Category Archives: Refugees

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!

 

 

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Serving Beyond the Y

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Merrill (left) and Moore (right). Photo courtesy of Moore.

By Quincey Taylor

Cookies and milk, movies and popcorn, picnics and watermelon. Some things just go together. The same goes for Heather Merrill and Atalie Moore, BYU nursing alumni and best friends. These two have big plans and big hearts. In March, they will be volunteering in Greece to help with the treatment of a growing refugee population. They will volunteer for DocMobile, a company who gives care to those in need from the back of a van.

Moore and Merrill both graduated from the BYU nursing program in December of 2017. They have enjoyed gaining experience in the medical field since graduation. However, they wanted to find a way to do more. While in school, they had gone on a study abroad to Ecuador and had a chance to serve people there. Both fell in love with the chance to assist international populations in a sustainable way.

The desire to serve refugees in particular was inspired by Merrill’s interest in the Syrian refugee crisis. This war is different than any other we have seen in history, Merrill states, because “they are specifically targeting civilian areas in Syria, like hospitals and schools.” The devastation of the Syrian population has been widespread and drawn out, driving them to neighboring countries for survival

The war in the Middle East has been a seemingly never-ending struggle. Merrill worries that these news stories have become commonplace to Americans. She says, “Every day in Syria people are still getting bombed and it’s created a huge crisis.” Merrill and Moore have a goal of raising awareness to this issue as well as motivating other volunteers to find ways to serve.

They realize that it’s not feasible for everyone who wants to help to go abroad, but luckily there are many opportunities for people to volunteer locally. Merrill says, “Usually the best impact you can make is close by. I love going abroad and helping people but I also hesitate because you have to be aware of the impact you’re going to make.” Moore adds, “In the end, not everyone can go on trips like we’re going on. That’s okay. You don’t have to.”

To find a way to start, they recommend using resources like the Just Serve app, which includes different opportunities to help refugees in areas as close as Salt Lake City.

Moore had their plan confirmed in her mind after an experience while working at the Utah Valley Hospital. A patient of hers was a refugee from the Congo, and they were communicating by typing into an iPad and translating. She says about the experience, “I got talking to her at the beginning of the day, and I asked her about her family and how long have she had been here. She just said, ‘Well, my sister and I were able to escape but the rest of my family was killed.’ I can’t even imagine. That’s her reality. We have no concept of that. We have no idea. That’s just her life. She just has to keep moving forward and find a way to continue on and I think that moment just solidified my desire to help with the refugee crisis. We need to be doing something. There’s such a need.”

Merrill feels that, as a healthcare professional, “You need to be aware of not only the refugee crisis but all of the different crises or hard situations for people around the world. You need to stay aware of current events so that you can raise awareness and help.”