Tag Archives: students

Living in Harmony with Nursing


BYU Philharmonic Orchestra Performance. Photo courtesy of Utley.

By Quincey Taylor

First semester nursing student Morgan Utley has a lot on her plate. Not only did she get accepted to the nursing program in January, but she is one of only two current nursing students that are performers in the BYU Philharmonic Orchestra. They will be performing on the 13th of February, 2019.

Utley’s passion for nursing started when her grandpa moved from Montana to Utah to stay in an assisted-care facility. He has had advanced Parkinson’s disease since he was 32. Because he was now closer to where she was living, Utley was able to see him more often. She says, “I started to spend a lot more time with him, and I just found that I liked bonding with him and other patients at the care facility. I ended up talking to the nurses there a lot, finding out what they do and trying to understand why they were giving him certain medications. I subconsciously got so involved in his care and even the treatment of other patients, that I decided this was something I should try in school.” Utley then started the dramatic switch from music to nursing major.

At the same time, Utley started volunteering at Intermountain Medical Center to see if nursing was a good fit. She was immediately placed in the ICU after telling hospital administrators, “Give me your hardest unit. Don’t put me at the info desk, I want to know if this is something I want to do!” She loved taking the prerequisites for the program and feels that, “Everything just clicked.”

Balancing the two passions is not always easy. When asked how she does it, Utley comments, “Honestly, it’s tough. I don’t want to completely give up music. It’s a part of me, it’s something I’ve been doing since I was seven years old. It’s a class I really enjoy, and it helps me stay well-rounded.” She hopes this skill will eventually help her get into a master’s program, especially considering colleges are partial to students with additional skills and passions outside the medical field.

Utley plans to continue playing the viola for “the Phil” until she graduates, although she recognizes that sometimes her nursing obligations will need to take precedent. For now, she will continue to show up to orchestra practice — clad in her hospital scrubs.

The Philharmonic Orchestra will be performing on February 13th at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available in the HFAC. Notorious for pushing the limits of university-level orchestras, they will be performing Brahm’s 3 (which many schools would consider out of the skill range of their students), an original piece written by a BYU composition major student, and a never-recorded Argentine piece written in the late 1800’s.







Battling Anxiety with Finger-paint


By Quincey Taylor

As midterms pick up and assignments start to pile on top of each other, it is easy for students to start to feel overwhelmed. Even the best of students, including nursing students, can struggle with stress on an everyday basis.

At the BYU College of Nursing, a movement of stress relieving techniques are being taught to not only students, but also faculty and staff. This movement is embodied in the newly created Wellness Room on the first floor of the Kimball Tower. This room provides users with the tools they need to battle anxiety and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Associate professor Dr. Janelle Macintosh teaches the second-term Stress Management for Nurses class. It is her hope that every student will develop methods to deal with the inevitable strain that accompanies such a demanding occupation, as well as the current stress school cultivates.

In the class, Macintosh’s students participate in hands-on activities they can do in their everyday life. They learn the benefits of relaxing practices like enjoying aromatherapy, listening to calming music, coloring, doing yoga, using the techniques of Korean hand therapy, and guided meditating.

Taking the class also gives students access to the Wellness Room, which is a safe space for students to put their newly learned techniques into practice.

The walls of the room are a cool periwinkle and the lights are dimmed.


Exercise mats are neatly stacked in the corner, leaving open space in the middle of the room to practice yoga or meditation. IMG_3138Crayons and colored pencils are available in neat cubbies along the wall, as well as an aromatherapy diffuser. Students who use the room can enjoy a moment of peace, hidden from on looking eyes.

These techniques are extremely valuable for in any stressful context, even in helping others to relieve stress.  Mactinosh explains, “The main focus is to help them learn how to navigate through their own stress because once they have tried something then they can be a testimonial that it works.” Once students see the benefits of self-care, they can recommend the practices to spouses, family members, patients, or patient’s families.

Mactinosh is a true believer in work-life balance and says, “I think the hardest thing for nursing students is recognizing that perfect is not attainable. A balanced life is a happy life. If you have to get 110% on every test then you’re not balanced. There is no honor in being the type of nursing student that can’t do anything else. You miss out on so much of life if you can’t stop and breathe and look around you. So, I would admonish students to look for ways that they can be accountable to themselves to find that balance in their life. It’s so hard. But it’s so valuable, and it’s such a lifelong skill.”


Student Spotlight: Elizabeth Eide

By Jessica Tanner

Elizabeth Eide stood in an emergency room. Doctors and nurses rushed in and out, performing tests. Eide assisted them as the patient’s condition worsened. It would become one of Eide’s most profound experiences in the nursing program. Not just because it was challenging, but also because it solidified her love for nursing.

Eide is a sixth-semester nursing student focusing her studies in the ER and ICU. Surprisingly, she came close to not applying for the program. Her first fascination for medicine came from an anatomy class in high school. When she came to college, she knew she wanted something service-oriented. “I really needed that human interaction component,” she explains. But watching friends and peers struggle through prerequisites of the nursing program intimidated her. She tried for teaching, but it was not long before something called her back to medicine.

That something was Grey’s Anatomy. Although now Eide recognizes the popular television show is unrealistic, watching it re-sparked that interest from high school. She says, “I just remembered how much I loved the body, how much it fascinated me, and how emergency medicine was just exciting.” She was determined to give it a shot. Since becoming a nursing student, Eide has not looked back.

That led her to days like the one at the ER. Eide stayed with the patient as their status deteriorated. “I pretty much watched their entire decline,” Eide remembers. But the nursing program is not just about observation. It is hands-on. Eide was glad to help with critical yet simple tasks such as pouring sterile water onto a tray so the doctor could insert a catheter. The patient was taken to the trauma bay and then to the ICU to receive proper care.

It is essential to be there with a patient, but it is equally important to help those that are there for them. Eide took the time to help the patient’s family member. “It was a very scary situation for them,” Eide recalls. “I had the chance to just sit there with them and explain what was going on and ask what they needed.  And that is such a crucial and sacred part of nursing.”

Nurses spend the most time with the patient and their loved ones. “We meet complete strangers on their worst days ever, their most vulnerable times,” Eide says. “That’s really a sacred privilege because you have the opportunity to teach them, and to comfort them, and to educate them, and to be there for them.”

When not focusing on nursing, Eide balances her life with fun, rest, and enjoying unique college experiences. “I’ve made it a point throughout my nursing career to make sure I take care of myself and remember that nursing is not my whole life,” she says. She enjoys dancing, hiking, and watching movies. She also has a hidden talent: impersonations. Top picks include Brittany Spears, Shakira, Sarah Palin, and Kermit the Frog.

Though she admits it is surreal to be graduating, Eide is looking forward to the next step in her life. “BYU’s nursing program is really good and they prepare you really well…we have over 200 clinical hours in our capstone so we get a lot of hands-on experience,” she explains. It is an intimidating change but Eide believes in God’s help. “I feel like this is my calling so I have no doubt that in the time that I need it, I’ll be blessed.” With that confidence, Eide turns to the next chapter of her life.

From Victim of Car Theft to Victor of Life

By Jessica Tanner

Finals week as a nursing student is already tough, but for Keeley Austin – a fifth-semester student in the nursing program – coming home to find her Subaru Outback missing was a new level of stress.  Austin not only had final exams, but also worked doing hospice visits that required her to drive to her patients. She and her husband searched other possible parking spots for the car, hoping they had just parked it somewhere else. But Austin felt sure of where she had last parked it, always being careful when it comes to the car. “I check for my car to make sure it’s there every day,” she explains.

After having no luck with the search, they contacted the local police who registered the missing car. Meanwhile, Austin and her husband kept up the search. They even spotted a similar car being sold on KSL. Austin was eager to check it out. However, that vehicle turned out not to be theirs.

Though Austin posted about the event to warn others in the Provo area, the outreach that she received from friends and peers was reassuring. “Everyone was super supportive,” she says. “Everyone reached out, saying if you need rides we’re here for you, which was awesome.” Thanks to the help, they were able to get through the next few car-less days.

It was actually on a grocery run with a friend giving her a ride that Austin spotted her car at last. “My heart was just so happy and scared,” she remembers. From the clicking noises and heat emitting from the car, she could tell the driver had just left it. That made Austin feel violated. Peeking inside, she could see their things were missing. But any loss was overcome by the relief that they had finally found it. They contacted the police and watched the car until the police arrived.

“It’s a bummer that it happened to me, but it worked out in the end,” Austin reflects, relating how she grew from the experience. She learned that car-theft in the area is frequent because most college cars are older and easier to break into. She also learned how to prevent future theft, such as with the steering wheel lock they now own. Most are not aware of these useful gadgets. When Austin bought one, the employee at AutoZone said it was the first he had sold. “It’s a good reassurance,” says Austin. “Maybe someone can break into my car and steal my stuff, but they can’t take my car!”

The experience gave Austin a fresh perspective, moving forward with a confidence in her ability to get through challenges. Not only did they have their car stolen, but their house also flooded soon after. As she faces another stressful semester, and an upcoming study abroad to Fiji, she says, “Now I feel like nothing can affect me. What are material possessions anyway? God gives it to us; it was His in the first place, He can have it back.”

Above all, the outreach they received was priceless. “I just felt love,” Austin remembers. “It made it easier to cope.” When stressed about an appointment with a patient or getting groceries, she could remember, “I don’t have a car, but I have all these friends that are willing to help out. We can get through this situation just fine.”

Student Spotlight: Elina Chun

By Quincey Taylor


Photo of Elina Chun. Photo courtesy of Quincey Taylor.

Even though she only stands at four feet and eleven inches tall, BYU College of Nursing student Elina Chun is a giant within her field and has big plans and dreams. Graduating this December, Chun reflects on her journey at BYU with fondness and looks forward to the future with anticipation.

Chun is part of the Honors Program for BYU students. She is one of two current nursing Honors students, and one of seven nursing students that have completed the program in the last decade. This program, whose aim is “to develop student-scholars from across the university who will become broad thinkers, creative problem solvers, and influential leaders” was a vital part to Chun’s experience here at the university. Chun took honors GE’s, went on a study abroad as part of her experiential learning, and created and defended an Honors Thesis. Her thesis, titled “Student Perspectives on Working in Interdisciplinary Teams to Improve Maternal and Newborn Care Using mHealth Solutions” will be published at the end of the semester.

Chun decided to enter the Honors Program because she always knew she wanted to go to graduate school. Defending a thesis while still an undergraduate seemed like a great way to prepare in a safe environment. She also loved the idea of interdisciplinary learning. She has enjoyed associating with professors and students in different areas of study. Chun also decided to do a business minor to be more well-rounded.

Service is also an essential part of Chun’s everyday life. Her personal mission statement – To give my best self to help others because of Him – inspires her to serve at every chance possible. She has been a program director at Y-Serve for the past two years. Before that, she served a mission in Tokyo, Japan. Balancing all these aspects of her life is something that Chun considers one of her strengths.

When asked how she chose to go into nursing, Chun expresses how she always wanted to build a life of service for herself. She was influenced by her father, who is a doctor as well as one of the most patient and kind men she knows. Plus, she laughs, “My favorite book when I was a kid was an anatomy book.”

Chun hopes to leave a legacy of service and inspire others to achieve great things. Her advice to the incoming generation of nursing students is that “Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will inspire you to know your gifts and talents. Then you’ll be able to know what to do with them.”

After graduation, Chun plans on continuing working doing pediatrics at Primary Children’s Hospital. She has enjoyed working in the float pool there and experiencing something different each day. She is currently applying to graduate school at the University of Utah.

For any students that are interested in doing the Honors Program and broadening your perspective, please contact Dr. Deborah Himes at deborah-himes@byu.edu. She would love to help you in any way possible.


Nursing Students’ Posters Win International Competition

By Quincey Taylor


Caitlin Ferderber presenting her poster at the conference. Photo courtesy of Ferderber

BYU nursing students Chelsea Van Wagenen and Caitlin Ferderber had the chance to attend the International Association of Forensic Nurses Conference of 2018. Held in Reno, Nevada from October 24 to 27, these students mingled with top tier Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) of the nation. Each student entered a medical poster they had created to be judged, informing viewers about a certain topic within SANE nursing. They represented BYU well, bringing home not only first place but also a second place win.

Van Wagenen entered a poster informing viewers about strangulation during sexual assault:

Poster 1

Judges were impressed with the poster and the high quality research. Van Wagenen’s entry won second place.

She enjoyed the conference and says about the experience, “I just have felt very blessed to have the opportunity to go and participate in this conference as an undergrad. The conference was an amazing opportunity to learn about SANE nursing. It made me realize that there is so much more out there to learn and the importance of continuing to educate ourselves beyond nursing school. The conference also made me realize the impact research has on nursing and how it is important to stay up-to-date on the current practices.”

Ferderber’s poster educated viewers about characteristics of male sexual assault victims, and won first place.

Poster 3

She comments on the experience, “I was just honored to have been accepted to present my poster and hadn’t expected to win anything for it. I also felt extremely grateful to have been able to work with Julie Valentine, Leslie Miles, and Linda Mabey on their study. They are amazing, and I have learned so much from working with them.”

Ferderber explains about her choice of topic she put on her poster, “One of the major differences we found between female and male victims was that males are more likely to be assaulted by a stranger or person in authority. Men are also less likely to have a CODIS eligible profile developed, which can hurt their case if they decide to prosecute. I really enjoyed the conference and learned more about forensic nursing as well as how to better care for victims of sexual assault. The ugly truth is that sexual assault, abuse, and other forms of violence are far too common. I hope to take what I’ve learned and apply it to my practice so that I can help victims as they go through these traumatic experiences.”