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Student Spotlight: Laura Fisher

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Fisher and her husband; Photo courtesy of Fisher

By Lyndee Johns

Fifth-semester student Laura Fisher lives for the high-pressure situations.

“I’ve only had two codes on my floor,” says Fisher, referring to the medical oncology floor at the Intermountain Medical Center where she works as a CNA. “But I get a clear head when a code comes on and I just kind of know what to do and I’m ready to do it.”

A Utah native, Fisher’s interest in nursing sparked while attending Waterford, a liberal-arts centered private school. Recognizing that she had a multitude of interests, Fisher asked her parents for recommendations on what to focus on. Her parents said that she would make a great nurse. After considering it, Fisher decided to focus on nursing.

Originally her path led her to Westminster College, where she was accepted into the nursing program directly after high school. “I learned a lot, but at the end of the first year, I didn’t feel right about it,” Fisher says.

With five months to go before Fisher’s mission, her mother encouraged her to take a spring semester at BYU. It was then that Fisher discovered her love for BYU, enjoying the uplifting environment and the opportunities to learn at a deeper level.

After her mission to Mexico, Fisher returned to BYU. But her plans hit a temporary snag when she applied for the nursing program and didn’t get in.

But a week later, she received a call telling her that a spot had opened up.

“I was in the middle of Spanish class, and I was sobbing in joy,” says Fisher.  “And I was like ‘This is it . . . Heavenly Father has been directing me this way.’”

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Fisher (second to the left) and her clinical group; Photo courtesy of Fisher

One moment that has stood out to her during her time in the nursing program was the first clinical day. “The night before, I was so scared,” Fisher says. But when she went into the day, determined to do her best, she found herself pleasantly surprised. “I was having a ball. I loved it, and the time went super, super fast.”

When she noticed that one of the other girls was having a hard time, Fisher sat down to reassure her. “I said, ‘You just gotta go, just get through the day, and you’re gonna be glad you did.’ And I think it changed her. And it made me feel good because I was talking to myself through her, you know?”

“I know so much more than I did that first day at clinical. And it’s just going to keep going like that. That’s what nursing is, just always learning. You’re always having to prepare and increase your skills.”

Fisher’s compassion and love of talking to people have also served her well as a CNA. When a terminal patient told her she only had a month to live, Fisher was able to provide some comfort. “She was just like, ‘I haven’t been a good person. Do you think there’s any hope?’ And I got to have a missionary experience. I sat down and shared ‘You know, Heavenly Father loves you, and He’s gonna make it work.’”

In addition to being a CNA and a nursing student, Fisher is also a violinist. She continues to take lessons at BYU, and has been teaching violin for the past seven years.

After graduating, Fisher has no intention of giving her adrenal glands a rest. She plans to work either in the labor delivery room, the emergency room, or the ICU. “I want to do the adrenalin-high stuff while I can,” says Fisher. While not positive about her long-term plans, Fisher considers nurse midwife a definite possibility. “I love working with babies. They’re so pure and helpless, and so you’ve gotta help them,” she says.

Fisher’s advice for incoming nursing students? “Don’t compare yourself to other students. Compare yourself to you . . . There’s always gonna be students smarter than you and better at things than you, students that don’t need to study nearly as much as you do . . . But you’re unique. You got accepted for a reason. Trust in your own ability.”

Night of Nursing: A Tradition of Fun

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By Quincey Taylor

Hundreds of nursing alumni. Forty locations. One night to remember. March 7, 2019, was the College of Nursing’s sixth annual Night of Nursing at Brigham Young University. This event took place on campus but was broadcast to locations across the country, connecting nursing alumni through a night of fun, laughter, prizes, and inspiring messages.

The idea for this event was sparked to help nursing alumni throughout the nation stay connected to the college while also learning of other nursing individuals in their communities for support and more networking opportunities.

The evening focused on recruited hosts inviting nursing alumni and friends to their home; many sites joined a conference call to learn about current college happenings. Through the video broadcast, each location could view the others, see other participants, and reminisce about university experiences. The message originated on campus and featured a message from Dean Patricia Ravert.

Four hundred and thirty-four BYU alumni, nursing alumni, and friends of the College of Nursing at Brigham Young University came together to create friendships. With participants at so many different locations celebrating, this year’s gatherings was the largest collective college-sponsored alumni event to date.

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One attendee sharing feedback on a post-event survey said, “We liked seeing those from far away cities. We saw others around the country that we know or went to school with. Thank you for this event to keep us connected!” Another alum wrote, “I loved being able to connect to so many locations and see classmates in other areas!”

Plan to join a party next year on March 5, 2020. The broadcast will feature Dr. Sandra Rogers (BS ’74), former college dean and current international vice president at Brigham Young University; she is also chair of the BYU Women’s Conference. Her message of humor, deep insights, and a powerful testimony will only be available to those participating in a broadcast watch party.

The college is also partnering with BYU–Idaho Nursing to invite their nursing alumni across the nation to participate in their community. This unique collaboration will strengthen both alumni groups as they share the same values, profession, and sponsoring organization of their universities.

Hosts Make Night of Nursing Come Alive

Hosts offered to make Night of Nursing happen in their hometown, wherever that may be. These hosts, who were not paid or compensated, opened their homes to fellow nurses and BYU alumni out of the goodness of their hearts.

Emily Dougall (BS ’05, MS ’12) of Chesterfield, Michigan, was the gracious host for the Detroit, Michigan area. She was inspired to get involved after seeing pictures of Night of Nursing in other locations in 2018. She says, “After seeing friends and fellow BYU alumni post photos to Facebook last year of their Night of Nursing, I’ll admit I had a little Facebook envy. I felt left out. I decided I wanted to make it happen for my area the following year, even though I knew we’d be a very small gathering.” After making the preparations and using the hosting kit provided by the college, Dougall had great success.

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Thanks to her employer that provided some supplies, Dougall’s hosting skills excelled as the refreshments for the party resembled a medical clinic lab. There was apple juice in specimen cups (urine collection), marshmallows (cotton balls), licorice ropes (blood vessels), cups of candy (morning meds), and homemade brownies.

She says, “There were five of us—three BYU alumna with myself, Jennifer W. Maruri (BS ’00), and Annette J. Dahl (BS ’05), and two additional nursing friends we know from the area. We had a great night and plan to make it happen again next year. The best part was purely the chance to talk and share our varied experiences in career, educational, and family paths. It is so insightful to see how others use their degrees and how they balance life after their degree. If you are wondering whether you should attend or not, do it! Never miss a chance to connect with someone new.”

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Nurses empathize with each other concerning the various experiences that they have in their line of work. By coming together, nurses strengthen one another and show that each is not alone. Heidi W. Schaber (BS ’05), the host for the Spokane, Washington, gathering, says “I think nursing is a unique profession and one where we can make quick bonds with other nurses who have the same love of service and caring for others.”

Holly B. Simmons, a BYU Humanities alumna from Arlington, Virginia, was the host for a Washington, DC, gathering. She believes it is important for nurses to have the chance to meet and says, “It helps to find other nurses who understand the stress; they provide advice and support to each other.” It was impactful to meet with other BYU alumni and share thoughts about their university experiences. She says, “One of our nurses shared several stories about his BYU professors and what they meant to him.”

Each host is given the liberty to customize their gathering of how they choose. Hosts are encouraged to be creative and celebrate nursing in different ways. Simmons used Night of Nursing as an opportunity to teach stake youth about the BYU nursing program. Opportunities like this can be especially impactful to young people who are still thinking about who they want to become.

Another host shared how her guests opened up to each other and connected. She says, “I invited nursing students, and it lifted everyone. My guests ended up sharing testimonies. It was moving.” Even though this host did not originally plan to have a testimony meeting, the Spirit was felt by all who attended, and she was grateful for the event’s flexibility.

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Corrine B. Nelson, a BYU Family, Home, and Social Sciences graduate hosted the event for the Dallas, Texas, area. She went above and beyond by serving dinner while guests shared memories of their time at BYU. Each attendee felt that she cared for and appreciated them, even though she did not study nursing while in school.

Networking is another reason Night of Nursing is so helpful to nursing alumni. Tammy B. Rampton (BS ’05), the host of the Boise, Idaho, gathering, says, “In talking with one another, we were all able to share job opportunities and ideas for different situations and needs as well as just enjoy the feeling of being in a group where you have an instant connection and common interests.” By finding these connections, nurses can find the best opportunities for their careers.

She believes the best part of Night of Nursing was visiting and getting to know other great nurses in her community. “Personally, my favorite part is hearing everyone’s story of what they have done in nursing and life since they graduated. They have worked in a variety of areas and had different ways of balancing nursing with the rest of life.”

College Support

To help make the process as seamless as possible, the College of Nursing staff helps hosts in any way they can. Assistance for advertising as well as potential activities is given to all volunteers.

Once a location is determined, the college sends postcard invitations to alumni in the area informing them of the party details (time, location, host, etc.).

Every host is sent a hosting kit, or party-in-a-box, to make the experience memorable. Included in the kit are BYU swag and prizes, games, balloons, a list of BYU nursing alumni invited to the location, and extra invites. Simmons says her favorite part of the hosting kit was the recipe for BYU mint brownies. Making this dessert brings a little bit of BYU into the event, regardless of where you are.

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“As hosts, party-in-a-box makes us feel supported by BYU—we certainly feel unity and the spirit of the Y,” Simmons relates. These gatherings, regardless of the number of attendees, can bring the spirit of the Y into the lives of BYU alumni in your area.

Schaber says, “Hosting a Night of Nursing broadcast watch party is very easy. It is a fun activity that gives you satisfaction and helps you remember the Healer’s art. The evening is also a great way to share your BYU pride.”

You Are Not Alone

There are nurses wherever you go, and many times, a friend is out there waiting to make a connection. Schaber says, “There were more nursing alumni close by than we realized.” Night of Nursing will be continued as a tradition of fun, bringing strangers together and making friends who otherwise might not have met.

The next Night of Nursing is Thursday, March 5, 2020. There are two ways to participate: Host. Let us know if you are willing to host an event in your community by emailing nursingpr@byu.eduAttend. In February 2020, visit nightofnursing.com to view location details.

Hosts appreciate the party-in-a-box:

The materials and information you need to be successful are provided! (door prizes, raffle tickets, host guide, printed materials for participants, etc.)

The extra invites are great to send out to nurses in the area who are not BYU grads but are interested in networking.

Hosts may use the event to support their community, as an opportunity for youth in the community to learn about nursing as a career, as a university alumni chapter activity, or as a service project to support youth sports programs or collect refugee materials.

A Nursing Example of Service and Caring

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Dr. Sabrina Jarvis (right) with her sister.

Sabrina Jarvis recently retired from the College of Nursing at Brigham Young Univesity. Below is a brief summary of her career.

Never one to stop learning, associate teaching professor Dr. Sabrina Jarvis’s educational path reflects her celebrated dedication and hard work. In 1976 she received an associate degree in nursing from Cochise College in Douglas, Arizona, and in 1985, a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Grandview College in Des Moines, Iowa. In 1990 she received her nursing master’s degree from BYU, where she was honored as valedictorian. She completed her doctor of nursing practice from the University of Utah in 2009.

For more than 40 years Jarvis has worked as a nurse in many settings, including piloting the nurse practitioner role in the adult surgical intensive care unit at the veterans’ medical center in Salt Lake; she received its Surgical Service Excellence Award in 1991, and two national recognitions from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. She enjoys the challenges of caring for critically ill-patients and giving service to veterans as a certified family and acute-care nurse practitioner at the Center for Change Psychiatric Hospital in Orem, Utah.

Her academic career began as a part-time clinical instructor for the University of Utah in 1992, and later with Salt Lake Community College. She started at BYU in 2001 as adjunct faculty, became an assistant teaching professor in 2008, and reached her current position in 2014, where she spends the majority of her time mentoring graduate students.

Jarvis obtained a presidential citation from the Society of Critical Care Medicine in 2013, received two recognitions from the Utah Nurse Practitioners—Excellence in Education in 2006 and Excellence in Clinical Practice in 2007. As an honor to her significant career achievements, she became a Fellow in the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners in 2011.

Her creative works are just as impressive with seven manuscripts reviewed, five articles published in peer-reviewed journals, six book chapters, three invited online educational modules developed, and over 20 invited podium presentations during her career. (Some SCCM annual lectures involved keeping the material fresh and exciting for over six hours at a time!)

With more spare time on the horizon, Jarvis looks forward to more road trips and adventures with family and friends, traveling in her convertible car, enjoying her fur babies (two dogs and a cat), and gardening. But she will always enjoy her time at BYU.

College Admin Receives SAERA Award

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Jeff Peery (center) receives a SAERA Award from BYU; presented by university HR personnel and Dean Ravert.

 

Earlier this semester, Jeff Peery, the college public relations and communications manager, was recognized with a university Staff and Administrative Employee Recognition (SAERA) Award. He has 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.

Jeff L. Peery

Exceeding Customer Expectations

“Jeff is always looking for new ways to promote the College of Nursing,” says Dean Dr. Patty Ravert. “In 2018 he organized the first event for our graduate program alumni as an evening dinner for their families to get together, reconnect and expand on recruiting preceptors for current family nurse practitioner students. He oversaw the planning of children’s sessions so parents could visit and hear a message from the college. There were 40 children in attendance and his team helped them make a craft, and play games. The reunion was successful and everyone had a great time. Because of this event, some alumni volunteered to serve as preceptors for our students.”

There are several reasons why Dean Ravert nominated Peery in the exceeding customer expectations category. During his seven years at the college, he has doubled the number of alumni magazines published each year, added social channels to the list of ways to distribute college content, and expanded the number of alumni events from three to 10 each year.

“Another important event is the ‘Night of Nursing’ evening which Jeff started several years ago. He facilitates groups of College of Nursing alumni and friends to gather across the nation. This event has grown and in 2018 there were 41 locations. In 2018, the groups connected via an online conference tool to hear Sister Barbara Perry share a brief message about compassion and caring for her husband Elder L. Tom Perry in his final days. Over 400 nursing and university alumni participated. Jeff continues to work with the College Alumni Board to continue to make this a valuable event each year.”

The college congratulations Peery for his efforts to connect alumni with the college and university.

A Million Reasons to Thank the Fulton Family

Arizona philanthropist Mr. Ira A. Fulton made a $1 million contribution to his already established Myrtie Fulton Mentored Learning Award in the College of Nursing at Brigham Young University. The fund allows the College to spend the account’s interest each year and provides nursing students with a mentored learning experience as they work with faculty members who have received these award grants.

The projects conducted by recipient faculty members and their students greatly impact not only the patient populations they serve but also the community.

Below are two examples from the 2019 Myrtie Fulton Mentored Learning Award:

IMG_8547Earlier this year, undergraduate nursing students Alyssa Hildt and Abby Anderson were mentored by Dr. Leslie Miles. As a group, they reviewed hundreds of case files to determine pain levels following sexual assault and the treatment provided. They shared their findings at the 2019 International Association of Forensic Nurses annual conference as a research poster and received third-place competing against PhD and DNP candidates.

Dr. Bret Lyman is currently mentoring four undergraduate students in his learning history research project: Camie Mendon, Grace Rainey, Marisa Biddulph, and Julie Brogan. He and his team have been trailblazers in researching how to apply organizational learning in a healthcare setting. Because of this guidance, the students have gained much more than a greater understanding of nursing—they have practiced knowledge application, organization, and leadership skills.

Ira and his wife Mary Lou established the account in 2011 and named the College award in honor of Myrtle “Myrtie” Lee Markwell Fulton, his mother whose courage and faith saw her through difficult times. As a devoted mother of 11, four of whom died in their youth, Myrtie not only raised the children in a Christ-centered home but also provided for their physical needs (Ira is the youngest of the children). Of his mother, Ira says, “She was a hard worker, and along with my wife, was the greatest woman I have known. She always gave, even when she had nothing to give. Thank goodness I had a special mother who showed me how to give.”

Conducting research often requires a heroic effort to study, test, and learn about a nursing phenomenon to improve health care. Myrtie Fulton’s example of persistence, dedication to hard work, and being an example of kindness and compassion to others is central to the success of award recipients and their mentored students.

Accepting the donation was dean and professor Dr. Patricia Ravert.

“The College of Nursing is thankful for this recent generous gift and appreciates the continued support of Mr. Fulton—not only for ongoing faculty projects but for future student experiences,” says Ravert. “The Myrtie Fulton endowed fund helps prepare nurses who will be valued members of health care teams and improve the nursing profession.”

 

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Alan J. Moore, a donor liaison for the Philanthropies Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, presents College of Nursing Dean Patricia Ravert with a check from Ira A. Fulton for one-million dollars; interest from the monies will be used to benefit mentored learning experiences with nursing students and faculty members.

Lets Talk About It!

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By Corbin Smith

One of the world’s greatest tragedies has to be the normalization of mental illness and sexual assault among adults. Terms such as “depression” and “anxiety” have become ordinary to us.  We are no longer completely surprised when we see horrifying cases of rape and assault constantly in the news. The sad truth is that 1 in 5 adults will experience mental illness in their lifetime and 1 in 3 women will be victims of sexual assault during their life. There is so much work to be done to lower these numbers and make the world a happier place. This is why current second-year graduate student Shylettra Davis has dedicated her Master’s project to develop a better practice for screening those who experience mental illness or sexual assault.

Over the past few months, Davis has teamed up with associate teaching professor Dr. Leslie Miles and associate professor Dr. Julie Valentine to tackle this project. For their research, they collected data from and studied over 5000 cases of sexual assault. What they learned is that a majority of sexual assault have had a form of depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder. “Basically,” Davis says, “those who experience mental illness are more vulnerable to be victimized than someone who doesn’t experience a mental illness.”

For that reason, Davis’ project is to improve the quality of nursing care for patients that struggle with mental illness. “I want health care professionals and nurses to ask about any sexual assault history and help the patient understand that they are at risk to be targeted by predators,” Davis explains.

Davis also knows that it is easy for a victim to develop another mental illness if they are assaulted and aren’t able to deal with it and be treated professionally. Victims can easily feel isolated, lost and confused about what happened. “At the end of the day, we want patients to feel empowered,” Davis says.

Inspired by her work, Davis took her research and gave a presentation at the American Psychiatric Nurses Association in New Orleans in October. Dr. Miles accompanied Davis at the conference. While presenting their poster, they received a lot of interest from psych mental health professionals from all across the country.

Davis knows that they are off to a good start in raising awareness to this topic that sometimes isn’t discussed enough. “The biggest thing we need to do is to be aware of what is going on. When we are on high alert, we can watch out for one another and stop possible attacks.” Prevention through learning and understanding is key.

She is not alone in understanding the effects of mental illness and in having personal experience working with and being close to people who have been victims of sexual assault. Her desire to help better the lives of those victims have been her motivation for her project. “Sometimes they just need someone who recognizes what they are feeling,” Davis explains, “I can’t imagine what it would be like to walk around with that burden. I wish we could prevent everyone from having to suffer through those experiences. That’s what I try to do.” Let us all join in with Davis in making the world a better place!

 

Dr. Janelle Macintosh Receives The Alcuin Fellowship

Janelle Macintosh

Receiving this award meant the world to Macintosh, and she looks forward to continuing her efforts.

By Quincey Taylor

Sometimes peoples’ efforts behind closed doors go unnoticed. Many people strive for excellence and never receive the deserved accolades. For associate professor Dr. Janelle Macintosh, however, this is not that case. Recently, Macintosh was awarded the Alcuin Fellowship for 2020- 2022 from Brigham Young University.

The Alcuin Fellowship award recognizes teacher-scholars who have gone beyond the regular limits of their disciplines and made significant contributions to the general education and honors curriculum. This perfectly describes Macintosh’s efforts over the years, and she says, “I feel so blessed by this recognition.”

As an Alcuin Fellow, Macintosh has been invited to teach an Unexpected Connections Course for the honors program. It is an exciting opportunity for a BYU College of Nursing faculty member. She has been paired with Dr. John Talbot from the English department, and together they are creating a course about literature and health, which will be taught during winter semester for three years. Macintosh says, “I know I will learn so much from Dr. Talbot and the honors students in the classes. Together we will enlarge our worldview and expand our sphere of influence.”

The College of Nursing would like to congratulate Macintosh on this amazing accomplishment. She thanks college supporters and says, “This opportunity would not be feasible without the support of the administration at the College of Nursing, the BYU Honors Program faculty and staff, and my colleague who nominated me for this fellowship. Thank you!”