Category Archives: family

Student Spotlight: Angela Nickerl

By Mindy Longhurst

Angela with little girl

Image of Angela Nickerl with a girl from her Ghana public and global health nursing course practicum. Image courtesy of Nickerl.

Being a non-traditional student (a student 30 years of age and older) at BYU can sometimes be challenging. But, College of Nursing fifth semester student, Angela Nickerl loves the experiences she has had as a non-traditional student. Nickerl is older than most BYU students, but loves the opportunity to share the wisdom she has gained throughout her life.

Ever since Nickerl was in high school she knew that she wanted to become a nurse. She says, “Throughout my experience being a mother in healthcare, I noticed that the nurses made a huge difference and impact on their patients.” Nickerl’s journey to becoming a nurse was very spiritual. She loves to learn about the body. Taking care of someone who is sick is a spiritual experience that brings her closer to God.

Nickerl started taking some nursing prerequisite courses while her family was living in California several years ago. When her family decided to move to Utah, she was able to apply to BYU and the nursing program and was accepted into both.

familyAn image of Nickerl’s children. Image courtesy of Nickerl.

At the time that she started at BYU (January 2016) three of her children were going to college. Now, all five of Nickerl’s children are currently going to college. This helps Nickerl to be able to relate more to her children. Nickerl explains, “It is interesting having my children in school with me at the same time. It can be stressful because we are all stressed about midterms and finals at the same time. But, this has helped me to be able to relate to my children so much more!”

Overall, Nickerl has enjoyed her time within the nursing program. She expounds, “I love the nursing program at BYU! Often in the middle of a busy semester it is difficult to find positive things because you’re tired. However, in spite of being tired, one of my favorite parts of the program is that our professors truly embrace our school motto, learning the Healer’s art. We are taught that in every setting, we should care for people the way the Savior would. Reading a nursing textbook and studying for the NCLEX is going to be the same regardless of where you study, but at BYU we are taught our nursing skills from a different perspective. Not only are we encouraged to view our patients differently, but our professors model it by treating us that way. I think they are phenomenal examples of what they teach about the Savior.”

group photoImage of Nickerl with other nursing students. Image courtesy of Nickerl.

Nickerl has some advice for those who are non-traditional students. She says, “Being a non-traditional student, I feel like I value what I am learning more because it really is my choice to be here. Sometimes when you are younger you do it because it is the social norm. As someone older, this is not the right thing I am supposed to be doing with my life. A lot of people are often surprised when they find out that I am a college student. I am grateful for the things that I am learning, because I am choosing to be here.”

Another lesson she has learned is the importance of balancing her schedule. She explains, “If you absolutely know that you are supposed to be doing school and you know that the Lord is supporting you in it, then it all fits. If you are doing what the Lord wants you to do, if you are putting your priorities in order, if you are attending the temple, serving in your church calling, if you are putting your family time first, then Heavenly Father makes it fit. That is something that I have felt over and over again. And I feel like my relationship with the Savior has been strengthened as a result of nursing school.”

In the future, Nickerl hopes to become an oncology nurse.

 

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DAISY Award Winner: Bret Lyman

Bret Lyman

Bret Lyman with award. Photo courtesy of Zak Gowans.

By Quincey Taylor

The DAISY Foundation is a non-profit organization, established in 1999, by the family of Patrick Barnes. Barnes passed away from complications of an autoimmune disease called Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura at the age of 33. Before he passed, his family saw the dedicated service and kindness offered to him by the nurses responsible for him. After his death, the Barnes family founded DAISY—an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System—to honor their son and express gratitude to exceptional nurses around the world.

The DAISY Award is given to a faculty member at the BYU College of Nursing twice a year. Assistant professor Dr. Bret Lyman was nominated and selected to receive the award this fall semester. He teaches the capstone course and the undergraduate ethics course. Students are profoundly impacted by his dedication to truly learning the Healer’s art and teaching that to his pupils.

Bret Lyman 2

Bret Lyman and his family. Photo courtesy of Zak Gowans.

In the nomination, one student described Lyman as “fully invested in bettering healthcare through both improving the hospital system in his research and molding compassionate nurses in his teaching.” The student told the story of how during their capstone semester, his or her financial aid fell through and he or she became homeless. The student described Lyman’s compassionate service, how he “took the time to listen and was able to connect with the college to find resources so I could finish. This is when I really understood that he cares about the success of his students. Teaching is not just a job for him.”

As this story illustrates, Bret Lyman truly practices the Healer’s art. Lyman finds inspiration from the Savior, and says, “I think when we keep the Master Healer, Jesus Christ, in mind it will keep us grounded. He helps us move past some of our personal imperfections and personal struggles. You know that He is going to be there to help cover that gap between what we can do with our best effort and what needs to be done.”

Watch the video to learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4vHTW2M0ak

Michael Scott Receives the DAISY In Training Award

By Mindy Longhurst

Michael 2 - Edit - IMG_4959 (2)Image of Michael Scott receiving the DAISY In Training Award.

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.

The DAISY In Training Award is given to an extraordinary nursing student twice a year at the College of Nursing at Brigham Young University. Michael Scott received this award from the nomination he received. A student says, “Michael is one of the most compassionate people I have met. He shows compassion for his patients as well as for his fellow students. He is always willing to take the time to explain difficult concepts to his peers. Michael is kind to everyone that he meets, and he is always there to cheer you on when you are feeling discouraged. He is very involved in the nursing discipline, and has served in leadership roles in SNA as well as participated in research with faculty. Not only is he intelligent and skilled, but he truly exemplifies the Healer’s art in the way that he interacts with his patients and peers.”

Michael 4 - Edit - IMG_4995 (2)Image of Scott with his family.

Scott explains that before he was in the nursing program he was a firefighter and worked as an EMT. He felt like he needed to do more to help his patients, and was inspired one day as he watched nurses love and take care of their patients. He decided that he wanted to become a nurse, so he moved his family across the country to obtain a nursing degree from the College of Nursing.

The journey that Scott has taken to get to this point is incredible. Scott explains, “I was inspired by someone who spoke during General Conference. He spoke about how we should treat people with love and respect. We should treat people the way that their parents would treat them. I now think about this whenever I am with a patient.”

Scott continues to set an example and love those around him in the nursing program and with the patients he interacts with.

Watch our video about Scott earning the DAISY In Training Award: https://youtu.be/aLW4UOh0OUU

Three Generations of BYU Nurses

By Mindy Longhurst

Rasmussens

Image of the Trapnell family at Lauren’s wedding. From left to right: Nancy Trapnell, Lauren Young and Laurie Rasmussen. Image courtesy of Rasmussen.

Nancy Trapnell (BS ’65), Laurie Rasmussen (BS ’90) and Lauren Young (semester five) are three generations of BYU College of Nursing graduates. The Healer’s art runs in the blood of these women; as all of them have gone on to serve others within healthcare. This love of service is a bonding desire that grandmother, mother and daughter all share.

Each of them were drawn to nursing for personal reasons. This legacy started when Trapnell was a little girl. She says, “Ever since I was little I wanted to be a nurse. I read a lot of Nancy Nurse Golden Books.” She studied nursing at BYU and went on to have a career that she thoroughly enjoyed.

Following her mother’s example, Rasmussen decided to pursue nursing as well. She says, “I grew up watching my mom as a nurse and the satisfaction that she felt at work. She then came home and talked about her career. That is what inspired me.” Rasmussen now works at a surgical center helping patients with same day recovery.

Following suite, Young began studying nursing as the third generation. The influence of her mother and grandmother inspired her. Young says, “I followed the same path. I really liked how my mom and grandma always helped our family when anything was going on. They were always helping neighbors. I felt like a nursing career was a great way that I could be a Mom and be actively involved with my family and community.” She hopes to work in the ICU after she graduates in April 2019.

Nancy at BYU

Image of Trapnell when she was a nursing student at BYU. Image courtesy of Rasmussen.

Trapnell loves to talk to her granddaughter and see the changes that have happened in the BYU College of Nursing since she has been there. Trapnell explains, “When I was a student, nothing was disposable. We had to sharpen needles and clean the gloves and bedpans. We lived by the LDS Hospital in a dorm. That was a lot of fun because our class got so close! We still are very close.”

However, one thing that has not changed is the college’s mission to teach its students the Healer’s art. Young explains, “I have been able to learn so much by learning nursing with a gospel perspective. It has just been really eye opening to understand how much God really is involved in our lives and how much the Savior sacrificed for all of us. I can think of an instance just last week while I was at clinical. I took care of a patient that was dirty, stinky, drug addicted and homeless. My first impression was that I did not want to take care of the patient. But, I really did have to step back and think ‘I have been taught to serve everyone I have come in contact with as a nurse.’ I feel in those situations it is so much easier to think that I can be like the Savior; I can implement the Healer’s art. Treating everyone with kindness and love is exactly what the Savior would do.”

Trapnell currently works as a hospice nurse, where she learned the beauty of the Healer’s art after spending a Christmas day with a patient rather than her family. She describes, “Two Christmases ago, I got a call that someone had fallen at the nursing home I worked at. They called me in to help assess the patient. At first, I was frustrated because I had to leave my family. When I went inside, I discovered this patient had fallen on the ground and broken his hip and I was able to give him pain medication to make him comfortable. I stayed for about an hour and a half waiting for his family to come. This was one of the nicest Christmases I had because I gave up something for myself in order to give to someone else.”

BYU changed the way that these women were able to live the gospel and learn about nursing through the lens of the Savior.

Trapnell explains, “I grew up in a home that was not very active in the church. When it was time for me to choose a college, my father told me that I needed to come to BYU for at least a year. When I came here, I absolutely loved it! I loved the spiritual aspect. I just loved BYU! BYU taught all of us to always be honest. It was able to set me for life. I was able to be married in the temple and continue faithfully in the Church for the rest of my life.”

Rasmussen was influenced by her mother’s love for BYU, and was raised by parents who were big BYU fans. She says, “I grew up thinking that BYU was great, and growing up in Arizona, I knew that is where I wanted to go. I remember it was hard to get into the nursing program, but I was able to get in. I loved the clinical experience and the feeling in the nursing program. Everyone is united and supports each other. I love BYU!”

iv

Image of Young while learning how to insert an IV. Image courtesy of Rasmussen.

Continuing the legacy, Young came to BYU to study after a year at SUU. BYU was always in her backyard, and that is where all her friends wanted to go. She decided to attend her freshman year at SUU and says, “While there, I missed being surrounded by people who believed the way that I believed. Having professors that understand what I believe makes a difference. They teach here differently because they make it applicable to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I think it took me getting away to realize that I am lucky to have this so close to home. I found my place at BYU when I was accepted into the Nursing program. I feel like I will not just be a better nurse, but I will leave here being a better person because of BYU.”

As a side note, Rasmussen is married to Assistant teaching professor Ryan Rasmussen. To learn more about his latest project, visit https://byunursing.wordpress.com/2018/09/12/improving-communication-in-the-trauma-room/.

Alumna Receives the President’s Volunteer Service Award

By Mindy Longhurst

pence and swensenImage of Melissa Swensen with Second Lady, Karen Pence. Image courtesy of Pence’s Twitter.

BYU College of Nursing alumna, Melissa Swensen (BS’99) received the President’s Volunteer Service Award in April! She received the award from Second Lady, Karen Pence, from Pence’s office on the White House grounds.

The President’s Volunteer Service Award is given to members of the community who exemplify a remarkable amount of service hours for a cause or organization. There are different requirements for the different levels of awards (children, teens, adults). Swensen received the bronze President’s Volunteer Service Award for her 100+ hours of service she has done in a 12 month time period.

Swensen volunteers as a nurse with the American Red Cross to help those at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Swensen works with those who have served our country who are currently suffering from PTSD or TBI.

awardThe President’s Volunteer Service Award. Image courtesy of Pence’s Twitter.

The President’s Volunteer Service Award comes with a certificate, an award pin, medallion or coin. The award also comes with a letter from the President of the United States.

Pence even mentioned Swensen on her Twitter page saying, “As part of National Volunteer Week, had the privilege of presenting the President’s Volunteer Service Award to military spouse, Melissa Swensen. She volunteers as a nurse w/the @RedCross at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence @Fort_Belvoir. Congrats! You are amazing!”

guestsSwensen with guests. Image courtesy of Pence’s Twitter.

The volunteer work she does for those who need it really is amazing. But, what is even more amazing is that during her time she has volunteered, Swensen is also getting her psychiatric DNP at George Mason University. In addition, she is a mother of five children and her husband serves in the military! Melissa Swensen really is an amazing lady. Congratulations!

Healthy Back to School Week

By Mindy Longhurst

back-to-school-conceptual-creativity-207658This week is Healthy Back to School Week! Since August is coming to a close, school is fast approaching. This week is all about getting prepared and ready for the new school year to start. Below are some tips to make sure your kids are ready.

Healthy lunches

Get some food ready for some healthy school lunches and meals. Kids love to eat and it helps them to be able to focus in class when they are eating a healthy balanced diet.

School physicals

Many schools will require their students to receive physical check-ups to make sure that the children are healthy and are up to date on their immunizations. Along with school physicals, make sure your athletes receive a sports physical as well.

Find a new physician if you have moved

If you moved during the summer, make sure to find a physician in your local area. It is much easier to take the time to find a doctor now before school starts.

Start going to bed earlier

About a week or two before school starts make sure that you start slowly getting your kids on a regular sleep schedule. Have them start going to bed earlier and waking up earlier so when school starts they are used to a regular routine.

Review emergency plan

Before the start of the school year, make sure to review (and if needed revise) your family’s emergency plan. That way your children will know what to do if an emergency happens while they are at school. Have a copy of the emergency plan put in each child’s backpack.

Set aside some bonding time

Between the back to school shopping and preparing for the school year, make sure to set aside some family bonding time. If you need some ideas, visit our recent article about family fun month https://byunursing.wordpress.com/2018/08/13/family-fun-month/.

Let Your Light Shine

By Daniel R. Smith

Daniel SmithDaniel Smith speaking at August 2018 convocation.

In her general conference address, Sharon Eubank tells a story of how two innovative onlookers used their light to save the lives of two young boys caught in a rip current in Panama City Beach in Florida. As soon as Roberta Ursrey saw her two young sons screaming for help 100 yards from the beach, many other people jumped in the water to save the boys. However, their attempts to rescue the boys were unsuccessful and soon there were nine people struggling to keep their heads above the water until Jessica Simmons and her husband formed an 80-person human chain to save the others. It must have been amazing to see all those strangers coming together to help in that rescue. In order for this rescue to be a success, someone had to be different and raise their voice. Someone had to turn on their light. This is what we have been taught in Brigham Young University’s College of Nursing.

Through different channels we all decided to become nurses. This idea became a dream, which will soon become reality, and has in so many ways already become a calling for us. As we have learned the Healer’s Art, each of us has learned to turn on his or her light.

Each of us celebrated as we read our acceptance letters. With each semester that passed, our competitive natures changed from “How can I survive in this class?” to “How can we help each other?” to “How can I learn the Healer’s art to better care for my patients?”

We have all made sacrifices and seen success while learning the Healer’s Art. We have learned to celebrate with those that need celebrating and lift up others going through difficult circumstances. This is the heart of nursing.

One of the unique things about nursing is that it allows for us to choose from a variety of different fields in which we may turn on that light. Each of us will take different paths to find our niche. Some of us will end up in long-term care, medical/surgical units, pediatrics, labor and delivery, emergency care, intensive care, management, advanced practice, and many other areas. No matter which specialty we end up in, we will all spend the years to come developing the Healer’s Art.

Healing goes beyond fixing a medical diagnosis. BYU has taught us to help others heal spiritually, mentally, and emotionally as well as physically.

Nurses are special people. Though few in numbers, their light is a great influence that shines throughout the world. I would go as far to say that everyone in this room has been effected in some way by a nurse.

For me, it was a nurse that told me I could run that half marathon two-and-a-half weeks after being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

It was nurses that got my wife and me through the difficult week that my wife was hospitalized due to complications in her pregnancy. And it was my fellow nursing students that helped support me in the months that followed.

Nurses are like light houses in the storm. They care, guide, and give hope. It is my hope that each of us lets our lights so shine as we go into the nursing profession.

Congratulations class of 2018!

Daniel Smith spoke at the August 2018 college convocation.