Category Archives: Petr Ruda

Opening Mouths and Opening Doors: Assistant Teaching Professor Petr Ruda Interviewed on National Czech News Channel

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Ruda and a well-known Czech journalist discuss city celebrations.

By Quincey Taylor

The Czech Republic might be one of the last places you would expect to be adorned in American flags. However, annually the streets are covered in these flags during a nationwide celebration. Each year in the Czech Republic, the citizens, as well as national leaders, commemorate the anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe.

This year, on May 8, 2019, celebrations broke out remembering the 74th anniversary. American flags hang on street corners, and a parade of recreated war vehicles roll down the main street. Participants have the chance to travel back in time, having the opportunity to climb inside a tank or old fashioned jeep.

There are only a handful of veterans from that time period that are still alive, but these days their sons and grandsons and granddaughters dress the part and participate in the parade. They represent the American, Belgian, and French military that liberated that particular area.

For years during the communist reign of the Czech Republic, citizens were not permitted to know that Americans helped liberate a portion of the country. That changed, however, after the Velvet Revolution in 1989, which was a non-violent transition of power ending the one party rule in Czechoslovakia. Now the country celebrates those brave individuals that freed them from oppression.

In the middle of these festivities, a small group of American students, members of the Czech Republic section of the clinical practicum for the public and global health nursing course, marvel at the sight. Nursing students from Brigham Young University watch the manifestation of this people’s love and respect for America. It was then that assistant teaching professor Petr Ruda, who was born in the Czech Republic, was approached by a reporter for the national evening news channel.

This woman came up to Ruda, intrigued by their group, and asked if she could have a short interview with him. He was nervous when he found out what a big platform she reported for. She asked him about his group, why they were in the Czech Republic, and his general thoughts on the celebration. It was a wonderful opportunity for Ruda to share information about the university and build trust with the Czech people.

When asked how it was being on national television, Ruda says, “The students were just so excited…I was getting phone calls from all my family. I got phone calls from all the clinical instructors in the hospital where we were at, not to mention we were invited to deliver newborn kits to this public hospital.”

This was not the first time BYU students have gained attention in the Czech Republic, however. Two years ago, Ruda was interviewed by a journalist for a local newspaper about the organization he worked for. He never found out what happened with the interview, until a woman told them she remembered them from the article.

In the end, the experience ended up opening doors to Ruda and his students. Their house keeper prepared them a special breakfast in honor of the occasion and everyone recognized the name Brigham Young University.

The best outcome occurred when the students were participating in a health fair in a village with little Austrian-style cottages. They were openly welcomed to participate in the health fair after the officer remembered them from TV. He said, “I saw you on TV and I read about you in a newspaper! I know quite a bit about you. We will be so honored to do the health fair with you. Tell us what you need, and I will arrange it for you.”

Ruda remarks, “Everything fell into place. We were super blessed.”

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Petr Ruda

By Quincey Taylor

Assistant teaching professor Petr Ruda (BS ’09, MS ’15) never planned on becoming a nurse; he did not even originally plan to attend Brigham Young University. However, after a long journey that took him from the Czech Republic to an LDS mission in California and later to Provo, he found the place where he believes God wants him to be.

Ruda grew up in the city of Jablonec, Czech Republic. After joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the age of 19, he decided to serve a mission. His assignment to San Diego ended up changing his life.

As a missionary, Ruda met many friends and companions who would influence his future. One such individual was a companion named Elder Cook, whose father had heard about Ruda and wanted to give him an opportunity.

Cook’s father called Ruda and asked if he was interested in attending Brigham Young University. Ruda says about the experience, “He wanted to know my decision the very next day. I had only been at home for a couple of months, so it was difficult because he was asking me to leave home again. However, the answer was yes.” Cook’s father generously helped Ruda with the application process and tuition.

At home in the Czech Republic, Ruda had a career working as an accountant. He came to Utah intending to study accounting. However, this decision did not feel right, and he looked for another option. He met fellow student Jared D. Johnson (BS ’06), who was the TA for his linguistics class. Johnson was studying in the nursing program and urged Ruda to take the introductory course. It was a good fit. After graduation, Ruda went on to work at the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, which he enjoyed immensely.

Nursing has completely changed the way Ruda sees the world around him. He says, “I have tools, I have thoughts, I have education, and I have training that I can use daily. I can help my family, my neighbors, and even a stranger to ease whatever conditions they might have. That’s the biggest blessing of nursing.”

Ruda wanted to find a way to influence the next generation of nursing students at BYU, so he applied to a position as an adjunct faculty member helping with simulation labs. When the opportunity became a full-time position, he took the chance and applied.

Ruda is finishing his second year teaching at the College of Nursing. Among his teaching assignments, he oversees a public and global health nursing course practicum to his home country each spring term. He works to maintain relationships with Czech contacts and to give his students the best experience possible. Ruda is currently working on translating a list of fundamental skills that nursing students learn to share with Czech facilities.

Outside of work, Ruda is a selfproclaimed moviegoer. He enjoys spending time with his wife, Jamie, and their Maltipoo named Winter. He loves to play with his dog no matter what time of day it is.

One of his current hobbies is making homemade soaps. He got into this hobby one day when he was at work. He realized he did not have any personal hobbies, and he wanted to change that. Ruda went online and searched “hobbies,” and the first result he saw was soap making. He promptly bought a book and began making soaps, which has become one of his passions. He says, “It’s important to have hobbies outside of work because you need to find time for yourself. That’s what soap making does for me. It brings joy to other people and me. That makes me automatically happy.”

Giving soaps as a gift, especially during the Christmas season, instead of the regular sweet treats appeals to Ruda’s desire to promote nursing in his everyday life. He says, “As a nurse practitioner, it makes me feel better inside because I can give them something that’s not unhealthy, and it lasts a long time.”

Experiencing the Czech Republic

By Mindy Longhurst

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The 2018 Czech Republic public and global health nursing course practicum class.

College of Nursing students at Brigham Young University are able to learn more about the Czech Republic’s healthcare system during the Czech Republic public and global health nursing course practicum. For three and a half weeks the nursing students are able to learn and experience the Czech Republic. Formerly a part of communist Czechoslovakia (a satellite state of the Soviet Union), the Czech Republic and its healthcare system have undergone dramatic changes since the country became independent in 1993. The healthcare system is socialized, so it is required for all citizens of the Czech Republic to have health insurance.

Assistant teaching professor, Petr Ruda, is a native of the Czech Republic. He loves the opportunity to be able to teach the nursing students about the culture and let them experience elements of his home country. He explains, “The overall experience was great! All of the students were excited to try new things and be exposed to new environments and cultures. They were able to learn about traditions and learn about the memorials that we visited.”

One of the biggest challenges for the students is the language barrier. Ruda expounds, “The language is difficult, it is a Slavic language. In the bigger cities most people speak English, then we go to the medium sized city where they speak less English, we end at a small village where there is not a lot of people who speak English fluently.” This can sometimes make it difficult for the students to fully understand what is happening. But, this amazing opportunity allows the nursing students to be able to depend on their smiles and gestures to explain what they are doing and how they are feeling. Relying on their nonverbal skills teaches the nursing students the importance of body language, a vital way to express communication.

ptr 2.0Assistant teaching professor, Petr Ruda, in the Czech Republic.

While in the Czech Republic the students work closely with the local nurses and are able to learn more about the complementary and alternative medicine treatments that are used regularly in the Czech Republic. Ruda says, “As part of the health insurance, you can qualify to receive a coupon or receive paperwork for a special treatment. The treatment is done in localized, special clinics. What that means, if you have really bad asthma, you may be advised by your primary care provider to spend some time in a certain area that is specialized for asthma patients.”

For the first time this past spring, the 10 students on the Czech Republic public and global health nursing course practicum were able to attend the Auschwitz concentration camp from WWII. This experience was able to give the students a greater perspective and taught them more about the holocaust. Ruda explains, “We go to help our students understand what has happened and how to stop it from happening again. Auschwitz was the darkest place I have ever seen and experienced. Auschwitz and the holocaust needs to be told and explained to the nursing students. It needs to be taught and shared so this never happens again. The concentration camps still effect those who are in the Czech Republic.”

Another experience that these students are able to receive is the ability to teach the nurses and local nursing students about the healthcare in the United States. Compared to the United States, the nurses in the Czech Republic are understaffed. One student says, “The biggest difference we saw was a lack of nurses. And the nurses who were there had huge workloads and appeared to be underpaid.” In the United States, the nurses have more flexibility in patient care, while in the Czech Republic nurses are more restricted on patient care.

Getting to know a different culture helped the students not only to gain perspective on different countries’ healthcare systems but also to appreciate its citizens, customs and historical events. The students and faculty members who are able to attend the Czech Republic public and global health nursing course practicum, leave the country feeling like they better understand a different culture and are grateful for the many different experiences they had.