was impressed with how supportive and positive she was as she helped me during a project. She created an environment where I felt important and could turn to her for help if needed. I knew I had an advocate who wanted to see me excel. During the semester, she followed-up and showed genuine care for me. My understanding of the Healer’s Art has been expanded and deepened thanks to the example of Sabrina Jarvis.”

Dr. Jarvis was touched by the award but the real reward was in the relationship. Of the student’s letter, she said, “It really just touched my heart. You don’t think you’re having that impact on a person, and for her to go to the time and effort and the beautiful words she wrote…that to me was the award.” For Dr. Jarvis it has always been about making connections. “You helped them but the gift is you get to know that person. They’re part of your life, and that to me is what it’s all about.”

 

 

The Healer’s Art in Action: Year Three of The Magic Yarn Project

By Jessica Tanner

The Magic Yarn Project is an organization that has delivered thousands of yarn wigs and crocheted caps to little cancer fighters around the world. There is no shortage to the need for smiles and comfort amid times of hospitals, needles, and pain. But Holly Christensen, the organization’s co-founder, is determined to do what she can to help.

The project, which now includes hundreds of volunteers, began with a simple act of kindness. Christensen was praying for purpose in her life when she got sad news from her friend and fellow graduate Rachel Mecham (both graduated from BYU College of Nursing in ’06). Mecham’s daughter Lily had been diagnosed with lymphoma. For the next six months, their family spent 80 nights in the hospital. Mecham kept a blog on Lily’s progress to update family and friends (including Christensen). An oncologist, Christensen sees the pains of cancer daily. As Lily underwent chemotherapy and lost her hair, Christensen decided to step in and help.

“She wanted to do something and knew she couldn’t take away her cancer or physically be there in the hospital,” relates Mecham. Christensen had recently learned how to crochet and made Lily a beautiful, bright yellow Rapunzel wig. “It really brought a lot of cheer to her and to our family,” says Mecham.

Soon, the project that started with one wig turned into dozens. Mecham knew of more people who could use a wig for their children fighting cancer, and Christensen began asking for volunteers. Three years later, Christensen and her team of Magic Makers host the project in several states with hundreds of volunteers, or Fairy Godmothers, lending helping hands.

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Hundreds of volunteers came to tie yarn to the crocheted caps.

Last week on Saturday, March 16, volunteers gathered at BYU to make these magical princess wigs and superhero caps. Among them were students, faculty, families, and local volunteers. “There are so many people willing to help and get involved and I feel that God works through us,” says Christensen. It has been a joy for us at the BYU College of Nursing to coordinate with The Magic Yarn Project in this endeavor, this year being year three for BYU.

Many nursing students have been involved these past few years. Sixth-semester nursing student Leah Guerrero says, “I love volunteering for The Magic Yarn Project!…I have had several family members diagnosed with cancer and I know how costly wigs can be and how important their wigs meant to them. So I have a lot of respect for this organization because it is all volunteer based and it does not cost a single penny for those who receive a beautiful yarn wig. I cannot imagine what these children go through as they fight cancer, but I hope their wigs are able to lift their spirits and bring a smile to their faces.”

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Magic Makers teach volunteers to style and decorate the wigs before they are sent off.

Wigs made will go to Primary Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House, which offers a home-away-from-home for families with children fighting cancer. A representative from the Ronald McDonald House in Salt Lake City came to share his gratitude and the impact the wigs have on the children. These wigs truly warm the hearts of these little cancer fighters and their families.

On Saturday, our goal was 500 wigs. Together we made 537! Thank you to all Magic Makers and Fairy Godmothers who helped with this great event.

For more information on how to get involved, visit themagicyarnproject.com

 

Students Present Research at Global Health Conference

By Jessica Tanner

Congratulations to the students and faculty who presented at this  year’s Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) in Chicago, March 8 – 10. Students presented poster presentations on research done in Vietnam with Professor Karen Lundberg and Professor Cheryl Corbett. Davin Brown, a sixth-semester nursing student, shares about his research and conference experience.

What was your research about?

“Our poster presentation was on [what] we did on our study abroad in Vietnam,” says Brown. Working with Black Hmong and Red Dzao tribes in northern Vietnam, they researched and taught about local health concerns.  The biggest concern is trafficking, followed by topics such as first aid, hygiene, and sanitation.

The group prepared beforehand to spend two weeks in Vietnam by doing research and preparing lessons. They then took what they had learned to local leaders. “We met with lots of these leaders of the tribal communities the things that we knew.” They taught ways to prevent human trafficking and sanitation techniques, following the teacher’s method. Brown explains, “The idea was they could disseminate that information to their families and tribes.”

What was your most memorable experience in Vietnam?

“Everything,” Brown laughs. How could he choose just one? “We trekked all throughout these valleys with these guides that we had taught these health techniques to, and we lived in their houses and we cooked with them…It was really cool. It was really pretty there, too.”

What happened at the conference?

At the three-day conference, there were several speakers and presenters. Two hours a day was dedicated to poster presentations. Researchers set up their posters in a large, open room and learned from one another. “Everyone could just walk around and ask questions about your poster [and] the research you had done,” Brown explains.

Was there other research you found interesting?

“A couple things stood out to me,” Brown says. “One of them was the keynote speaker…She talked about how corruption in healthcare has caused us to lose trillions of dollars in healthcare throughout the world…It was kind of a call to researchers to say, hey, let’s start researching and learn to combat this huge elephant in the room.” There was also a presentation on Google glasses—a special pair of lenses that allowed one surgeon in L.A. to connect to a surgeon in Africa. “The L.A. surgeon can see everything the African surgeon can see and hear and is able to walk him through certain techniques.” That is truly forward-thinking technology.

How did other attendees respond to your research?

“We were one of the few groups that was just undergraduate nursing students,” Brown explains. “For the most part, they were all PhDs or MDs. So that was pretty neat to be there; they all thought it was a neat thing that we did.”

At BYU, presenting research is not just for graduate students. The College of Nursing focuses on helping undergraduate students gain experience through research, mentored learning, and studies abroad. It helps them have opportunities like Brown’s—being able to present research and learn first-hand from other medical researchers across the nation. Students enter into the workforce better prepared to serve.

 

Did you miss Night of Nursing? Here’s a recap!

By Jessica Tanner

Hundreds of nursing alumni. Forty locations. One epic event. Last Thursday, March 7, 2019, was our sixth annual Night of Nursing. Alumni assembled across the country in one great night of fun, laughter, prizes, and inspiring messages.

In case you missed it, here is our recap from the Provo location!

The games. Who can forget Dean Ravert playing “pin the bandage on the wound” or Assistant Professor Dr. Bret Lyman scoring at Operation? Students and alumni also tossed beanbags into a giant Operation board for prizes. Is there a better way to spend a rainy Thursday?

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Students and alumni gather to toss beanbags into the giant Operation board.

The mascot. This acrobatic cougar does not just go to athletic events and games. Cosmo put smiles on everyone’s faces at Night of Nursing. He did flips, played operation, and took photos with attendees.

The broadcast. Dean Ravert reported the highlights of 2018, including our students’ exceptional test scores. Our students had a first-time 100% NCLEX-RN licensure and the American Nurses Credentialing Center certifying exam in 2018. The dean also shared updates, such as the announcement of new faculty and a hint at an upcoming rise in rank from the U.S. News & World Report. (Follow this link to see what it is!) Intermountain Healthcare also presented a gift of $50,000 for student scholarships.

During the broadcast, we connected with alumni from classes 1956 to 2018. Nola Jean Davis Whipple graduated in the first BYU College of Nursing class of 1956. Since then she has worked in surgery and heart surgery units.  She established the first nursing office of the U.S. embassy in Guatemala and served in the U.S. embassy medical unit in Kenya. Last week she said hello from St. George, where she now lives.

“We started out giving shots to oranges and then we had to practice on each other,” Whipple remembers. “The school has improved humongously, wonderfully…I am proud to see what it’s become.” Marilyn Wallen, an alum from the class of 1966, also said hello from St. George. “And I still work!” Wallen reported enthusiastically. This earned a cheer from our live audience.

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Eva Stonemen, a former faculty member, addresses the audience with Public Relations Supervisor Jeff Peery.

Professor emeritus Eva Stoneman, who graduated from BYU College of Nursing in 1959, attended the Provo location. She worked for 50 years and has attended every single Night of Nursing event. “Nursing’s a wonderful field,” she added. We are with you on that, Eva! We applaud these women for their contributions and example.

The raffle. It was likely the most intense event of the evening. Each student, alumni, or faculty sat with a ticket or two clutched in their hands, wondering if their number would be called. Throughout the event, they cheered each other on as they won prizes. Several attendees left with goodies, including the ever-coveted BYU College of Nursing socks and Dr. Renea Beckstrand’s homemade fudge.

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A nursing student receives a license plate cover as a prize!

The service. Students, faculty, and alumni brought pairs of socks to donate. We collaborated with Sigma Theta Tau International to provide socks for local refugees.

The alumni. Outside of Provo, alumni gathered to connect in 39 locations. Night of Nursing is wonderful because each area is unique – some had a few alumni and others had dozens, some played games and others served dinner. The important thing is simply getting to know each other. One alum says, “Thanks for creating an opportunity for alumni to connect in communities throughout the U.S.!” Another reported, “The host did a great job of decorating and making us feel welcome.”

One host writes, “We each saw others around the country that we know or went to school with. Thank you for this event to keep us connected!” This is why we love Night of Nursing. The food and prizes are nice, but the friendships we make and keep are much sweeter.

Night of Nursing will return on March 5, 2020!

 

 

Upgrading the Nursing Learning Center: The Talent Behind the Technology

By Jessica Tanner

Since 2014, students have benefited from the Mary Jane Rawlinson Geertsen Nursing Learning Center thanks to the Fritz B. Burns Foundation. Students spend weeks practicing isolated skills (such as inserting an IV or taking blood pressure) and then bring their knowledge together to practice a simulated encounter with a patient. Advanced technology makes facilities like the NLC possible. But living in such a high-speed, ever-changing environment reveals an important truth: technology has a short lifespan. Over the summer of 2018, the NLC was given new cameras, microphones, and accompanying software that promotes higher levels of experience and feedback.

“A leading University simulation center in Provo, Utah just underwent a massive upgrade of their healthcare simulation facilities, thanks to Level 3 Healthcare,” writes healthysimulation.com. Level 3 Healthcare implemented SIMStation software to update visual and audio technology as well as some of the manikins. (Two new manikins were added during the upgrade.) These updates “[allow] for the seamless integration between patient exam rooms and simulation training rooms.”

BYU NLC update healthysimulation

Photo courtesy of healthysimulation.com

Teachers can now have more control over student experience in the simulation labs. Updates include, “a state-of-the-art facility complete with high-definition PTZ [pan-tilt-zoom] cameras, wireless microphones, full tablet connectivity, [manikin] control, vital sign capture, and voice modulation devices.” Faculty can speak through a microphone that disguises their voice to help students learn patient interaction. “Students learn to speak to a patient, teach them why they are doing what they are doing, and teachers can talk back,” explains NLC supervisor Kristen Whipple.

Though students are given a report of the “previous shift” for the patient and can access patient history through electronic records, teachers can ensure that students encounter the unexpected. The control of manikin response pushes nursing students to think on their feet.

Whipple recalls when a camera was simply draped on its cord over a divider in the lab. Now, student encounters are filmed with the updated video capture and sent to one of four debriefing rooms, where other students can observe. Because of this, students can learn from one another and receive feedback from their professors.

The NLC focuses on providing life-like experience, and to do that the facility needs the latest technology. Thanks to the recent renovations, students can get the experience they need.

Click here to read the original post from Healthy Simulation, and here to see Level 3 Healthcare’s case study of the upgrade.

 

Utah Advising Association Unites Behind BYU’s Cara Wiley

By Jessica Tanner

Students everywhere benefit from a group of experts who help guide them in their path to graduation. They help students learn about courses, internships, and opportunities that will give them invaluable experience. They are academic advisers.

The Utah Advising Association is a network of academic advisers throughout the state. They meet monthly to address current issues and interests and look forward to an annual two-day conference. This year the organization is headed by BYU’s Cara Wiley. Wiley is the College of Nursing’s Advisement Center Supervisor and has served as a committee member, been the BYU representative, and was president elect last year. This year the committee nominated her to lead as president.

Wiley takes up the responsibility with enthusiasm and looks forward to improving where she can. “If I’m ever in charge of things, I like changing things up,” she says. This year she plans to implement some changes in the conference—introducing mini presentations and poster presentations as opposed to only having 50-minute sessions. It will allow for more information and variety, as well as train academic advisers in public speaking.

“We are in a caring profession, just like nursing.”

At the conference, advisers will speak on a wide range of topics. “It’s all centered around helping students…and being able to be an effective adviser,” Wiley says. Presenters speak on topics such as bias, diversity, and communication skills as well as helping students manage stress. Speakers also encourage advisers to understand their own self-care. Wiley explains, “We are in a caring profession, just like nursing. And it’s hard to care for others if you aren’t doing well yourself.” Advisers can look forward to learning more about these and other topics by coming to the UAA conference in May.

There are many reasons Wiley loves this opportunity to lead UAA. For one, she is a planner at heart. “I love planning things and planning events,” she shares. Another benefit is networking with fellow advisers.  “It’s good to know what’s going on at the other universities across the state and the problems they’re facing,” she says. “We share our best practices with each other.” Because of UAA, advisers throughout the state can teach and learn from one another.

Wiley also finds joy in representing BYU. “It’s nice to work on relations with other schools,” she says. She also loves being involved in training, looks forward to getting more leadership experience, and enjoys the variety UAA adds to her life. “If you do the same thing day-in and day-out it could get boring.” She looks forward to the challenges and growth that come with the job. Next year Wiley will be the past president, who advises the current president in their responsibilities. For now, however, Wiley will continue make her mark.