Tag Archives: nursing

Learning Beyond the Classroom: Adventures in Paraguay

paraguay students

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.

 

 

 

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All the Good We Will Do

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Student Mikaela Heyland. Photo courtesy of Winter 2018-19 President’s Report.

Nurses in training at BYU work in the nursing lab with manikins that display symptoms like real patients or even talk.

Mikaela Heyland, a soon-to-be-graduate of the College of Nursing, says, “Now that I’ve worked in real hospitals, I realize that sometimes patients are emotional, angry, or just need to talk. I am better prepared because of the lab.”

She adds, “At BYU I’m gaining education for my career; I’m also receiving a spiritual education. I have grown because of classmates, professors, roommates, wards, and devotionals.”

Because this is her final semester, Heyland participated in the August graduation ceremony. Sitting there with 60 of her classmates, the significance of her BYU experience dawned on her. “We are all going out into the world to make a difference,” she says. “I thought about all the good we will do.”

Heyland is grateful to have received a scholarship. As an international student (she is from Canada), her work options are limited, so funding her studies at BYU has been challenging. “Someone’s donation lightened my burden,” she says. She continues working at a local hospital while finishing her coursework.

**republished from the Winter 2018-19 President’s Report 

Nurses with Shin Guards

By Quincey Taylor

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Nursing students get ready for a game. Image courtesy of McKenzie Phillips.

If any injuries occur on the intramural soccer field, the injured can trust that they are in good hands. This fall semester, a team completely comprised of BYU nursing students came together to play intramural soccer. As these students strengthen their bond as a team, they prove that nursing students do much more than just study.

These students have grown closer as they play together. Elizabeth Eide, nursing student and team member, says, “We always have such a fun time, even if we’re losing. The sense of camaraderie is unlike any that I’ve felt with other teams. We know each other, we like each other, and we have each other’s backs! The sense of friendship and teamwork is incredible. It’s been an awesome season.”

These students become closer as they get to know each other outside the NLC. Rachel Sorenson comments, “It’s just so fun to do something not nursing-related with nursing friends!”

Julia Littledike adds, “A lot of the other teams we play, when they find out we’re a nursing team, always make comments like, ‘Oh, we’re in good hands now’ or ‘We’re safe.’ I think that’s pretty funny.”

Come out and support our team this Saturday at 10am.

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Image courtesy of McKenzie Phillips.

Three Nursing Student Experiences with Ohio Internship

By Mindy Longhurst

all threeImage of Christin Hickman, James Reinhardt and Cortney Welch at The Ohio State University. Image courtesy of Hickman.

Three College of Nursing students were able to research with some of the best mentors in the field of cancer research this summer with The Ohio State University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center (OSUCCC). The experiences that they had this summer were once in a lifetime (to learn more about how they received the internship opportunity read our previous article https://byunursing.wordpress.com/2018/03/30/a-really-good-big-deal/). Christin Hickman, Cortney Welch and James Reinhardt were able to work with a team of fellow researchers on a certain topic about cancer or cancer-related research. The team that they worked with involved a statistician, a PhD supervisor and a few other research students. In Ohio, a study was conducted that focused on a wide range of health topics, from this information each of the students focused on one aspect of the questionnaire for possible correlations. Following the summer’s research, they worked on publishing an article about their research and presented to a room full of PhD professors on their research findings.

templeImage of Christin Hickman and others at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Columbus, Ohio temple. Image courtesy of Welch.

Christin’s experience

Christin Hickman, a fourth semester nursing student, wanted to participate in this internship experience to see if she wanted to do research full-time in the future. During this time, Hickman focused on colorectal cancer, which is a very preventable form of cancer through regular colonoscopy screenings. Hickman was able to see if there was a difference in knowledge and awareness of colorectal screening rates for those who live in urban areas versus rural areas. Through studying and research, she discovered that in Ohio there is little difference in the knowledge and amount of screenings in rural versus urban participants. The experiences that she had in Ohio helped her to prepare for the future and understand more about how research works. Hickman explains, “This experience helped me to secure my destiny. It feels like research is really what I want to do with my life.” In the future Hickman wants to study more about precision medicine and genetic research.

cortney welch with posterImage of Cortney Welch with her poster that was presented to PhD professors of her research findings. Image courtesy of Welch.

Cortney’s experience

Third semester nursing student, Cortney Welch, enjoyed her time in Ohio. She was able to research if there was a correlation in social cohesion in communities and colorectal cancer screenings. By the end of the summer, she was able to conclude that there is not a correlation in social cohesion in communities and colorectal cancer screenings. Along with the research, Welch was also able to work in a blood sample lab for patients who are using clinical trials for cancer treatment. She was able to help centrifuge, aliquoted blood and labeled the blood samples. Welch loved the experience that she received in both research labs. Welch says, “The internship was a growing experience. When I came home from the internship, I felt accomplished that I had experienced my first taste of a full-time job. I had learned how to do research, how to write a paper. I felt like it was a great use of my summer. It was hard and it was frustrating at times and tedious but I think it was well worth my time. I learned a lot.”

all three with HimesImage of Hickman, Reinhardt and Welch with assistant professor Dr. Deborah Himes. Image courtesy of Hickman.

James’ experience

James Reinhardt, a fourth semester nursing student, was able to focus his research on preventing cancer through a research study on men’s overall health. He studied at-risk participants on how they rated their health. Reinhardt tried to understand why some men would rate their health as poor. Since many of the participants did not take the survey throughout the intervention process, it was very difficult for Reinhardt to come to any conclusion about why these men rated their health as low. However, throughout the process in Ohio, Reinhardt learned many lessons. Reinhardt expounds, “I hopefully will be able to better see road blocks in future research projects. My overall experience was great! We did get to work along with medical students and students from different schools so that was a cool mix to be in. I got to learn how research is vital.”

Overall, the College of Nursing students had a great experience in Ohio. They were able to learn and grow to become better nurses. They are now taking the skills that they learned in Ohio and are implementing them into their current nursing studies.

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.”

Be a Voice for Patient Safety

The problem is becoming more and more serious. In 1999 Americans learned from the study, To Error is Human by the Institute of Medicine that 98,000 patients die every year from preventable errors in hospitals. In 2013, a study in the Journal of Patient Safety found an increasing number between 210,000 and 440,000 patients are dying from preventable errors each year in hospitals.

This striking statistic is causing many to acUnited Safetyt. Each year, to help health care organizations increase safety, The National Safety Patient Foundation promotes an annual education and awareness week campaign. Patient Safety Awareness Week educates healthcare staff and patients about the importance of preventing errors within hospitals.

As a nurse it is important to start early, practicing good safety habits to keep patients safe and healthy. Patient safety research shows that most errors occur during change-of-shift report.  As a result, a standardized change-of-shift report was created to reduce nurse to nurse communication errors. The following is done:

    1. Require two nurse signatures
    2. Adhere evaluations

These two simple tasks can prevent many complications and can help patients get the correct care they need. For nurses it is important to increase communication during these pivotal moments of  in between care and shift changing.

As a patient it is also important to talk to your healthcare professional to make sure you understand your own care.  Make sure your nurse or hospital staff explain to you any medication, treatments or procedures. Ask the following :

  1. Name of your medication
  2. Purpose of your medication
  3. Time for your medication to be taken
  4. How to take your medication
  5. Side effects of the medication

If you feel your nurse or hospital staff have not answered these questions ask them to do so.

Together, patients and healthcare professionals can eliminate the problem of unsafe healthcare. As everyone works together with better communication, everyone can prevent errors in hospitals every day, and not just during Patient Safety Awareness Week.