Tag Archives: Alumni

Taking on Kili: BYU Nursing Alums Hike Mt. Kilimanjaro

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Bethanie Price (second from the right) and Lindsay Egbert (farthest on the right) pose with their hiking group and a member of Climb Kili; Photo courtesy of Price

By Lyndee Johns

What do you do with your best friends?

Watch movies, go bowling, talk about classes or work?

Have you ever hiked the highest free-standing mountain in the world with them?

BYU nursing alums Lindsay Egbert and Bethanie Price have.

Egbert and Price have been friends for ten years, meeting in the BYU Nursing program in 2010, graduating in 2011, and attending the CRNA program together at Samuel Merritt University.

As they went through the trials of the CRNA program, both decided that they needed a light at the end of the tunnel—a graduation trip. When a mutual friend called them in 2018 with the idea to hike Kilimanjaro in 2020, Egbert and Price knew that this was the trip they had been looking for.

“Hiking Kilimanjaro, as well as going on an African safari and visiting Africa in general, has been on my bucket list for years,” says Egbert.

“I love the outdoors and love hiking, so Kilimanjaro has been on my bucket list of mountains to hike for a long time,” says Price. “It’s a tall mountain, but doesn’t require any climbing gear or experience. So it’s very accessible, which made it very appealing to me.”

But while hiking Kilimanjaro is easier than scaling Everest, it is still 19,340 feet high, which means that getting altitude sickness is a real possibility. Both women had to prepare physically to make the trek. For example, Price trained in Utah to get used to a higher elevation, constantly hiking, skiing, or running on a treadmill.

Egbert and Price traveled to Tanzania in February 2020, along with four others from the Salt Lake area and California.

Soon after they arrived, it was time to hit the trail.

Climb Kili

The porters and guides from Climb Kili helped the group climb Mount Kilimanjaro; Photo courtesy of Price

Egbert and Price hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro with the group Climb Kili—a company that provides tourists with climbing equipment and guides. Along with 17 porters, and three guides, the group hiked up the mountain for eight days via the Lemosho route.

Both Egbert and Price appreciated the efforts of the guides and porters to help them climb Kilimanjaro.

“We would not have succeeded without them, and it was so fun getting to know them,” says Price. “The first thing I took away [from the experience] was how amazing and humble the Tanzanian people are. They worked so hard for eight days to help us six Americans reach the summit for such little pay compared to America . . . They were always so happy and helpful. It has instilled in me a deeper sense of work ethic and finding the good in any situation I’m in.”

“Interacting and learning from the native Tanzanians on that mountain was special to me,” says Egbert. “I was taught in a very personal way just how much Heavenly Father loves all of His children.”

On the trail

On the trail; Photo courtesy of Price

While it was rough going, Egbert and Price enjoyed the time to bond with the rest of the group members.

“Our entire group quickly became good friends,” says Egbert. “The atmosphere we created was positive, supportive, and energetic. It made difficult things not only possible, but enjoyable.”

Egbert and Price had a blast climbing the mountain together.

“I loved hiking the mountain with Beth. Since we met at BYU, we have been on countless adventures together. This was by far our biggest adventure!” says Egbert.

“It was also a lot of fun to hike with a friend. We got to know each other better and had someone to lean on when the going got a little rough. You gotta have someone there to laugh with you when it’s day seven without a shower!” says Price.

Summit pic

The hikers feeling on top of the world at Uhuru Peak; Photo courtesy of Price

While summit night was a difficult one, it all became worth it when they reached the summit just in time to see the sun rise. “We experienced the most beautiful sunrise I’ve ever seen at the top of the mountain,” says Price.

Both friends agree that they need a break before trying anything of this magnitude again.

“I think I would hike it again if I had some time between the hikes. Time meaning like at least five years,” says Price.

Along with hiking Kilimanjaro, Egbert and Price were able to experience an African safari and explore the town of Arusha during their time in Tanzania. Both were able to make friends with the locals and learn more about their culture and their country.

“I learned about the history of Kilimanjaro, the ecosystem of Serengeti and Ngorongoro, the cultural practices of Tanzanian tribes,” says Egbert when describing what she learned on the trip.

Egbert and Price are back in California now, working as CRNAs in Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara Medical Center and Kaiser Permanente Redmond Medical Center respectively. But the lessons that they learned while climbing Kilimanjaro stay with them.

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For Price and Egbert, hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro was a testament to the idea that they could do hard things; Photo courtesy of Price

“It re-instilled in me the notion that we can all do hard things,” says Price. “When things get overwhelming, just take things slowly, get to know others, focus on serving someone else, and you’ll get through! And there are always people out there rooting for you to accomplish your goals.”

“This trip was symbolic for me. CRNA school was incredibly difficult. It pushed me to my physical, emotional, and mental limits at times. I wanted to climb this mountain to not only represent having successfully accomplished CRNA school but also to show myself that after long and trying times of life, bucket-list dreams can and do happen,” says Egbert. “I loved our trip to Tanzania and especially enjoyed doing it with my best friend. We conquered BYU’s nursing school together, Samuel Merritt’s CRNA program together, and now Kilimanjaro.”

Brad Walker: Helping All, From Coal Miners to Railroad Workers

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With a long and fruitful career, the College of Nursing is grateful for alumni like Brad Walker. Photo courtesy of Bingham Memorial Hospital.

By Quincey Taylor

Pioneers in the nursing field make leaps in the industry every day. We rely on their innovative research and technological developments to help nursing progress. There are also nurses that make social steps forward in the nursing world. One of those people is BYU alum Brad Walker (BS ’75), who joined the nursing community in a time period when male RNs made up only 2.7% of the working force.

When he came to BYU, Walker was one of the first male nursing students ever in the BYU nursing program. He is grateful for his experience at BYU, saying, “I feel that my education and training at BYU directed me and had me ready to begin a lifelong career. As I have practiced as a family nurse practitioner, I have made friends from every walk of life.”

He remembers once during his senior year, he was challenged to “go outside of nursing” and do something new or adventurous. He reflects on the experience, “So I went out to the skydiving school and made 2 jumps out of perfectly good airplanes.  I absolutely loved it.  I have never done it since.” He is grateful for the ways the college stretched and challenged him in all areas of life.

Brad went to college with the aspirations of becoming an electrical engineer, but his career path took a significant turn because of his mother. After the birth of Brad’s first child, she suggested a part-time job at the hospital to help pay for the bill. He started in housekeeping, and worked part time in the operating room. This experience peaked his interest in medicine and later that year, he was accepted into the RN program.

Walker, who is a recent retiree, had a long and fulfilling career after BYU. His first work experience was in East Carbon, Utah. He worked out of Utah Valley Hospital under the guidance of Dr. Keith Hooker. He was responsible for caring for the workers in two coal mines at the East Carbon Clinic. He routinely flew in Hooker’s private plane to rural clinicals. Walker remembers, “One day we were trying to take off from a plateau near Castledale, Utah.  As we started to take off, a gust of wind caught us and slammed the plane into the ground.  We walked away without any injuries of any kind.” He learned a lot with that experience, delving into the medical world as a nurse practitioner for the first time.

Walker and his family then moved to the Pocatello, Idaho area, where he practiced as a nurse practitioner for the past 41 years. His NP license number in the state of Idaho is only 85, illustrating how few NPs there were in Idaho at that time. He worked for several orthopedic surgeons, as well as worked in the ER for almost 20 years. He was one of the original Lifeflight crew members in his community. He not only worked with coal miners in his career, but even helped many railroad workers as well. He then worked at the UP Railroad clinic for 30 years.

He loved working with that population, and says, “I served the needs of many railroaders over the years. These men and women are like family to me. I am in the process of telling my patients goodbye. This is not easy. It’s been a great life and wonderful career starting with my time in the College of Nursing at BYU.”

Lastly, Walker worked for Bingham Memorial Hospital and had his own practice in Pocatello. He also worked for the past 20 years in urgent care clinics around the area. “One thing for sure,” Walker laughs, “I was never without a job or two.” Over the years, he developed a particular skill for suturing, one that served him well.

For a time, Walker would come down to BYU and help teach nurse practitioner students orthopedics and how to apply different casts and splints.  He worked in close connection with Vicki Anderson.  She also graduated with his class as a nurse practitioner in 1975.

Brad Walker and wife

Walker and his wife are excited for their new adventure. Photo courtesy of Walker. 

On April 1st, Walker and his wife left for their new adventure, serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He is so grateful for his journey that started at BYU, saying, “BYU and the College of Nursing set me on a path for success and happiness.”

Walker looks back on his time at BYU with fondness, and continues to support the college. He loves to watch BYU sports and had season football tickets for almost 10 years. He concludes, “The Lord has taken care of myself, my wife and my family through a career as a nurse practitioner.  I have always had work, and worked at something that I loved.  Especially in taking care of many patients.  I love taking care of patients and being able to see them improve their health.” None of that would have been possible without BYU.

CON Online Cheerleader: Alumna Marianna Pugmire

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It really takes a village! Only with the support of alumni can the college continue to thrive. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

By Quincey Taylor

Chances are, any College of Nursing Facebook post has a comment from alumna Marianna Pugmire. One of the college’s most vocal supporters, Pugmire (AS ‘67), never misses a chance to vocalize her appreciation for the college as well as remind us of how nursing has changed in the last 55 years. The College of Nursing team wants to thank Pugmire for her continued efforts to remember her alma mater.

In 1964, Pugmire was admitted to the BYU nursing program. Thinking back on getting that wonderful news, Pugmire reminisces, “You never forget the joy and relief when that notice is received.” She started out in the Bachelor’s program, but when life shifted and she became engaged, she switched to the two-year program. She like that it was focused more on patient care rather than management. Ironically, even though the plan was to focus more on bedside nursing, she eventually spent most of her career in management.

Many things have changed since Pugmire’s time at BYU. That first year, she received a full-tuition scholarship which totaled to only $220.

Facebook has become Pugmire’s way to continue to engage with the college, feeling the Spirit of the Y. She says, “I love to see the posts of the new students and they bring back so many great memories.”

She continues, “I am always happy to see the Facebook posts from the nursing program and to see the wonderful things they are doing. I am disabled by a very bad back and knees and I don’t get out much, so Facebook has become my window to the world.”

The team at the College of Nursing is so grateful for cheerleaders like Pugmire and want to thank her for her continued support. Pugmire realizes the difficulty of what is asked of the students and adds, “The nursing program isn’t easy and I will continue to encourage the students.” Thank you, Marianna!

From the Ballroom to the Emergency Room: Nursing Student Helps BYU Dance Team Win International Dance Competition

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Nicole Udall and her team leave victorious. Photo courtesy of BYU Dance Instagram.

By Quincey Taylor

On June 18, the Brigham Young University dance team returned victorious from the 2019 British Open Championship in Blackpool, England. Teams from various countries, including places like China and the Czech Republic, came to try and claim the title. BYU’s spectacular students, including recent nursing graduate Nicole Udall, brought them to victory. Their Latin dance team took first place overall, and the ballroom dance team took second.

Finding her Dancing Shoes

Coming to dance at BYU had been a dream of Udall’s since she was a little girl. As a child, she had danced different styles, including jazz and lyrical. She had no idea, however, that ballroom would eventually become her passion.

Her brother introduced Udall and her fraternal twin to the world of ballroom. At the time, he was on the BYU ballroom dance team going on tours. He had been doing ballroom since he was 13, and he wanted his younger sisters to start in that same stage of life. Udall and her sister loved to see their brother perform and to see the impact he was making.

She was inspired to try out ballroom for herself, and Udall loved it. She set the goal to one day dance on the BYU ballroom dance team and was successful, along with her twin.

Dance Led Her to Nursing

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Udall’s first IV insertion! Photo courtesy of Udall.

Udall soon found nursing, and immediately knew that it was the career for her. “I wanted to work with people,” she says, “As a dancer, I was so used to that. I wanted to have a deeper relationship with the people I worked with. When I looked for a career with those aspects, I found nursing. It checked those boxes that I had. I also wanted to find a degree that was intellectually challenging. I wanted to find something that would build me as a person and help me develop.”

Balancing Interests

However, balancing these two interests was not always easy. She reflects, “When I first came to the Y, I thought, ‘I’m going to do ballroom, that’s why I wanted to come to BYU.’ Then I found nursing. I was like, ‘This is the thing for me, this is the degree I want to do.’ However, when I was talking to people, they told me there’s no way I could do both. Nursing is a huge commitment. It definitely takes 100% of your effort. But dancing was such a part of me that I didn’t want to give it up.”

Udall did not give up and found a way to be able to do both. She says, “The thing that helped me balance the two was being able to communicate early with people. If you wait until the last minute, and came up to a professor and said, ‘Hey, I’m going to be gone this week.’ Then they would say, ‘What? You can’t do that.’ Being able to communicate early and to present solutions to problems was key.”

She has worked on being present for whatever she is doing at the moment, and says, “It’s also helpful to learn to prioritize, giving 100% of my effort to whatever I was doing at the time. If I was doing nursing, I was focused on nursing. If I was dancing, I was focused on dancing.”

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Va va voom! Photo courtesy of Udall.

After years dancing, Udall attributes many life lessons to ballroom. She says, “You learn how to unify as a team and be able to build relationships with other people. You’re not only working with a whole team, you’re working as partners as well. It’s important to be able to communicate with one another and problem solve, while still being happy and joyful while you work hard towards a goal.”

Another blessing Udall has gained from dance was her husband, who took a ballroom class where they met.

Udall is not the only nursing student to be on the ballroom dance team. She has always been happy to give advice to other nurses helping them to balance their passions. Having others going through the same thing is comforting and empowering.

The Championship

Udall was ecstatic to compete at the British Open Championship this year, as it was her last year as a BYU undergraduate as well as a competing ballroom dancer. While she has competed on both teams, this year she danced ballroom instead of Latin. She comments, “It was a culmination of our whole experience working together. We were all working towards this common goal unifying as a team through the ups and the downs. Seeing the reward of our progress was really cool.”

Team members support one another throughout the experience. Udall explains, “We got to watch each other, and we are each other’s biggest fans. We were so excited.”

Advice for Future Students

When asked what Udall would tell other nursing students struggling to balance multiple interests, Udall says, “I think the best advice I could give is to just go for it! A lot of people will tell you that you can’t do things because they don’t know how you can do them. However, being open to early communication and being a problem solver can make it possible.”

She expounds, “Live your dreams. There were many times that I wanted to give up, but letting go of one passion was like letting go of a part of me. I think it’s important to still go for your dreams and live them, just prioritize and communicate.”

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Udall (third from the right) and her fellow students pose with associate teaching professor Dr. Shelly Reed. Photo courtesy of Udall.

Plans After Graduation

After graduation and the dance championship, Udall plans on studying for and taking the NCLEX. She looks to find a job in the emergency room in Arizona, where she and her husband are moving. She plans to eventually go to school for a master’s degree to continue her education.

Career Night: Where Students and Professionals Connect (and what to expect)

WHAT

On January 30, BYU College of Nursing’s first ever Career Night will provide an opportunity for you to sit down and talk with health care professionals. Nursing students semesters one through four are especially encouraged to attend. Please join us for this rare opportunity!

WHY

Deven Jennings, a Charge Nurse, says, “It should be the goal of every nurse to find purpose and meaning in their chosen specialty. When you find your passion, you will find the fulfillment that the nursing profession has to offer.”

While the nursing program provides extensive curriculum, it is not able to cover every career possible. And there are several options out there. For example, did you know you could become a forensic nurse? Have you ever considered being a school nurse? Career Night offers you a chance to learn about a variety of careers, ask professionals about their day-to-day lives, and know what you need to do to reach your potential.

WHO

Over 20 local professionals, including alumni, will come to talk about their careers. If you want to learn about being an ambulatory OB/GYN nurse, you can. If you are interested in law, a nurse attorney will be there. Maybe being an emergency department nurse fascinates you. You can learn how to become one. Other careers include critical care nurse, geriatric nurse, home health pediatric nurse, oncology nurse, and nurse educator. Professionals from all these areas and more want to share their knowledge with you.

“There is value in looking for an experience after graduation that will help you solidly develop your skills,” says Tiffany Noss, a Nurse Practitioner. “If you put in the time and effort to build a solid foundation when you graduate, you can go anywhere.”

Feeling overwhelmed by the options? Curtis Newman, Director of Medical Services, gives this advice: “Be flexible. Gain experience in different areas. Never be afraid to ask questions. Always be learning new skills and look for new knowledge.” Meeting with these qualified nurses can kick-start your journey to your future career.

WHEN AND WHERE

We invite you to join us for Career Night on January 30, at The Student Wilkinson Center room 3228 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm. You will be given the opportunity to have five, 12-minute rotations with health care professionals. Please be aware that seating at each table is limited. Ice cream sundaes will be served.