This semester sees 66 new undergraduates beginning at the BYU College of Nursing. They come from 17 different states in the US, with a few international students from Canada, Ecuador, and Mexico. One of the incoming students, Garett Ferrero, did not start school with nursing in mind. "I was in engineering because I really liked math in high school," he says. What helped him to change his mind, however, was interactions with nurses as well as the desire to be in a field that values human connection and interaction. Still, Garett says he was "in denial" about being interested in the medical field until his interest in nursing won out.
Another student entering the program this semester is Ava Hardy. She is from Alberta, Canada and loves BYU as it's a place where she is surrounded by other members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ava recalls using a stethoscope to find her own heartbeat as a CNA, but on her first day as a BYU nursing student, she was able to find her own heartbeat the correct way for the first time. She is looking forward to continuing her education and "the degrees of knowledge" she will obtain at BYU.
Gabby Marquez also started as a nursing student this semester. Gabby knew she wanted to be a nurse after seeing nurses care for family members, but was initially reluctant to attend BYU. After participating in SOAR (a program that helps students from diverse backgrounds experience BYU), Gabby changed her mind. "I felt a lot of peace being on campus and knew I wanted to be here," she says. Gabby plans to continue her education beyond the undergraduate level and become a nurse practitioner. At a new student orientation dinner, the new students were introduced to faculty members and staff of the College. During the orientation, the dean asked students to understand the value of their education. She reminded students that faithful tithe payers subsidize the cost of education at BYU. For nursing students, this is especially poignant as the program expenses, between running labs and providing equipment, are particularly costly. Dean Lassetter urged students to be grateful for the "widow's mite," as our college is sanctified by it.
The orientation dinner took place just days after an incident in which a BYU fan shouted racial slurs at a volleyball player on an opposing team. Dean Lasetter expressed the impact this incident had on her, telling students that such hateful words have no place at BYU and its College of Nursing. She also stated that students who witness hateful actions and words should speak up. "Silence is dangerous," she said. "It's not ok to pass by in that situation. We're here to heal, not hurt." She also asked students to ponder the question, "What can you do to help BYU be a place of belonging?"
In closing, the dean said, "Here, we unabashedly claim to learn the Healer's art." As nursing students learn how to be the Savior's hands, they will be able to fulfill BYU's creed to "Go forth to serve." Dean Lassetter, the faculty, and the BYU community are excited to see our students use their knowledge to aid and comfort God's children.