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Student Mentor Awards: Showing Appreciation to Preceptors

Thoracic ICU at IMC

Student presents mentor with Outstanding Mentor Award. 

By Quincey Taylor

It’s your first clinical at the hospital, and you are extremely nervous. It’s like a whole new world. You’ve read about this in books, but the actual application is so different. Your one lifeline is your preceptor, a fellow nurse that has worked in the field, that is guiding you through your experience. Without him or her, you would be completely lost.

Every semester, students are mentored by fantastic preceptors in many different hospitals throughout Utah and Salt Lake Counties. These nurses willingly volunteer their time and efforts to make students’ clinicals a positive experience. The faculty at the BYU College of Nursing are extremely grateful for these individuals and actively look for ways to express their gratitude. One way they do this is through the Student Mentor Awards. Students are asked to write about their positive experiences with their preceptors. Each of these preceptors are given an award as well as a gift. Clinicals would not be possible without the selfless efforts of student mentors.

Preceptors are given these awards in front of their colleagues, gaining recognition for their skill and care. Recipients who receive the award multiple semesters are given a special certificate and prize. One exceptional preceptor has received the award four times!

For students: To submit a Student Mentor Award nominee, talk to your professor. He or she will have the form to fill out, and turn in to your professor


New Staff Members: Robert Dickerson and Jon Hardy

robPhoto of Dickerson. Photo courtesy of Leo Liang.

By Quincey Taylor

With the start of the new semester, the College of Nursing welcomes two new staff members to the family. Robert Dickerson will be joining the IT department in administration, and Jon Hardy is taking over as the new Nursing Learning Center Facilities Supervisor. We look forward to getting to know these men a little better and hope their transition is smooth.

Dickerson completed his undergraduate at BYU Idaho studying software engineering. When asked about how he found out about this open position, he laughs, “That’s a funny story.” In Santa Clarita, California, he was part of the singles ward council. The ward council was looking for ways to get members more active in the local self-reliance classes put on by the stake. As part of this motivation, they decided to attend the classes and be an example.

Dickerson attended the classes for twelve weeks without much expectation. He was looking for a job at the time, but did not expect the class to result in his next career path. That’s where he was wrong. The facilitator of the class told him about the opening posted on LinkedIn for a senior software engineer at the College of Nursing, and he applied. He says, “This ended up being one of the best jobs I can find right now in my career. I’m really happy and grateful for this job.”

Outside of work, Dickerson enjoys playing volleyball and being a great uncle to his four nieces and nephews. He taught improv comedy for a year and performed it for three. He loves his family and always looks forward to a trip to the temple.

In the future, Dickerson plans to get a master’s degree in computer science at BYU while continuing working. He says about his new life here in Provo, “I know this is where I need to be.”

jonHardy and his wife and kids. Photo courtesy of Hardy.

As the new NLC Facilities Supervisor, Hardy will act as the ‘man behind the curtain,’ ensuring everything in the Mary Jane Rawlinson Geertsen Nursing Learning Center is running smoothly.

BYU has been a part of Hardy’s life for as long as he can remember. He is originally from Spanish Fork, so he always lived close. His father has been working at BYU for thirty years, currently in the Treasury Services. Hardy had been looking for an opportunity at BYU for a while now, and was overjoyed at this new opportunity to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Before the College of Nursing, Hardy studied at UVU. He also worked as their head custodian over the Student Life and Wellness Center. He graduated from UVU with a degree in technology management.

Hardy is married with two kids, ages four and six. His wife, Olivia, is from Wyoming. The two met here at BYU as students and coworkers.

Outside of work, Hardy enjoys playing board games and spending time with his family. He also loves hiking and the outdoors in general.

Hardy looks forward to helping streamline as much as possible in the simulation lab, making it easier for all participants. “I’m excited,” Hardy exclaims, “to be working with all of the great nursing students and faculty here.”


Serving Beyond the Y


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.”

Learning the Healer’s art as a Mission Nurse

By Mindy Longhurst

flu shotImage of Natalie Schroeder preparing a syringe for the flu shot vaccine. Image courtesy of Schroeder.

First semester nursing student, Natalie Schroeder, had the amazing opportunity of serving as a mission nurse while in the Ciudad Juarez Mexico mission. The experiences that she had as a mission nurse led her to pursue a nursing education from BYU.

Schroeder became interested in the medical field after taking a career aptitude test in her first semester at BYU. While preparing for her LDS mission, she worked as a medical assistant at a cardiologist office.

About halfway through her mission, she was asked to be the mission nurse. This experience changed the trajectory of her life. Her responsibilities included the setup of medical protocol for her mission, answering medical questions, giving health presentations at Zone Conferences, attending specialist appointments with missionaries, making sure all missionaries received their needed prescriptions and updating the medical reports.

presentation at MP homeImage of Schroeder giving a health presentation at the Mission President’s home. Image courtesy of Schroeder.

When Schroeder first received this assignment, she was hesitant that she would be able to do everything that would be required of her. Schroeder was concerned because she had no formal nursing certification or training. Schroeder says, “This was a very humbling opportunity for me. I had been called to do this and I really felt like I was not qualified to do it. But, the Lord really qualified me once I was called. In spite of being so challenging, I found by the end of my mission I just didn’t want to go because it was one of the most beautiful things I had ever experienced.”

Being a mission nurse came with the joy of being able to help others. Schroeder says, “I was filled with so much joy as I was able to see missionaries overcome their sickness and to see them be in good health. It was rewarding to be able to help others.”

missionariesMissionaries from the Ciudad Juarez Mission. Image courtesy of Schroeder.

Ultimately, Schroeder believes that she was divinely inspired to help her fellow missionaries. She says, “There was a lot of medical vocabulary that I had never heard before. Medical Spanish is different from normal Spanish. They don’t teach you medical Spanish in classes or at the MTC! But, when I went to doctor’s appointments with missionaries, I felt very inspired and guided as to what to do and say. There were times where I didn’t know the word but God helped me to be able to understand what the word meant. I was able to use words that I had never used before.”

Her heart was filled with love and compassion for the missionaries she was able to serve. Of this time, she says “It was such a blessing for me to serve in that capacity because I came to really love and see my fellow missionaries how God saw them. I never felt a love for somebody as much as I did while being a mission nurse. You really get to see people through the eyes of the Savior. It was a blessing for me to be able to serve and help others that way, there is no other feeling like it. It is hard for me to even describe.”

Bringing it back to God, Schroeder knows who helped her throughout her journey. She now turns to God in helping her learn the Healer’s art at BYU. She looks forward to working in clinical and learning more about nursing.

Improving Communication in the Trauma Room

Ryan Rasmussen, Assistant Teaching Professor, MS, BSN, AND

The trauma unit in a hospi­tal may be chaotic. With so many providers, nurses, and specialists all taking care of one patient, it can be over­whelming. The breakdown in communication between providers and nurses is one of the leading causes of sentinel events and adverse outcomes.

Contribute--Ryan RasmussenAs part of his PhD degree at the University of Arizona (UA), assistant teaching professor Ryan Rasmussen (MS ’11) is studying communication in emer­gency trauma rooms. His study, which is currently obtaining institutional review board approval from three committees (UA, BYU, and a local Utah hospital), seeks to understand how members of trauma teams communicate while car­ing for trauma patients.

His initial literature review found that 150,000 deaths and 3,000,000 non­fatal injuries in the United States occur annually as a result of trauma, which is the leading cause of death for individu­als under 46 years of age and the num­ber-four cause of death among all age groups. The database search discovered 44 papers, with nine meeting the inclu­sion criteria. From those papers the fol­lowing themes associated with commu­nication emerged: leadership styles, crew resource management (CRM), simula­tion, and debriefings.

Each paper identified communication as an issue in the trauma room. CRM includes elements of the other emergent themes from the state of the science; therefore, CRM will be the focus of future research to increase effective team com­munication within the trauma room.

Rasmussen’s leadership and contri­bution to the nursing industry extend beyond his dissertation research.

For a different project, Rasmussen worked with two peers—assistant teach­ing professors Craig Nuttall (MS ’11) and Scott Summers (MS ’11)—to collaborate with Janie Jensen (BS ’17) and sixth-semester student Ashley Dyer to create a mobile phone app that helps people determine if someone has sustained a concussion. Developing an app that reaches its target audience is a hard task, but with the help of these individuals, the team made it happen.

Rasmussen is the college’s new international studies coordinator of the Clinical Practicum Public and Global Health Nursing course, replacing teach­ing professor Dr. Sheri P. Palmer (AS ’81, BS ’84). He recently returned from his fifth global health session in Taiwan, where he assisted a group of BYU nurs­ing students in learning how other parts of the world administer health care. (See a story about a similar group on page 18 of the fall 2017 college magazine:

He is also the course coordinator for a graduate course in informatics and healthcare technology. His instruction helps students use current and emerging technologies in the care environment to support lifelong learning for self and oth­ers, as well as to optimize patient safety, cost-effectiveness, and health outcomes.

Outside of the university, Rasmussen works for two local hospice organizations as a nurse practitioner. He serves as the research chair for the Utah Emergency Nurses Association, as a committee member for the Nursing Informatics Working Group of the American Medical Informatics Association, and as a mem­ber of the Emergency Nurses Association and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

UNP Ryan Rasmussen (1)-3Last year Rasmussen was recognized with an Excellence in Research award from the Utah Nurse Practitioners Association.

Nuttall says that Rasmussen received the award because he has great ideas, a talent for thinking things through, and the ability to recognize problems. “He wants to fix problems, and so he does not see research as the end; he sees it as a means to fixing problems. He is research­ing so that it benefits someone, and that is what makes him a great associate.”

Rasmussen’s relatives are also con­tributing to the local nursing commu­nity. There are three generations of BYU nursing alumni in his family. Rasmussen’s mother-in-law, Nancy Thygerson Trapnell (BS ’65), has worked as a hospice nurse for more than 30 years. His wife, Laurie Trapnell Rasmussen (BS ’90), works at Central Utah Surgical Center in Provo, and their daughter Lauren R. Young is starting her fifth semester in the nursing program.

College Praised as Social Media Friendly

If there is such a thing as a virtual “thumbs up,” the College of Nursing at Brigham Young University would take it.

nursing-school-badgeRecently the college was recognized as #44 of the 100 Most Social Media Friendly Nursing Schools in the nation. The inaugural listing from ranked programs on the use of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.

“We are pleased to be included in the ranking,” says Jeff L. Peery, college PR supervisor. “Our media team regularly posts material about alumni, students, and faculty and it is nice to receive a reward for these efforts.”

The results provided the college insight into areas for improvement or future higher results.

“Perhaps the greatest thing our followers could do is engagement,” says Peery. “Liking, sharing, and reposting content are great ways to connect with the program as well as demonstrate social media prowess.”

A Lifelong Goal of Serving Others

Spotlight--shelly reedBy Mindy Longhurst
Associate teaching professor Dr. Shelly J. Reed (AS ’81, BS ’84) grew up on a farm in southwestern Idaho. Even though she is from a small town, she always had big dreams to become a nurse and help people. This attitude and approach sum up the way she conquers life—with positivity and by using her life to bless others around her.

As a 16-year-old, Reed had an experience that shaped the course of her life. While she was volunteering at a local hospital, one of the doctors invited her to see a baby being born. Reed says, “We got to see the delivery, and it was the coolest thing I had ever seen. I just knew that I wanted to be a labor and delivery nurse after that. I was certain of my career path after seeing the birth.”

Since then, Reed has continued to learn about nursing while helping others along the way (most recently by completing a PhD in nursing education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas). Despite keeping busy with her schedule at BYU (and supporting students with clinical work in a Salt Lake Hospital and a four-week clinical practicum in Tonga), she finds time to complete 12-hour shifts as a family nurse practitioner for OB Emergency Services at the University of Utah Medical Center every other week. She enjoys supporting the mothers of newborns and being there for the miraculous experience of childbirth.

Outside of the college, Reed has served on several humanitarian trips teaching maternal and newborn classes with teams from the LDS Church’s Humanitarian Communications Department. She learned Spanish as an adult and has been able to teach with teams in Ecuador, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and Guatemala. “It is difficult to instruct in Spanish because I learned it a little later in life. Plus, medical language is very technical and can be hard to teach in Spanish,” she says. “But I have prayed hard to have the gift of tongues. Although I wouldn’t say I received it, the Lord has helped me throughout the process.”

Her faculty area of study focuses specifically on simulation debriefing research. Reed developed an instrument, or “debriefing experience scale,” and has shared this tool with researchers around the world (see the fall 2015 magazine for the related story).

Besides nursing, she has another passion for helping others: family history and temple work. She began this hobby eight years ago while serving as a young women leader when an activity taught their group how to participate in family history.

“The temple is my favorite thing,” says Reed. “Organizing genealogies is one of the best ways to spend free time; while researching and finding names of relatives, one can feel connected and overjoyed.”

Reed even has a goal of attending 60 LDS temples before she turns 60. Although a few years away from her deadline, she has already visited 58 temples and should finish her goal in 2019. Reed loves being able to serve in the temple for those who have passed on, especially for her ancestors. It is fun for her to realize that she spends most of her “me” time on family history and going to the temple.

She is married and is the proud mother of seven children and grandmother of four.

Throughout a successful career, Reed continues to focus on the amazing experience she had as a youth; that one opportunity has led to her doing marvelous things in the world of nursing.