Tag Archives: nursing students

NLC Sweethearts: Two BYU Nursing Students Get Hitched

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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

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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.

 

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Learning Beyond the Classroom: Adventures in Paraguay

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Photo courtesy of Rachel Matthews

By Jessica Tanner

As a nursing student, you fill hundreds of hours with your studies, your classes, and your clinical hours in hospitals. One day you wander by a flyer for a study abroad or see an email from one of your professors asking for student researchers. Do you keep walking? Do you disregard the email? Or do you consider the possibility of experiential learning outside the classroom? Though it may seem like there is not enough time nor resources, it may not be as impossible as you think. Two nursing students share how they got involved in a life-changing research trip to Paraguay.

These students joined Dr. Sheri Palmer, who was the recipient of the Fulbright Scholarship, in Paraguay to address the issue of teenage pregnancy.  On this ten-day research trip, they had two objectives: the first was interview local teachers, principals and community leaders about Paraguayan teenage life.  The second was to teach Days for Girls classes, teaching young women and girls about maturation and teenage pregnancy. For fifth-semester student Rachel Matthews, one of the best parts was “seeing the girls understand something they didn’t before, see them get empowered about their bodies and … themselves.” She also enjoyed the one-on-one interviews. “I’d missed that Paraguayan soul,” she says.

Matthews had served her mission in Paraguay. Coincidentally, so had Dr. Palmer. Having recently returned from her mission, Matthews was in search of something that would take her nursing skills outside the classroom. Her opportunity came in the form of Dr. Palmer at an ORCA conference. Matthews was about to leave when she spotted her teacher next to a Global Health sign. “I thought if there is anyone I can talk to, it’s probably her,” Matthews remembers. “I went over to her, and I sat down and started explaining some of the public health issues I’d seen in Paraguay. It turns out she’d also served her mission in Paraguay, so we bonded really quickly over that. As luck would have it, she’d also applied for a Fulbright [Scholar Award] to teach at a university in Paraguay.”

A sixth-semester student, Julia Lee, also coincidentally connected with Dr. Palmer. After returning from a mission in Argentina, Lee attended a Spanish class that Dr. Palmer was auditing. Lee had taken a gerontology class from Dr. Palmer, and started talking with her. The more she talked with her, the more she learned about the upcoming research trip to Paraguay. And the more she learned, the more interested she became.

These stories share a commonality: both Lee and Matthews got involved by talking to their professor. Professors are there to help students learn, in and out of the classroom. “That first step is just getting out of your comfort zone and asking professors if there is something you can do,” says Matthews.   Teachers and students have ideas; it is usually together they can make those ideas a reality. For Lee, too, the key to gaining these experiences comes from connections and questioning. She relates, “I happened to be in the class with Sheri Palmer. I could have just not talked to her about it, but I was interested, so I asked. And she talked about it, and it was interesting, so I asked.” Matthews adds that professors are constantly reaching out through emails. It does not take a lot to get involved – it simply starts with asking questions.

Though study and knowledge are important, real-world experience is also required. “There’s more to what you learn than what’s just in the textbook,” says Lee. That includes empathy, people skills, and problem-solving.  She continues, “I highly suggest going on a study abroad because it really heightens your learning experience. It makes your learning more holistic.” Another student on the research trip, Megan Hancock, adds, “Travelling is fun on its own, but when you travel with a purpose to learn and serve, you really can’t travel any other way again.”  For Matthews, the reason she enjoyed the research trip was the same as her reason for going into nursing. “I just like helping people in that greatest moment of need,” she says. “Really being there on the front line at the bedside.”

It is with that attitude that these students got involved, and none regrets the experience. Their story can be your story.

 

 

 

From Tourette’s to Nursing School

By Calvin Petersen

Jared Lorimier understands first-hand what suffering from a medical disorder is like. He developed the motor and vocal tics of Tourette’s Syndrome when he was eight years old.

“I was really confused about why I had Tourette’s and it caused me a lot of grief and pain,” says Jared, a native of Nederland, Texas. Much of that grief came from elementary classmates, who teased Jared about his disorder.

Jared eventually learned how to control his Tourette’s, which ultimately inspired his decision to become a nurse. “I know there are people out there that are confused about why they have certain diseases and confused about why their health isn’t the best. I just want to be there to comfort people with things like that.” His compassion and ability to overcome difficulty makes Jared a perfect fit for BYU’s nursing program.

Jared Lorimier Profile

While Jared is open to what the future brings, he currently hopes to work in a NICU. He believes that it “would be rewarding work and a really spiritual experience.”

Up for the Challenge

Although Jared always knew he wanted to be in the medical field, he decided to become a nurse only recently. “When I think of nursing, I think of the challenges that the nurses are faced with and I’ve always liked challenges,” says Jared. One of his biggest challenges is his demanding weekly schedule.

Not only is Jared taking rigorous first-semester nursing courses, but he is also on the BYU track team, which takes up nearly 20 hours of his week in practices alone. Furthermore, Jared is a counselor in his YSA ward bishopric. Even with all this, he still manages to find time to watch ‘The 100’ and ‘Stranger Things’ with his wife.

On top of handling a heavy schedule, learning the basics of medical attention will be an added challenge. While such challenges would make some apprehensive, Jared only smiles in anticipation with confidence that he can do it all.

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A Pair of Nurses

Jared is one of just four males admitted to BYU’s College of Nursing program this semester. “When I first decided that I wanted to apply to nursing school, of course I thought of the stereotype of being a male nurse, but honestly it didn’t deter me. I think it’s important, especially with the growing need of nurses, for males to break that stereotype.”

Moreover, of the four first-semester male students, Jared is the only one who is married. His wife, Madeline, is thrilled at his decision to become a nurse because she’s going to school to become one herself. “We’re both super excited to learn from each other,” says Jared.

Even though Madeline was preparing to become a nurse before Jared, things worked out so that they could start their studies at the same time, with Madeline at Utah Valley University and Jared at BYU. “Now that I’m here, I want to make sure I get everything I can out of this program,” concludes Jared. If he demonstrates the same level of determination and empathy he has so far, there’s no doubt that he will.

The Girl Who Loves Getting Sick

By Calvin Petersen

There’s a reason people say things like, “I’m going to avoid it like the plague!” Most people are worried, even terrified, of becoming sick. Most. Not Erin Ward. A student in her first semester of BYU’s nursing program, Erin actually looks forward to getting sick.

Erin told her classmates that getting strep throat was the best thing that happened over Christmas break at her home in Virginia Beach. “Everyone looked at me like I was really weird,” says Erin. “I love, love getting sick. And this is terrible, but I do, I love getting sick.”

To her, getting sick is the perfect excuse for Erin’s mom to make chicken noodle soup, bring her warm blankets and allow her a day of uninterrupted sleep. “I think it’s a really nice feeling. Everybody wants somebody to take care of them once in a while.” Understanding what it means to receive devoted care is just one reason why Erin feels at home in BYU’s College of Nursing.

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A 9th Grade Prophecy

Erin’s 9th grade chemistry teacher was the first to tell her that he thought she’d make a great nurse.  “That’s so sexist! You’re saying that because I’m a girl,” thought Erin, “I’m going to become a chemical engineer.” However, several chemistry classes later, she realized chemistry just wasn’t for her. Erin instead fell in love with volunteering at local hospitals where caring for patients took on a more spiritual aspect.

“I just really wanted to do what the Savior would be doing. And I thought ‘If the Savior could be anywhere, He would be administering unto the sick.’ So I started volunteering at hospitals. I was fourteen and then I kept going all the way through senior year in high school.” She became a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and worked at the hospital every summer, providing basic care to patients.

An Angel in the Cardiac Unit

During one of her volunteer shifts at the hospital, Erin took ice chips to a bed-bound woman in the cardiac unit. She stayed after her ice delivery to give the woman some company. At one point in their conversation, the woman smiled warmly at Erin and said reverently, “I see the light of Christ all around you. You glow like you are an angel.” Erin was moved by her words and was surprised to find out that the woman wasn’t LDS.

“That was an amazing experience,” says Erin. “That was probably the first time I realized that the little things really can make a difference. I just brought her ice chips and talked to her, which made an impression on her, and more importantly, made an impression on me.”

Erin West Portrait

Not only does Erin love getting sick, but she also loves the hospital. “People have terrible memories in the hospital and that makes me so sad because for me everything about the hospital is super positive. I even like the smell,” she says. Nursing is evidently the perfect career for her.

A Committed Nurse in Training

Even though Erin was offered a four-year, full-tuition scholarship and entrance to the honors nursing program as a freshman at the University of Utah, she decided to study nursing at BYU. Beginning the rigorous first semester of the program also meant she had to give up taking band class. “In high school, I was third in the state for French horn,” Erin recalls.

Additionally, she stepped down from her student government position for on-campus housing. And although she won’t have time for an American Sign Language (ASL) class either, Erin hopes to use her six years of experience signing on her upcoming LDS mission. To Erin, becoming a nurse means becoming more like the Savior, and that makes any sacrifice worth it.

“The Savior, ministers to the one and nursing is completely ministering to the one. I mean, taking time to bring water to someone or talking to somebody when you’re really busy, that’s ministering to the one. That’s why nurses do what they do, because of those little interactions. I think those little ‘You are an angel’ moments are what keep us going. I think that’s probably what would make the Savior very happy.”