Tag Archives: BYU College of Nursing

Getting Involved: BYU Graduate Students Help to Pass Bill at Utah State Legislature


Students Libby Willmore (left), Charlie Rowberry (center), and Julie Palmieri (right) lobbying at the state capitol.

By Quincey Taylor

When you think of a House of Representatives or a state legislature, what kind of people do you imagine there? Perhaps middle-aged men in tailored suits? Well, first year BYU graduate nursing students Libby Willmore, Charlie Rowberry, and Julie Palmieri are breaking that stereotype. These students were not afraid to stand up and work towards making changes that will directly affect them after graduation.

These motivated students had the chance to assist associate professor Dr. Beth Luthy – who is also the Legislative Chair for the Utah Association of Nurse Practitioners – in lobbying House Bill 336 in the Utah State Legislature. Getting a bill passed is a long and difficult process, but these students were up to the challenge as they were led by their stalwart professor.


Why was House Bill 336 created?

A nurse practitioner’s scope of practice, or what they’re allowed to do, is dictated by every individual state. There are no national guidelines or regulations. As a result, some states choose to allow NPs to practice full authority within the NP scope of practice, while other states extremely limit what NPs can do. Many times these restrictive states require by law for NPs to be under the direction of a physician at all times.

Utah’s laws fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. For example, when NPs in Utah graduate, they are subject to the Consultation and Referral Plan (CRP) which requires them to be under the direction of a physician for the first two years or 2,000 hours of practice when prescribing controlled substances.

When a physician opts to be responsible for an NP, he signs a mandated document that many physicians charge NPs thousands of dollars to receive.

While originally written to more closely regulate the prescriptions of opiates and other dangerous substances, these laws have evolved to a rule that ties the hands of newly graduated nurse practitioners and requires them to pay thousands of dollars for a piece of paper that likely will sit in a filing cabinet until they reach two years of practice or 2,000 clinical hours, whichever comes first.

This was also a problem because nurses could easily avoid these charges if they simply chose to move to a state that doesn’t require them, thus driving nurses away from Utah practices.


What happened when House Bill 336 was implemented?

After working with legislators and coming to a common agreement, HB 336 was passed. The law was changed to require newly graduated NPs to have a CRP only for the first year or 2,000 hours of practice if opening their own clinic. They also changed who could give out a CRP mandated document, now allowing other senior NPs in the field to act as their referral.

This will now be friendlier to small practices opened up by nurse practitioners, allowing them to hire employees without the need for physician supervision. They can practice more easily in rural areas where there might not be a surplus of physicians.

Changing the law will also save new NPs thousands of dollars they might have paid to physicians in past years.


Why were these students interested in participating?

These laws would have affected any nursing student that decided to stay in Utah after graduation. This was something that personally motivated Willmore to get involved. She said she became interested in helping when “Professor Luthy was talking about her work at the capitol building during class and mentioned that she could use some help. I figured that working with law makers to change practice regulations for nurse practitioners will directly affect me when I graduate so I better get in there and help out.”

These students were active participants in Luthy’s legislative committee and personally lobbied to gain support to pass the bill. They dutifully participated, coming up to the capitol multiple times a week during the campaign.

Luthy is so proud of the efforts of these students and says, “All three of those students were fully engaged. Every day they were up at the capitol. They were lobbying. They were attending committee meetings. They testified in committee hearings. I mean, it was completely amazing.” She is looking forward to future developments to progress the cause of nurse practitioners.


Thanks, SNA For Another Great Year!

By Jessica Tanner

What do J-Dawgs, College of Nurses’ students, and a dunk-tank all have in common? All were at yesterday’s closing social for the Student Nursing Association. The society is student-run and works to coordinate events and help students become more involved in the community.

At the closing social, students were able to enjoy the crisp but sunny spring weather, eat food, chat, and dunk their favorite teacher or staff member. Assistant Teaching Professor Scott Summers was a particularly popular target as students got him back (in good humor) for a tough semester in his Pharmacology class.

SNA knows how to have fun. Izzy Algeier, SNA’s newly nominated president says that SNA strives to “provide different activities so that they can de-stress and be able to have fun, make relationships, and ultimately to become more unified as a college.”  They also know when to be professional. “Our vision is to help students…have professional opportunities while they’re in the nursing program,” says Algeier.

“It’s been awesome,” says Kami Christiansen, an SNA board member. “I got to go to the National Student Nursing Association conference. That was way fun.” At NSNA, students represented BYU and its values. “I’m grateful for it,” says Christiansen as she looks forward to future involvement.

The evening also included the announcements of the recipients of the SNA Scholarship. Congratulations to Jessica Daynes, Camille Johnson, Megan Western, Christina Hobson, and Katy Harrison. These students showed excellence in participating in several professional and service-oriented SNA events.

Thanks to all SNA members who have made these opportunities and events possible. We look forward to another year!


Earthquake at the MTC: Nursing Students Participate in Mock Mass Casualty Incident

By Jessica Tanner

Watch the video of the mock Mass Casualty Incident here!

In the cool, dark tunnels beneath the Provo Missionary Training Center, 100 victims cried out for help. At 4:00 pm on March 30, 2019, an emergency call was answered by BYU Emergency Medical Services and College of Nursing students, who quickly came to the rescue. They handled the situation with level heads and caring hands, treating scrapes and bruises, broken bones and shock. Within a few hours, victims had been treated and cared for.

Similar emergency simulations takes place each semester for fifth-semester nursing students, organized by BYU EMS. Each time is a different situation and location. The most recent disaster was an earthquake. BYU theatre students volunteered to be earthquake victims, with fake wounds and ripped clothes to set the scene. Some had scratches and bruises, others missing eyes or fingers, some had broken bones, and others had glass embedded in their wounds. Once in the tunnel, these students did not hold back in acting the part of a victim—wounded and afraid, calling out for help and for loved ones.


BYU EMS carry an earthquake victim

Nursing students and EMS rushed in from various locations, including BYU campus and near-by homes. They searched along the tunnel for those in critical condition. Amidst a cacophony of moans and screams, they were able to identify which victims were in the most need by a wristband that identified their vitals and condition. They tied red tags on victims in critical condition, yellow tags for less serious injuries, and green who were not in need of urgent treatment. Most victims, however, fell into the first two categories.

Students set up a treatment center with incredible speed—a large tarp near the tunnel entrance with medical supplies at the ready. EMS carried red-tagged victims to the treatment area. Here, nursing students and EMS were direct and compassionate as they asked questions, such as “What is your name?”, “Can you hear me?” or “Where does it hurt?” They reassured the victims, saying, “We’re going to take care of you, all right?” as they called out for oxygen and gauze. Working together, nursing students and EMS were able to treat those in need.


A nursing student treats and calms an earthquake victim

“I hope that they’ll see another side of healthcare,” says associate teaching professor Dr. Blaine Winters on what he hopes the nursing students have learned from the simulation. “They’re usually in a very controlled environment in the hospital and when things happen outside of a hospital it’s not controlled, it’s chaos. So I wanted them to get an understanding of what goes on before the patient gets to the hospital. And then also to be able to function if they were to be put in that type of situation; to at least have a little experience of what they could do as a nurse in the field if they had to.”


Nursing students and BYU EMS work together to treat patients

One important skill students learned, besides basic treatments, is communication. Fifth-semester nursing student Jaylee Bastian says, “We were working with other EMS as well as the patients, so it was good to know how to communicate and be open and friendly especially with the patients because they were in such dire circumstances.” Even though those “dire circumstance” were simulated, participants like Bastian were fully engaged in the process.

Emergencies happen. But being prepared for these situations, not only through study but through practice, can calm chaos and save lives.


The Anatomy and Chemistry Survival Guide

By Jessica Tanner

Finals are almost here. Fortunately, so is Emerie McQuiston, a second-semester student working as a first-year student mentor. While she focuses on mentoring pre-nursing students, especially as they balance Chemistry 285 and Human Anatomy homework, the strategies she gives are universal. So, whether you need some study tips for finals or are looking to do the prerequisites in the coming semesters, this study guide can help you not only survive but thrive in your classes. It may even help you form lasting friendships.

McQuiston had a lot of insight, but she knew that her methods wouldn’t work for everyone. She reached out to friends and classmates to come up with a study guide for her students. “It [is] beneficial to have people that are similar to them but also a ton of different opinions because everyone learns a little bit differently.” Here is what McQuiston and her peers recommend:

Anatomy and Chemistry Survival Guide

I asked some of my classmates what they thought helped them most in Human Anatomy and Chem 285. These classes can be tough, and I thought that it would be beneficial for some to have multiple opinions on how to succeed. I hope you can find something on this list that helps you. You are going to do great this semester!


  • (Savage) After class each day, go through your notes and do as much as you can on the problem set. Doing it as you go helps so it’s not as much work at the end, and also gives you the opportunity to ask for help if you need it.
  • Block out at least one TA reviews in your schedule. Treat it like another class and try not to miss.
  • Form a study group and try to meet at least once a week.
  • For study groups, try to find a regular time during the week to hold your meetings. Setting a regular time allows you to be more prepared to contribute and/or come up with questions beforehand.
  • Find study groups that you can also be friends with. That way, studying is fun while being productive, rather than just stress.
  • There is a walk-in tutorial lab in W151 BNSN. They are open most of the day and there are always TAs to help with homework or studying. Some suggested just doing homework in the lab so you can ask questions as they come up.
  • Reach out to your TAs! They are very well qualified to help you. They can bridge the gap between your professor and you.
  • Notice how the material is applying in your life. The more you think about it, the more it will stick.


  • Teach everyone you can about what you learn: your roommates, your mom, everyone! Repetition is key.
  • Regularly schedule time in the lab. Block out your schedule at some point each week.
  • Find good study groups as soon as possible.
  • Repeat from above but…Find study groups that you can also be friends with. That way, studying is fun while being productive, rather than just stress.
  • Focus your study on the learning objectives for lecture.
  • For the terms, breaking them down and understand all parts makes them easier to remember.
  • Look up pictures online of different body parts you are studying so you can get used to seeing a variety of bodies.
  • Go to open lab and study with different students. Finding out how other people study and remember things can be very beneficial.
  • When it comes to the final, go through the body head to toe, making sure you know everything.
  • Go to at least one weekly review each week.

Of course, don’t feel like you have to do all of things to do well in these classes! Find something that works well for you and stick with it.


McQuiston enjoys being a student mentor. “I love it! I love helping pre-nursing students especially…I feel like it really does make a difference for them,” she says. “I wish that I had someone close to me that I could ask questions [to] about the program before I got in.” She has decided to pay it forward and help others.

One of the best rewards has been the friendships she has made both from student mentoring and her study groups. “I have even connected some of my students together because they are all pre-nursing,” she explains. “And I have students that have formed friendships through that.” Yes, studying hard is important, but why not make friends at the same time? By following McQuiston’s survival guide, you won’t just pass your classes, you will look back on rewarding experiences and life-long friendships.

Good luck with finals everyone!



Minors That Complement a Nursing Degree

By Mindy Longhurst

A nursing degree from Brigham Young University provides students with a comprehensive education including a diverse range of healthcare-related subjects. Though a minor will add to a student’s already heavy workload, learning about fields that are complementary to nursing is beneficial. Global women’s studies and gerontology are two subjects that line up perfectly with a nursing student’s career goals.

Global Women’s Studies Minor

The newly created global women’s studies minor encourages students to be more compassionate and caring when interacting and caring for women. Learning more
about women, especially from a global perspective, can help nurses to be more effective in the workforce.

Nursing students can complete this minor without delaying graduation or adding too many extra classes to their schedule. It requires only a three-credit Introduction to Global Women’s Studies course, two one-credit colloquium classes, two three-credit elective sessions such as women in science and women’s health issues, and two nursing classes they are already taking: the public and global health nursing course practicum and the nursing capstone project.

According to the program outcomes for the minor, students should be able to demonstrate knowledge of the ways that different institutions, issues (such as media or religion), and factors (such as the workplace) intersect with and affect women’s lives. They should be able to demonstrate knowledge of the worldwide contributions of women to history, culture, politics, health, science, religion, and family.

The program also expects that students will read, write, and think analytically. They will be able to conduct research using primary and secondary sources and communicate that research effectively in oral, written, and multimedia presentations. Delsa Richards, the nursing undergraduate studies secretary, believes that receiving a minor in global women’s studies will encourage nursing students to become better nurses. She says, “Nursing students and professionals interact with many women. Having a deeper understanding of women will increase their compassion and capacity as a nurse. It is an interdisciplinary minor to gain an in-depth understanding of the ways that gender plays a critical role in the lives of women and men. This will help the students learn more about the people that they are going to help.”

Gerontology Minor

Given the nation’s aging population, the gerontology minor is a valuable addition to a nursing degree. Gerontology involves caring for elderly individuals and handling their health needs. Students who minor in gerontology will learn about the aging process and its psychological and sociological implications. They will also learn how to improve their elderly patients’ quality of life and how to help them get the most out of their later years.

Because nursing students are already required to take courses in gerontology, it is easy for them to obtain this minor. Any nursing student who does not have a capstone course focused on labor and delivery or pediatrics is automatically eligible for the minor; students who have a capstone project focused in labor and delivery or pediatrics can still
achieve the minor if they want. However, a student must declare the minor to receive it. There are currently 69 nursing students enrolled in the gerontology minor.

Having a gerontology minor inspires nursing students to gain additional skills to help their aging patients. Older people tend to have more complex care because of different social, emotional, and physical issues. Gerontology work also includes understanding which signs of aging are normal and which are not. Associate teaching professor Dr. Blaine Winters assists students who want to obtain the gerontology minor. “I believe
having a gerontology minor will help after graduation,” he says. “The majority of the patients that they are going to take care of in their careers are older adults, so having this knowledge and focus will support them.”

NLC Sweethearts: Two BYU Nursing Students Get Hitched


Nursing students Robert Kemsley and Julia Lee in the Nursing Learning Center.

By Quincey Taylor

There are a lot of things you will find in the nursing program. You will find challenge, teamwork, problems to solve, and maybe a little stress. But for nursing students Julia Lee and Robert Kemsley, there is something more that they’ve found in the nursing program: their eternal companions!

Married January 4th of 2019, this nursing power couple have been navigating the fulfilling, and sometimes hectic, life as current BYU nursing students.


Encounter 1: Meet-cute at CPR Class

It all started in a CPR class, and no, he didn’t give her mouth-to-mouth. Lee had recently returned from her mission to Argentina and Kemsley had just been accepted into the program. Both needed to be CPR certified. After overhearing her speak Spanish to a friend, Kemsley decided he wanted to talk to her since that was something they had in common. Both felt a connection, yet parted ways afterwards without exchanging numbers.


Encounter 2: Impromptu Library Date

Two months later, Kemsley and Lee ran into each other in the Harold B. Lee Library. They recognized each other, but didn’t remember when they had met. They rekindled their connection over nursing homework, helping each other with their problems.

Kemsley gathered his courage and ended up asking her for her number. However, Lee had just gotten a new number since returning from her mission and still didn’t have it completely memorized. She accidentally gave him the wrong number, off by one digit. “Poor guy probably thought I was trying to get rid of him,” laughs Lee.


Encounter 3: Reflecting in the NLC Computer Lab


Reenactment of that fateful NLC moment.

Lee had almost given up seeing him again. Even though they were both nursing students, different semesters rarely mix with each other. However, she noticed Kemsley sitting at a computer in the NLC computer lab. He also happened to look up and see her reflection in his computer’s monitor. They laughed after waving – not to each other, but to each other’s reflections.

Lee laughs, “That broke the ice.” Kemsley likes to joke that’s when he knew he’d found the one. They resolved the confusion over the wrong phone number and started periodically going on dates.

They liked to help each other on their homework assignments, Lee always being careful not to give him the answers to her past assignments. You know it’s true love when your date stays with you until one in the morning to help you on a big assignment. Their relationship escalated until they eventually got engaged and then married.


Balancing Life Together

With their different and busy schedules, Lee and Kemsley have a new set of challenges as a newlywed couple. Lee is busy completing her capstone at American Fork Hospital while Kemsley is still completing classes on campus as well as clinicals at Utah Valley Hospital. At the beginning, Kemsley would leave notes with Lee’s lunch in the refrigerator as a way of connecting. Nowadays, they enjoy little traditions like attending devotional together.

The nursing program has played a huge part in their relationship, including things like meeting for the first time to making future plans.

When asked how having two nurses for parents will affect their future children, Kemsley laughs, “They’re either gonna love nursing or hate nursing.”

Julia likes to add, “Nursing has been a good facilitator to talk about raising a family. I’m really grateful for the nursing program, because it prepared me to go on my mission. At that point, I was personally learning about communication. When I came back I wanted to be a more proactive communicator. When I started dating I was able to talk about things that might have made me uncomfortable in the past, and I think I learned that in the nursing program.”


Finding Harmony

One thing that has bonded the couple since the beginning has been piano. Lee grew up surrounded by piano music and Kemsley is currently the pianist for the BYU ballet technique classes.

Playing for BYU Ballet was one of Kemsley’s dreams. Ballet technique is traditionally done to live music, and the BYU ballet team always hires pianists to play during their technique classes. Kemsley “I wasn’t very qualified, but I was really interested in the job.” Even though he wasn’t the most experienced pianist, his positive energy and willingness to improve left a lasting impression; he was hired.

While not a part of his future career, Kemsley loves playing the piano and uses it as a stress reliever in his everyday life.


The Healer’s Art in Action: Year Three of The Magic Yarn Project

By Jessica Tanner

The Magic Yarn Project is an organization that has delivered thousands of yarn wigs and crocheted caps to little cancer fighters around the world. There is no shortage to the need for smiles and comfort amid times of hospitals, needles, and pain. But Holly Christensen, the organization’s co-founder, is determined to do what she can to help.

The project, which now includes hundreds of volunteers, began with a simple act of kindness. Christensen was praying for purpose in her life when she got sad news from her friend and fellow graduate Rachel Mecham (both graduated from BYU College of Nursing in ’06). Mecham’s daughter Lily had been diagnosed with lymphoma. For the next six months, their family spent 80 nights in the hospital. Mecham kept a blog on Lily’s progress to update family and friends (including Christensen). An oncologist, Christensen sees the pains of cancer daily. As Lily underwent chemotherapy and lost her hair, Christensen decided to step in and help.

“She wanted to do something and knew she couldn’t take away her cancer or physically be there in the hospital,” relates Mecham. Christensen had recently learned how to crochet and made Lily a beautiful, bright yellow Rapunzel wig. “It really brought a lot of cheer to her and to our family,” says Mecham.

Soon, the project that started with one wig turned into dozens. Mecham knew of more people who could use a wig for their children fighting cancer, and Christensen began asking for volunteers. Three years later, Christensen and her team of Magic Makers host the project in several states with hundreds of volunteers, or Fairy Godmothers, lending helping hands.


Hundreds of volunteers came to tie yarn to the crocheted caps.

Last week on Saturday, March 16, volunteers gathered at BYU to make these magical princess wigs and superhero caps. Among them were students, faculty, families, and local volunteers. “There are so many people willing to help and get involved and I feel that God works through us,” says Christensen. It has been a joy for us at the BYU College of Nursing to coordinate with The Magic Yarn Project in this endeavor, this year being year three for BYU.

Many nursing students have been involved these past few years. Sixth-semester nursing student Leah Guerrero says, “I love volunteering for The Magic Yarn Project!…I have had several family members diagnosed with cancer and I know how costly wigs can be and how important their wigs meant to them. So I have a lot of respect for this organization because it is all volunteer based and it does not cost a single penny for those who receive a beautiful yarn wig. I cannot imagine what these children go through as they fight cancer, but I hope their wigs are able to lift their spirits and bring a smile to their faces.”


Magic Makers teach volunteers to style and decorate the wigs before they are sent off.

Wigs made will go to Primary Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House, which offers a home-away-from-home for families with children fighting cancer. A representative from the Ronald McDonald House in Salt Lake City came to share his gratitude and the impact the wigs have on the children. These wigs truly warm the hearts of these little cancer fighters and their families.

On Saturday, our goal was 500 wigs. Together we made 537! Thank you to all Magic Makers and Fairy Godmothers who helped with this great event.

For more information on how to get involved, visit themagicyarnproject.com