Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.


Departing Faculty: Three beloved individuals recently left the College of Nursing

Edmunds_DebbieNursing Through Nurturing
Debbie Edmunds, MSNEd, RN, CNE

Assistant teaching professor Debbie Edmunds has helped hundreds of students along the pathway to nursing. Now, after eight years of teaching at the College of Nursing, Edmunds is leaving to serve another mission (Philippines) and spend more time with her 18 grandchildren.

Edmunds never planned on becoming a nurse; her childhood dream was to become a teacher. That dream got put on hold after she met Gary Edmunds in a high school production of The Fantasticks. They wedded shortly after graduation in 1974.

She spent the next two decades raising the couple’s seven children while her husband worked in the construction industry. Her experiences raising children sparked an interest in nursing, especially after she delivered a baby who was stillborn.

In 1994, Edmunds returned to school and began working on an associate degree in nursing at Salt Lake Community College. Edmunds went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from BYU and a master’s degree in nursing education from the University of Utah.

After working as a registered nurse, Edmunds got a job as a childbirth educator at Intermountain Healthcare, and her passion for teaching resurfaced. She taught as a clinical instructor at both the University of Utah and Utah Valley University. Then, in 2007, she was approached with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: organizing a licensed practical nurse (LPN) program for Mountainland Applied Technology College.

Edmunds went on to serve as director of her LPN program for four straight years. During that time she learned about teaching at BYU. In 2010 she began at BYU as a clinical instructor, and she became a full-time faculty member in 2012.

In July 2016, Edmunds began a twelve-month leave of absence to serve an LDS mission with her husband in Suva, Fiji. While there, she made dozens of connections with nurses and hospital directors that eventually provided the basic framework for the college’s global health practicum in Fiji.

“It’s been such a blessing to me to know that I’ve been an instrument in the Lord’s hands to help people fulfill their dreams,” Edmunds says of her BYU experience. “Being at this university has been wonderful. It’s a great environment with devoted faculty and amazing students. It’s something that I will dearly miss.”


Ulberg_RonGoodbye to a Veteran Nurse
Ron S. Ulberg, MSNEd, RN, CCRN

To colleagues and students alike, the name Ronald Ulberg is synonymous with passion. During a profession spanning more than two decades, Ulberg combined his two passions—nursing and veterans. In December 2017, Ulberg retired from Brigham Young University.

Ulberg’s nursing career started in 1988 when he became a licensed practical nurse after attending classes at Salt Lake Community College. He went on to get bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from the University of Phoenix.

In 2002, Ulberg began working at BYU as an adjunct clinical instructor, helping students as they applied their skills in a hospital setting. He became an assistant teaching professor in 2005 and an associate teaching professor in 2011. Throughout his teaching career he inspired students with a love of nursing and a desire to help others.

“The students seemed to connect with him and appreciated his approach,” says teaching professor Dr. Kent Blad.

Blad and Ulberg, who served together in the military, directed the veteran clinical practicum for their public and global health nursing course. The class focused on helping students understand the culture and lifestyle of military veterans and included an Honor Flight to Washington, DC.

In Ulberg’s military background, he worked as a nurse in the 144th Evacuation Hospital of the Utah Army National Guard, which deployed to Saudi Arabia in Operation Desert Storm. His experiences motivated him to help nursing students gain increased empathy and respect for those who serve their country in the armed forces.

Besides nursing and veteran care, Ulberg is an avid Boy Scout volunteer and was awarded the Silver Beaver Award from the Great Salt Lake Council in 2015. He is the recipient of several other nursing and education awards, including ACLS Instructor of the Year in 2005, “Honoring Those Who Dare to Care” Honors for Nursing in 2007, and the Excellence in Education Award in 2009.

Although Ulberg will spend retirement with family and pursuing his hobbies, his passions for nursing and veterans will be long remembered at the College of Nursing.


Faculty Retirement Debra WingTaking to New Heights
Debra K. Wing, MSNEd, RN, CNE

From extreme sports and nursing to humanitarian work, assistant teaching professor Debra K. Wing is not afraid of trying new things. Now, after teaching at the College of Nursing for 11 years, she will again embrace something new: retirement.

Growing up, Wing watched her two older sisters study nursing and begin their careers. She wanted to become a nurse as well. However, in her freshman year at BYU, she decided to study business instead at Stevens-Henager College. She married Kelly Wing on February 12, 1981.

After graduating with her business degree, Wing spent the next 10 years as a businesswoman. “Yet I always felt something was missing,” she says, “so, with very small children, I went back to nursing school and finished my bachelor’s.” To help pay for her nursing degree, Wing joined the Air Force alongside her husband.

One of the things Wing enjoyed most about her military nursing career was doing clinical oversight for EMEDS training. In this role she instructed hundreds of National Guard and Army Reserve medical personnel on how to provide support in war zones. She also worked with Homeland Security to train national disaster-relief organizations on how to respond to every kind of disaster, from hurricanes to hostage situations.

Throughout her career Wing took on new nursing roles, including beginning as a simulation instructor at BYU in 2007. In 2015, Wing took a short break from teaching to serve as a mission nurse for the LDS Korea Seoul Mission.

Wing’s plans for retirement include working with several organizations to teach medical education in developing countries. “I’ll be leaving the university, but I’m not leaving nursing,” she says. Wing has worked with Healing Hands for Haiti and IVUmed in past humanitarian efforts and intends to resume those efforts. Furthermore, Wing will continue to volunteer regularly at the Provo Food and Care Coalition. She and her husband also want to serve another mission.

Reflecting on her experience as a nurse, she says, “What made my nursing career worthwhile was the opportunity I had to serve people every day. I love that experience of giving of myself. There’s a reward that comes from caring that’s far greater than monetary rewards.”


Ribs, Nurses, and Cowboy Boots: BYU SNA Represents College at National Conference

By Jonathan Schroeder

First-semester nursing student Rachel Hawkins looked out at the sea of nursing students in front of her, and sighed with exhaustion. Within 24 hours, there had been a long red-eye flight across two time zones, a hotel check-in and then a full day of networking, keynote speakers, and complex nursing acronyms. The evening brought a much needed rest; but also a newly awakened perspective.

“I had never really realized before just how many different things you could do with nursing,” Hawkins explains. “There are so many different aspects you can focus on – business, travel; the possibilities are endless!”

Hawkins was one of several students who represented the BYU Student Nursing Association at the 2018 National Student Nursing Association (NSNA) Conference in Nashville, TN.


BYU Nursing Students enjoy a break a between NSNA sessions at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel

“It really helped open my view of the level of impact that nurses can have,” fellow first-semester student Izzy Bernal adds. “I realized that my sphere of influence doesn’t have to be just as a bedside nurse, but I can really do a lot of different things.”

For associate teaching professor Sondra Heaston, this kind of reaction has almost become commonplace. Heaston has been the BYU SNA Chapter advisor for more than a decade and has enjoyed helping students prepare for the annual conference since 2007.

“The conference is a bit of a wake-up call for a lot of students,” Heaston explains. “Many students get into the nursing program and then they get so focused on school that they don’t realize just how much there is outside of the classroom. The conference gives them a chance to see just how many opportunities they have for their future career, for leadership and for education — all in this one week-long event.”

More than 3,000 nursing students from across the country participated in this year’s conference. Conference events included TED Talk-style keynote speakers, information sessions about different nursing emphases, SNA officer trainings, and an exhibition hall with recruiters from top hospitals and graduate programs across the country.


BYU Nursing Student Ashley Dyer with two other nursing students from different parts of the country

“It’s almost like an LDS Women’s Conference for nurses,” sixth-semester student Aimee Schouten explains. “It’s a really neat chance to be with other nursing students and professionals from around the US and feel united, as a profession.”

“The goal of SNA [and the NSNA conference] is to help students have the best opportunity to become the best nurses possible,” adds Jessica Small. “It’s really cool to have that shared purpose with other people.”

BYU Nursing: Learning Through Leadership

The NSNA Conference not only helps develop great nurses, but it also helps develop great leaders. As part of the conference, students have the chance to participate in the NSNA House of Delegates. This allows students to put forth resolutions based on current issues and research. These resolutions can vary from establishing healthcare polices to increasing awareness for certain issues.

“This is how policy changes happen in the real world,” Heaston explains. “Nurses come together and raise their voices within their professional organization and discuss issues that they feel need to be addressed.”

This year, Schouten and Small provided one of the highlights of the NSNA Conference when they presented their resolution to raise awareness of sexual assault on college campuses.

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Schouten and Small with their Resolution to Increase Awareness of Sexual Assault Across Campuses to Reduce Victim Blaming and Stigmatization of Rape

Schouten and Small were inspired to present their resolution after discovering that the topic of sexual assault on college campuses had not been addressed in any NSNA resolution over the past five years.

“I was honestly shocked,” Small remembers. “Sexual assault on college campuses is a big problem. Yet all we found in our research were a few resolutions that made reference to sexual assault; there wasn’t anything that actually addressed the problem.”

Inspired by the work of BYU Nursing Assistant Professor Julie Valentine, Schouten and Small drafted a resolution that they hope will increase awareness for the issue of sexual assault in addition to creating an environment that will help nurses provide better care for potential victims.

“The goal of our resolution is to present the prevalence, side effects and barriers that sexual assault victims face in getting the help they need,” Small explains.

Small and Schouten’s resolution contains a number of eye-opening statistics from a variety of sources. They found that not only have one in five women experienced sexual assault while in college, but that less than half of those assaulted actually seek the healthcare they need afterwards.


Schouten and Small on the floor of the NSNA House of Delegates

“The problem is there is such a stigmatization of rape and victim blaming,” Schouten says. “One of the biggest reasons that people don’t report sexual assault is that they feel that reporting it will change how people see them. It makes them feel worthless and debased.”

“As nurses, it’s our job to help these people get the physical and mental healthcare they need; not only in the workplace, but also in our daily lives,” Small adds. “There’s a lot that we can do to help these victims. Whether we’re acting as roommates, as friends, or as future healthcare professionals — we need to take a stand to combat the issue of sexual assault on college campuses.”

The NSNA House of Delegates unanimously accepted Schouten and Small’s resolution, which calls for their research to be published for NSNA students, as well as at the American Nursing Association (ANA). Not only was the resolution unanimously accepted, but many delegates shared testimonials about how sexual assault had impacted the life of a friend or loved one.

“It felt good to see how many people our resolution could impact just in that room,” Small shares. “We could really tell we were doing a good thing.”

And while Small and Schouten were representing BYU on the floor of the House of Delegates, their classmate, Ashley Dyer was campaigning for a spot on the NSNA Board. Dyer successfully campaigned for and was elected to be the Chair and Western Representative of the NSNA Nominating and Elections Committee (NEC) for 2018-2019.


Ashley Dyer campaigning for the Chair and Western Representative of the NSNA NEC

“I am very humbled by the outpouring of support from so many nursing students in our nation who, a week ago, had never even heard of me,” Dyer says. “I want to do all I can to help them find the courage and means to easily participate in national leadership opportunities this year.”

Fortunately, Dyer won’t have to travel very far to fulfill her NSNA NEC duties next year. The 2019 NSNA Conference is scheduled for April 3-7, 2019, in Salt Lake City.

“The NSNA conference is a great opportunity for all nursing students; not just SNA board members,” Heaston says. “We hope that all nursing students take advantage of this amazing opportunity to expand their nursing horizons.”


BYU Students Learn the Facts Behind the Opioid Epidemic

At the BYU College of Nursing’s Professionalism Conference on February 26, nursing students had a unique opportunity to get informed on one of the most important health issues in the nation: the opioid crisis.

The conference, titled “The Opioid Epidemic: Heed the Warnings, Watch for the Signs, Know How to Act,” featured Shana Metzger, an acute care nurse practitioner who focuses on addressing the American opioid crisis. Her lecture, hosted in the Wilkinson Student Center’s Varsity Theater, addressed many important points on the opioid epidemic.


Shana Metzger


“Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others,” reads a brief from The National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Regular use—even as prescribed by a doctor—can lead to dependence and, when misused, opioid pain relievers can lead to overdose incidents and deaths.”

As the use of opioids in medical practice has increased over the past twenty years, so have the levels of addictions, overdoses, and deaths caused by opioids.

The numbers surrounding the opioid crisis in America are astounding. According to the New York Times, drug overdoses of all varieties killed around 64,000 Americans last year, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 66% those deaths involved an opioid. To put that in perspective, the National Safety Council puts the number of American traffic fatalities in 2016 at around 40,000.

According to the CDC, over 115 Americans die daily from opioid overdoses, and 40% of all drug overdose deaths in America involve prescription opioids. In fact, the increase in drug-related deaths has contributed to a decline in life expectancy in the United States over the past two years.

Much of the opioid crisis is driven by an increased abuse of prescription drugs, which then drives an increasingly higher number of users to switch to cheaper heroin. As the CDC explains, “Between 2010 and 2016, the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths increased by a factor of 5 – more than 15,469 people died in 2016.”

Utah is far from immune—in fact, according to the Utah Department of Health, Utah has the seventh highest drug overdose rate in the United States. The Deseret News has recently been covering how the typical opioid addict is frequently a “normal” man or woman with a family and an established livelihood.

Demographically, the crisis has many facets. The CDC reports that most prescription opioid overdoses happen with Caucasians or Native American aged 25-54. One report by the State Health Access Data Assistance Center points out that Americans in that age range are more likely to die from heroin or other opioid related overdoses. It also explains that while heroin use is increasing across all racial groups, Caucasians have a higher preponderance of heroin overdose deaths.

However, the New York Times also reports that the young are particularly affected, saying that “[despite] the perception of the epidemic as primarily afflicting the rural working class, drug overdoses account for a greater percentage of deaths among the young in large cities and their suburbs, with urban and suburban whites most at risk.”

Topics like these were covered by Metzger in her lecture, which students found informative. The conference topic is particularly relevant since the federal government declared the opioid epidemic to be a public health emergency back in October. Metzger’s own involvement in the issue came after treating a large number of patients with opioid addictions.

The BYU’s students left the conference, which also included a closing session featuring former BYU football player and current host of “Jazz Game Night” Alema Harrington, with more self-confidence and better prepared to handle any manifestations of the opioid crisis they encounter in their own careers.

(Graphic courtesy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)


More on the Opioid Epidemic:

Numbers and Statistics:

Causes of the Epidemic:

Opioids in Utah:

On-the-ground look:

New Ways Opioids are Spreading:

Public Reaction:


Outbreak of Success at BYU College of Nursing, CDC Called in to Investigate

Usually, a visit from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a reason for concern. However, this past week CDC representatives who visited BYU’s College of Nursing were not responding to an epidemic, but were instead meeting with associate professor Dr. Beth Luthy and assistant teaching professor Lacey Eden to discuss their work on vaccine awareness for future CDC educational videos.

Good 7

Luthy guides CDC representatives on a tour of the NLC

“We came out here to highlight them as vaccine advocates and show us what they’re doing to prepare future leaders to be vaccine advocates and what they’re doing for risk communication and vaccine hesitant parents,” says Jennifer Hamborsky, a Health Education Specialist at the CDC and one of the principal authors of the CDC’s famous “Pink Book,” a textbook on vaccine-preventable diseases.

The CDC—a federal organization described as the nation’s health protection agency—is well known for responding to disease outbreaks such as Zika and Ebola. However, the CDC’s work includes many other facets of public health, including promoting vaccination use among Americans.

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Students and faculty interact with CDC representatives

That coincides with the efforts of Luthy and Eden, who are heavily involved in educating the public on the importance of vaccinations. Luthy was appointed by President Obama to serve on the Advisory Commission for Childhood Vaccines and continues to serve as its interim head.  Eden played a critical role in the passing of Utah House Bill 308, which requires parents who choose to exempt their children from vaccinations to complete an educational module, developed by Eden and her student team, which teaches about the risks associated with not being vaccinated.

The CDC representatives arrived early Wednesday to begin the process of conducting filmed interviews with Luthy, Eden, and a handful of students and other faculty. After touring the Mary Jane Rawlinson Geertsen Nursing Learning Center (NLC), however, the representatives decided to do a separate filming about the quality of the NLC for use in a different set of videos while still interviewing Luthy and Eden.

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Dr. Beth Luthy (middle) and Lacey Eden (far right) will be featured in a series of CDC videos on immunization awareness.

“The expected outcomes are that there will be several video resources for health care providers and there will be also video resources that will go into an undergraduate nursing curriculum IRUN (immunization resources for undergraduate nursing),” Hamborsky said.

Most of the day was spent filming the NLC and interviewing Luthy and Eden, including a special focus on both Eden’s module and a children’s book written by Luthy about the importance of vaccinations. The experience was a pleasant one for all parties involved, and all are hopeful that the visit will produce meaningful results in the world of vaccination promotion.

“Beth and Lacey are clearly superstars and the facility is wonderful and state of the art,” Hamborsky said, “It’s just really been great to have the opportunity to be here to be able to highlight the great work that they’re doing so that now we’ll be able to share their work, not that it hasn’t already been, but we’ll be able to share it nationally.”

“It was surreal to be interviewed by the leaders of the immunization world,” Eden says. “I felt a feeling of validation that all of our hard work is making a difference.”

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The CDC representatives were highly impressed with the state-of-the-art NLC


8 Reasons to Attend the 2018 Night of Nursing

By Calvin Petersen

  1. Barbara Perry. Listen to Sister Perry—LDS Hospital nurse, past BYU College of Nursing faculty, recipient of BYU Honored Alumni Award and wife of the late Elder L. Tom Perry—as this year’s Night of Nursing keynote speaker.
  2. Prizes. Enter a Night of Nursing raffle and win BYU College of Nursing swag—t-shirts, lanyards, scarfs and more. Attend the Provo party and enter to win Amazon and Costa Vida gift cards and an Amazon Echo.
  3. BYU mint brownies. Devour free mouth-watering BYU mint brownies at almost every Night of Nursing location.
  4. Gifts. Receive a special gift from the College of Nursing simply for attending a Night of Nursing party.
  5. Networking. Expand your professional network by meeting nursing professionals and other BYU alumni at each location.
  6. Fun. Enjoy reuniting and reminiscing with friends and participate in games to make new ones.
  7. Sigma Theta Tau International. Come early to the Provo Night of Nursing and celebrate the 30 years of Iota Iota, BYU’s chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International.
  8. BYU unity. Join simultaneously with BYU students, alumni and friends in over 40 locations across the United States on March 1 for Night of Nursing.Reasons to Attend

Biceps After Babies: How to Have Four Kids and a 300 lb Dead Lift

By Jonathan Schroeder

Superman can fly. Spiderman has spidey sense. Amber Brueseke (BS ’07) has four kids and can deadlift more than twice her body weight.

Brueseke will tell you that she doesn’t consider herself to be a superhero or “Wonder Woman;” but for more than 32,000 people who follow her on Instagram, she might as well be.

She is the brains (and brawn) behind “Biceps after Babies,” a personal training regimen designed to help moms (and dads) reach their fitness goals while balancing the adventures of family life. On any given week, Brueseke helps around 70 people with anything from nutrition coaching to workout tips, all while embracing her already busy role as a wife and mother. But Brueseke says that, for her, fitness and motherhood have never really dwelt in separate realms.


“When I grew up, my mom was an old-school aerobics instructor,” Brueseke recalls. “I remember going to the gym very young while she would teach classes. You had to be fourteen to go the weight-room at the YMCA where she taught. So when we turned fourteen, my mom took us into the weight-room. She showed us the equipment and the weights and that’s when we started learning how to lift.”

Mom by Day, Nurse by Night

Despite her early introduction to fitness training, Brueseke came to BYU as a biochemistry major. After a semester of heavy chemistry classes, Brueseke decided to change her major to pre-med. She took a previews to medicine class, where she met her husband, Taylor. After several months, Brueseke decided to apply to the College of Nursing.

“I loved the nursing program,” she explains. “It gave me the chance to help people, to work with medicine — and it gave me the flexibility I wanted to be a mom.”

After graduating from the nursing program in 2007, Brueseke began working on a neuro-surgical intermediate care unit while her husband went to med school at Penn State. Brueseke would take care of the kids during the day while her husband studied and he would take over while she worked the evening shift.

21587390_336660093460219_726102578827951595_oHowever, that all changed when the Brueseke family moved to California so her husband could start working on his residency.

“When you go to residency, you don’t get home at 5pm every night” Brueseke adds. “Often my husband would work 80 hour weeks. We couldn’t switch off like we had done before. That was when I decided I needed to do something else. So I switched my focus back to fitness.”

Brueseke had already been attending fitness classes, thanks to a friend who invited her to take classes with her at a local gym. Upon moving to California, Brueseke began teaching Group X and Zumba classes. Within a few years, she also added Body Pump, Body Combat, and CX Works classes to her teaching repertoire.

How a Quest for Killer Abs Lead to a Killer Following

After five years of teaching fitness classes, Brueseke came to a realization; she wanted abs.

“I’d had four kids, I’d been a fitness instructor for five years, but during all this time, I’d never gotten to the point where I’d had visible abs!”


So Brueseke set out on her goal to becoming a six-pack-ab Momma. To help encourage her, she created an Instagram page “biceps.after.babies” to share her progress with her friends.  Brueseke’s posts really resonated with young moms in the fitness community. In less than two years, her page gained more than 32,000 followers.

“People started approaching me saying ‘Hey I’ve seen what you’re doing; can you coach me?’,” Brueseke remembers. “So I started coaching a couple of friends, who then told their friends, and it kind of snowballed from there as people got results.”

But if you’re hoping to discover some magical secret behind Brueseke’s impressive social media success, you might be disappointed.

“I honestly didn’t do anything crazy,” Brueseke shares. “I was myself and I posted the things that I was thinking, feeling, and doing. I think the biggest thing that I hear people say to me is that I’m relatable; like I’m them. I understand what it’s like to be a mom, I understand what’s required of being a mom and trying to balance that with your fitness goals and your family.”20861827_325580674568161_7211867878468796139_oBrueseke says that also tries to go out of her way to post things on her page that go beyond just the weight room.

“I try to share not just fitness stuff but also things about my life and the struggles I have. I really strive to have really quality content; instead of me just posting pictures of my abs, I would rather post something that’s going to help you learn and inspire you to reach your fitness goals.”

Mom, the Body-Builder

Thanks to her Instagram account, Brueseke works with around 70 clients in any given month. However, she says her top priority is still being a mom. She gets up early every day to work out before her kids wake up for school. While the kids are at school, Brueseke answers emails, works with clients, and works on her own fitness goals. After school she then makes time to run her kids to anything from gymnastics meets to soccer practice.


A daily schedule like that is enough to make any mom cringe. But Brueseke says that one of the keys to her success lies in her own backyard. The Bruesekes have a shed behind their house that doubles as a mini-gym; complete with a power rack, bench press, and everything Brueseke needs to train.

“One of the things that we love about having the gym at our house is that our kids get to see us lifting,” Brueseke explains. “They come out to the shed with us and they do pull-ups and chin-ups with us; they know the names of all the lifts. We even started working squats, technique with them; we let them do what mom and dad are doing. It also means that I can come inside and check up on them anytime they’re home when I have to work.”


Weight-training has also become a special bond between Brueseke and her husband. Last November, the two of them entered their first power-lifting competition, as a couple. Every Saturday morning, Brueseke and her husband train together, each helping the other push their fitness to the next level.

How Nursing Helps in the Weight Room

When Brueseke first entered the BYU Nursing program, she never imagined that she would eventually be working as a personal trainer. Luckily for her, Brueseke’s nursing degree (plus her experience working in the hospital), have given her a lot of useful skills that she can now use to help her clients. Not only does Brueseke have a far deeper understanding of anatomy and physiology than the average fitness trainer, but she also knows how to better interact with her clients.

“A big part of being a nurse is that you’re there at the bedside the whole day,” Brueseke explains. “You’re not popping in and out like the doctors are; you’re there with the patient and with their family and you develop a rapport and a relationship. I think those relationship building skills have helped me immensely.”

But Brueseke says that perhaps the most valuable lesson she learned from nursing was how to prioritize her time.


“They’re always on you in nursing school about learning how to prioritize your patients and making sure you’re attending to the most important things first. The techniques I learned in nursing school have helped me prioritize where my time is spent so I can get everything done that I need to.”

So whether she’s running the kids to school, responding to client emails, filming an Instragram video, or in the weight room maxing out on bench press; you can be sure that Amber Brueseke is doing her best to stay on top of things. And although she may deny it, for her family and clients, she’s the best kind of superhero there is; the kind that inspires others to do better.

Do you have an interesting job or career? Let your peers across the country know how you use your nursing degree. Email Your news may be included in a future blog post or an edition of the college magazine.