PROVO — In its 60 years, the Brigham Young University College of Nursing has sent students and alumni to war zones, disaster-stricken nations and inner city health clinics — everywhere they can extend a healing hand to serve as Jesus Christ would do.
The Education in Zion Gallery in the Joseph F. Smith Building at BYU has recently opened a new exhibition, “The Healer’s Art: A Celebration of the College of Nursing” in honor of its 60th anniversary.
“We believe the art of healing reaches out to all people, wherever they might be,” said Beth Cole, dean of the College of Nursing. “This is a wonderful opportunity for us to celebrate Christ’s mission and nursing together with our fellow students and community.”
The exhibit features the stories of students, faculty and alumni of the College of Nursing, including Emily Dougall, an alumna who did humanitarian service work in Haiti after the devastating earthquake of 2010. Dougall spoke about a man named Johnny, whose wife was killed in the earthquake, and he spent his time in the aftermath doing all he could to serve. He helped to cremate the dead and sang hymns as he carried supplies from the medical tent.
“We read in the scriptures that God will succor us,” Dougall said. “He will run to us in our time of trials. We, too, can and are running to others by providing the knowledge that God lives and that there is hope for a better world.”
Ellen Baird was a student doing an internship at a hospital when she was given an assignment to shave an alcoholic homeless man. She said that as she leaned over this heavily sedated man, something changed.
“I was able to look at him as a child of God, with a body and spirit,” she said. She said she realized as a nurse she would need to learn to serve and love all of God’s children, unrestrained and free of judgment.
Heather Seferovich, coordinating curator for the gallery, said nurses are a special breed of people.
“They come in with reservation and fears about how to serve others, and they overcome those fears,” she said. “They see others the way Christ sees them.”
Other parts of the exhibit present a nurse who served in the Iraq war, students who taught children struggling with diabetes, and the history of nursing both at BYU and throughout Utah.
Seferovich said Brigham Young was always concerned with women’s health and encouraged women to travel East to earn their degrees. Many of these women returned to Utah, trained others and started schools and hospitals in the state.
“There was always a tight relationship between church leaders, the Relief Society and nurses,” Seferovich said.
“The Healer’s Art” is the first rotating exhibit in the Education in Zion Gallery featuring a college. The gallery is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours on Monday and Wednesday evenings until 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, visit educationinzion.byu.edu.