Tag Archives: BYU College of Nursing

Student Spotlight: Haokun Yang


Yang (third from the left) is looking forward to additional classes in the nursing program; Photo provided by Yang

By Lyndee Johns

When speaking to second-semester nursing student Haokun Yang, it’s clear what drives him: service.

During his time at Minot State University, Yang was highly involved in student government as a senator. He also participated in DECA, a business club. Through DECA, he was able to go to a national conference in Washington DC and compete in a business competition. A period of self-discovery for him, Yang says that he was able to discover that his “passion is really to help people and to serve others.”

The experience that got him into nursing was that of helping to care for his grandmother when she was in the hospital. He says that helping his grandmother and aiding the caretaker was the “first medical experience” that he had.

“And then from that experience I thought, ‘Maybe I can do something like that—to help people, serve others, and to help them feel God’s love through me.”

One of Yang’s favorite moments in the nursing program so far has been the final exam for NURS 294: Health Assessment and Promotion, where he was able to conduct a head-to-toe physical check. “At that moment, I really felt like ‘I am a nurse. I am going to be a nurse.’”

Yang looks forward to taking NURS 320: Scholarly Inquiry into Nursing—a class that focuses on research methodology. “I want to learn more about research,” Yang says. “I believe that experience is going to help me to take care of patients.”

In addition to serving people through the nursing program, Yang has been volunteering at the Y-serve program Anatomy Academy—a program that teaches elementary school students about the parts of the body and how to keep them healthy.

Haokun Yang

Yang has hiked trails in China and in Utah; Photo provided by Yang

In his free time, Yang enjoys reading, swimming, and being outdoors. While at BYU, Yang has been able to hike some of the famous BYU spots, including the Y trail, Provo Peak, and Mount Timpanogos. In China, his stomping grounds include Mount Hua.

Yang describes his hometown as “one of the most ancient cities in China.” Xi’an is well-known for its food and its many historical sites, including the famous terracotta warriors and the Qianling Mausoleum, where the first woman emperor in China, Wu Zetian, is buried.1

After graduation, Yang wants to take on the challenges of working in the ICU. “I like the fast pace and also the demand from that unit, and I also feel like I can keep up with both the physical and mental demands from that unit.”

The most important thing he’s learned so far in the program? “The Healer’s art,” Yang says. “To help the patients feel God’s mercy through the care we provide.”

  1. Traveling Guide China (2018). “Top Ten Things to Do In Xi’an.” Retrieved from https://www.travelchinaguide.com/package/xian/top-10-things-to-do.htm.

Nurses Empowering Women: A NEW Opportunity

By Quincey Taylor


The creation of this group by students Electra Cochran, Emma Beaumont, and Harper Forsgren promises exciting change to the BYU nursing student experience.

Nurses will inevitably treat more women than men during their career. Therefore, it is vital for them to understand the unique issues that women experience in their lifetimes. To fulfill this need in our nursing students’ education, the Nurses Empowering Women organization was formed.

This group, which welcomes male and female nursing students alike, was started by sixth semester student Electra Cochran. She is truly passionate about women’s health and believes the club’s motto: Helping Women Heals the World. She says, “The goal of this organization is to bring together nursing and Global Women’s Studies.” This doesn’t mean, however, that participants need to minor in Global Women’s Studies at all. All that is required is a desire to uphold women’s health.

Cochran continues, “There are so many bright minds in this program. That’s why having a club where it’s a safe place to talk about sensitive issues will help us come up with a lot of great solutions. We want to know how we can help in the future as professionals.”

The group will meet monthly, having group discussions and activities. Their next event will be hosting a conference on the eighth of February called “Promoting Healthy Relationships” (see flier below). They encourage everyone to go and participate and to bring a plus one.

NEW conference flier

Scan the QR code above to sign up.

The genesis for this group started when Cochran and her presidency counterparts, Emma Beaumont and Harper Forsgren, went on a study abroad together focusing specifically on women’s rights. They were the only students to go on the study abroad, and it was a wonderful opportunity to expand their education. Cochran says the decision to go completely changed her life. She says, “It was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my college career. When we came back, it didn’t stop there. We got together with faculty and talked about the things we learned and experienced.” They decided they wanted to make a difference.

Cochran was particularly influenced after a spiritual experience she had. She says, “One day, I was thinking about Eve and how she is fundamental in the plan of salvation. I just felt this power, and I knew that empowering women is something that is eternal and goes beyond this life. Women are essential to God’s plan.”

Their goal is to keep the group solely student-driven. The group name and motto were created after taking suggestions from students. They have felt support from many faculty members, including college advisor Cara Wiley, undergraduate studies secretary Delsa Richards, and associate dean and associate professor Dr. Katreen Merrill.

Club leaders have big plans for the future, including service projects, a book club, and trips to visit church history sites in Salt Lake City.

Cochran concludes, “There is so much value in getting the most out of your education at BYU. This is a perfect opportunity to expand your knowledge of women’s health and to just have fun.”


Differences Make You Better: Dr. Corinna Tanner’s Connection to Terry Johnson’s Dog Driven


Dr. Corinna Tanner provided many of her own experiences for Terry Johnson to use in her book

By Lyndee Johns

“The thing that is sort of funny about this is that anybody that knows me knows I’m terrified of dogs,” says assistant professor Dr. Corinna Tanner.

Considering her role in Terry Lynn Johnson’s book Dog Driven, the statement is truly ironic.

Dog Driven image

Dog Driven was released on December 3rd, 2019; Photo courtesy of Amazon

Dog Driven tells the story of Mckenna Barney, a fourteen-year-old musher who decides to participate in a Canadian sled-dog race carrying a very important piece of mail—her sister’s letter about raising awareness for Stargardt disease. The holdup? Mckenna has been losing her vision to the same disease for the last year, and desperately trying to keep her vision loss from her family and her peers. During the perilous race, Mckenna makes important self-discoveries. “It’s about her journey of grappling with this disability and having the courage to tell people about it, and having the courage to be okay with it,” says Tanner, who has Stargardt’s herself.

While Tanner has, in her words, “perfect peripheral vision,” the disease has affected her central vision—rendering her completely blind in that area.

One of the challenges that comes with Stargardt’s is that recognizing people tends to be very difficult. “And so that makes social situations really awkward and challenging sometimes because you can’t tell the difference between people . . . And in a high school setting where the halls are crowded and you don’t know very many people, it’s very, very intimidating because you can’t tell who people are . . . It can be very socially isolating, and so she captured some of that challenge in the book,” Tanner says.

In 2017, Johnson connected with Tanner though an online blindness support group, asking whether Tanner would be interested in being interviewed. Tanner met with Johnson for interviews over the next five to six months. Johnson asked about Tanner’s experience with Stargardt disease, especially about her experiences as a teenager. Some of these memories, such as Tanner having to move closer and closer to the chalkboard until she had to stand directly in front of it to be able to read it, are included in the book. “But one thing that came out of the interviews that she said she really wanted to capture was my positive attitude about blindness, about my acceptance of blindness. She wanted her character to have that same kind of acceptance and positivity around her disability,” Tanner says.

When Tanner listened to the book the first time, she found herself getting so caught up in the story’s plot and adventure that she actually forgot that she had inspired many of Mckenna’s experiences. “Hearing her experience about what she could see, what she couldn’t see, and how she did it, I was like ‘Oh, that’s just like me,’” Tanner says. “And I was like ‘That is me!’’’


Dr. Corinna Tanner appreciates Terry Johnson’s accurate depiction of Stargardt’s

Tanner describes the main character Mckenna as a combination between herself and Johnson, who has experience with dog-sledding and lives in Canada. But Tanner says that she could take from Mckenna’s example of overcoming fear by applying it towards her own fear of dogs.

While some moments of the book are taken directly from Tanner’s experiences, there are some differences. While in the book Mckenna’s little sister gets the disease first, Tanner says that it was the opposite for her. “In my case, I got it first . . . then my younger sister did develop Stargardt’s too, and hers was more severe than mine . . .  [Johnson] just kind of flipped the story a little bit.”

Tanner also had a slightly different method of coping with her vision loss growing up. “I don’t think I was actively trying to hide it as much as this character was as just trying to suck it up and tough it out, because my parents were busy.”

When Tanner at first noticed problems with her eyesight, she’d chalked it up to needing glasses. And as her mother had her hands full with trying to raise seven young children and caring for a developmentally delayed uncle, it took a year—and a school vision screening test—to find out what was really going on.

Standing in front of volunteer moms and her classmates, the only letter that Tanner could make out on the chart was the gigantic letter E. “And the moms thought I was just being a smart aleck. They thought I was trying to be funny, and the kids thought I was trying to be funny too. So everybody was laughing. And I ran out of the school crying,” Tanner says. The incident led to a trip to the eye doctor, and an eventual diagnosis of Stargardt disease.

Tanner has three main messages that readers should take away from Dog Driven:

  1. “It’s respectable to be blind.”
  2. “Blind people can do most things sighted people can do, but they do it in a different way.”
  3. “Sometimes blind people don’t look blind.”

“It’s important to think about the fact that if someone had known—if any of the adults in her life had known—about her vision impairment, she likely would not have been permitted to join the race,” Tanner says. “And that’s unfortunate. I feel like children with disabilities and people with disabilities are frequently held back from reaching their full potential out of concern for their safety, which is valid, but on the other hand, there is spiritual and psychological and emotional safety too that are important to be considered . . . She could have gotten hurt on the trail, but so could any of the other mushers.”

One line from the book still stands out to Tanner—particularly because it is her own. In Dog Driven, one of Mckenna’s opponents has a lead dog, Zesty, who is visually impaired. However, Zesty is the most hardworking and focused dog on the team. Near the end of the book, Mckenna comes to an earthshaking conclusion: “Zesty is not disabled. Her differences make her better.”1

And that’s what Tanner takes away from it all: “My blindness hasn’t made me disabled. In the end, it’s made me better.”

  1. Terry Lynn Johnson, Dog Driven (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019), 242.

New Semester = New Students!


New Student Orientation was a wonderful opportunity for new nursing program students to get excited about the path ahead of them.

The 2020 winter semester has begun, and with it a new cohort of nursing students are welcomed into the college ranks. Each of these new students had the opportunity to attend the New Student Orientation, acquainting them with college officials and faculty members over dinner.


Assistant teaching professor Petr Ruda was eager to meet the students and tell them about Sigma, an organization they will have an opportunity to join later during their stay in the program.


This semester, 63 total students will be starting the nursing program, including 58 females and five males. The average age of these students is 21, and they come from 14 states and 2 countries:

  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Wyoming


Ice breakers helped students become familiar with each other, a group with whom they will undoubtedly become close.

Each of these students is embarking on a journey to learn the Healer’s art that will forever change their lives. The college welcomes them, with faculty eager to stretch their abilities and help them achieve their potential.


Yazmine Tovar, member of the SNA presidency, told her fellow students about the benefits of joining.

Students were introduced to student organizations they are encouraged to join by the clubs’ presidencies, including the Student Nurses Association and Nurses Empowering Women.


Electra Cochran introduced students to the newly formed club: Nurses Empowering Women (NEW). They are excited to inspire a new generation of women helping women.

For students farther through the semester, it was a time to reflect on their journey and marvel at how far they’ve come. Time in the program passes fast, and each student should take this opportunity and use it to its full potential.

New Scholarship Opportunities for Graduate Students: Join GNSA Today!


Graduate student Trissa Lyman is excited to get BYU students connected with other universities! Photo courtesy of Lyman.

By Quincey Taylor

For the first time ever, a BYU student has been selected as the Graduate Nursing Student Academy liaison. Well, what does that mean? Graduate student Trissa Lyman is excited to teach us all, and inform nursing students of further opportunities they could be taking advantage of.

The Graduate Nursing Student Academy (GNSA), “provides high value programs, services, and resources to graduate nursing students enrolled in master’s and doctoral programs affiliated with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing” (GNSA pamphlet). As the first year with their own GNSA liaison, BYU students can familiarize themselves with the program and take part in some of the help they have to offer.

One of Lyman’s favorite things about being a member is the opportunity to network. Through GNSA Connect – an online community of graduate nursing students – members can meet their peers throughout the country and join discussions, make connections, and share resources. Lyman says, “There’s just so many resources and so many cool people that are doing different things that weren’t even on my radar before.”

Additionally, members can apply for GNSA’s exclusive scholarships and other financial aid opportunities. Joining GNSA is free to all BYU graduate students and Lyman is eager to spread the good news. It is her duty to keep students informed and connected with the GNSA community and she has been emailing students encouraging them to sign up. Even though she’s new to the position, Lyman is certain it will be a worth-while experience.

Lyman explains, “Joining is good for professional development, because sometimes you just don’t know what’s available or what’s out there. I feel like the GNSA is the perfect platform to be exposed to all variety of possibilities.”

To join, register at www.aacnursing.org/GNSA/Join or talk to Lyman or professor Dr. Beth Luthy.

Not So Different: BYU Professor Speaks at Tongan Nursing Day Celebration


Reed, wearing a traditional ta’ovala gifted to her for formal occasions. Photo courtesy of Reed.

By Quincey Taylor

BYU professors take the mantra, “Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve,” very seriously in their careers. During this summer’s Tonga section of the clinical practicum for the public and global health nursing course, associate teaching professor Dr. Shelly Reed was asked to give a speech as part of this year’s International Nursing Day celebration.

This holiday, which is celebrated extensively on the island, was a wonderful opportunity to show what BYU stands for and why we immerse ourselves into other cultures. An overwhelming lesson all students learned was that they weren’t so different from Tongan nurses, sharing the same mission and desires.

Reed, who was returning to Tonga for the eighth time, was elated to have the chance to speak to a people that had grown to mean so much to her. She thought the best way to show what Tonga has meant to BYU students would be to read their thoughts on the experience.


BYU nursing students (red) with local Tongan nursing students. They became fast friends. Photo courtesy of Reed.

Reed started her speech, saying, “At the BYU College of Nursing, we are learning the Healer’s art, or in other words, trying to learn to heal as our Savior, Jesus Christ, would heal… I am going to tell you today some of the things that students have learned in Tonga.”

Robin, who came to Tonga as a student the first year in 2010, said, “My nursing education was greatly enhanced by my experiences in Tonga. I learned that the Healer’s art is not always found in medications or in treatments. Instead, it is found in the sincere caring of one person for another. I loved to watch how the nurses in Tonga cared for their patients with the utmost respect and care. They inspired me to be a better nurse, and perhaps more importantly, a more caring person.”

The next year in 2011, Reed returned with 12 students. Unfortunately, that year most of them contracted gastrointestinal illness, and three of the students had to be hospitalized. They experienced Tongan healthcare by being a patient. Jaclyn, one of the students, said, “Tonga taught me about family, medical family, and love of healing.”


Honoring the elderly is a big part of Tongan culture. Photo courtesy of Reed.

Reed and her students enjoyed the celebrations for International Nursing Day, and witnessed the reverent respect locals have for nurses. An award and cake were given to an elderly member of their society who had been a nurse in the local hospital for many years.


Reed and her daughter with local nurse and her daughter. Family ties bring people together! Photo courtesy of Reed.

The college’s time in Tonga is treasured by all who go there. So many invaluable lessons are learned, by both professors and students. Reed, as well as everyone at the College of Nursing, hope to continue this blossoming relationship with Tonga.

Reed concluded her speech by addressing local healthcare professionals: “Just think of the impact that you all have on these students! We thank you for the compassion and caring you have shown us, and the compassion and caring you have taught us, as well as many other things that help us to be better nurses. Malo ‘auptio! Thank you very much.”

2019 Master’s Reunion Recap


Dean Patty Ravert and associate teaching professor Dr. Sabrina Jarvis accept their “retirement leis” during the celebration of their accomplishments. Photo courtesy of Zak Gowans.

By Quincey Taylor


This week was a special opportunity for alumni from the BYU nursing master’s program to unite and celebrate their alma mater. In a fun reunion which included dinner, connections, and games for the kids, nurse practitioners and nursing administrators came together to feel the spirit of the Y.

The event was marked by the celebration of the beloved professor Dr. Patricia Ravert and associate teaching professor Dr. Sabrina Jarvis, both of whom will be retiring soon. Jarvis, who is retiring in December, has made a lasting impression on the college and all who associate with it. She has been a full-time employee since 2008 and an adjunct member since 2001. Ravert, who is retiring in July, has acted as the college dean and fearless leader since 2012 and is well-respected nationally.


Alum Brand P. Reynolds accepts the 2019 Preceptor of the Year Award for his considerable efforts as a preceptor. Photo courtesy of Zak Gowans.

Each year, an honored FNP preceptor receives an award because of their exceptional efforts in mentoring nursing students. This year’s recipient is Brand P. Reynolds (’94 BS, ’98 MS) owns his own clinic. He has been precepting graduate students for the past eight years. He is a great example of the difference a nurse practitioner in independent practice in rural Utah can make in a community.


Graduate student Charlie Rowberry was also recognized for her accomplishments. She is a ray of sunshine! Photo courtesy of Zak Gowans.

Also honored was graduate students Charlie Rowberry, who received the Utah Nurse Practitioner Outstanding Student Award this month.

Ravert was also able to announce the sizable donation the BYU College of Nursing received from the Fritz B. Burns Foundation. This will go towards the Cheryl R. Robinson Endowed Graduate Scholarship Fund in Nursing, which will allow for increased opportunities for student tuition scholarships, student mentoring, and increased participation in additional global health sites in the future.


Bingo was a big hit! Notice the Thanksgiving wreath being worn as a hat? Photo courtesy of Zak Gowans.

While the NPs and their spouses listened to the presentation, children were able to play Bingo, make Thanksgiving wreaths, and throw mini footballs.


Bullseye! Photo courtesy of Zak Gowans.

Overall, this year’s reunion was a great success. We are already excited for next year’s on November 10, 2020!