Nursing Through Nurturing
Debbie Edmunds, MSNEd, RN, CNE
Assistant teaching professor Debbie Edmunds has helped hundreds of students along the pathway to nursing. Now, after eight years of teaching at the College of Nursing, Edmunds is leaving to serve another mission (Philippines) and spend more time with her 18 grandchildren.
Edmunds never planned on becoming a nurse; her childhood dream was to become a teacher. That dream got put on hold after she met Gary Edmunds in a high school production of The Fantasticks. They wedded shortly after graduation in 1974.
She spent the next two decades raising the couple’s seven children while her husband worked in the construction industry. Her experiences raising children sparked an interest in nursing, especially after she delivered a baby who was stillborn.
In 1994, Edmunds returned to school and began working on an associate degree in nursing at Salt Lake Community College. Edmunds went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from BYU and a master’s degree in nursing education from the University of Utah.
After working as a registered nurse, Edmunds got a job as a childbirth educator at Intermountain Healthcare, and her passion for teaching resurfaced. She taught as a clinical instructor at both the University of Utah and Utah Valley University. Then, in 2007, she was approached with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: organizing a licensed practical nurse (LPN) program for Mountainland Applied Technology College.
Edmunds went on to serve as director of her LPN program for four straight years. During that time she learned about teaching at BYU. In 2010 she began at BYU as a clinical instructor, and she became a full-time faculty member in 2012.
In July 2016, Edmunds began a twelve-month leave of absence to serve an LDS mission with her husband in Suva, Fiji. While there, she made dozens of connections with nurses and hospital directors that eventually provided the basic framework for the college’s global health practicum in Fiji.
“It’s been such a blessing to me to know that I’ve been an instrument in the Lord’s hands to help people fulfill their dreams,” Edmunds says of her BYU experience. “Being at this university has been wonderful. It’s a great environment with devoted faculty and amazing students. It’s something that I will dearly miss.”
Goodbye to a Veteran Nurse
Ron S. Ulberg, MSNEd, RN, CCRN
To colleagues and students alike, the name Ronald Ulberg is synonymous with passion. During a profession spanning more than two decades, Ulberg combined his two passions—nursing and veterans. In December 2017, Ulberg retired from Brigham Young University.
Ulberg’s nursing career started in 1988 when he became a licensed practical nurse after attending classes at Salt Lake Community College. He went on to get bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from the University of Phoenix.
In 2002, Ulberg began working at BYU as an adjunct clinical instructor, helping students as they applied their skills in a hospital setting. He became an assistant teaching professor in 2005 and an associate teaching professor in 2011. Throughout his teaching career he inspired students with a love of nursing and a desire to help others.
“The students seemed to connect with him and appreciated his approach,” says teaching professor Dr. Kent Blad.
Blad and Ulberg, who served together in the military, directed the veteran clinical practicum for their public and global health nursing course. The class focused on helping students understand the culture and lifestyle of military veterans and included an Honor Flight to Washington, DC.
In Ulberg’s military background, he worked as a nurse in the 144th Evacuation Hospital of the Utah Army National Guard, which deployed to Saudi Arabia in Operation Desert Storm. His experiences motivated him to help nursing students gain increased empathy and respect for those who serve their country in the armed forces.
Besides nursing and veteran care, Ulberg is an avid Boy Scout volunteer and was awarded the Silver Beaver Award from the Great Salt Lake Council in 2015. He is the recipient of several other nursing and education awards, including ACLS Instructor of the Year in 2005, “Honoring Those Who Dare to Care” Honors for Nursing in 2007, and the Excellence in Education Award in 2009.
Although Ulberg will spend retirement with family and pursuing his hobbies, his passions for nursing and veterans will be long remembered at the College of Nursing.
Taking to New Heights
Debra K. Wing, MSNEd, RN, CNE
From extreme sports and nursing to humanitarian work, assistant teaching professor Debra K. Wing is not afraid of trying new things. Now, after teaching at the College of Nursing for 11 years, she will again embrace something new: retirement.
Growing up, Wing watched her two older sisters study nursing and begin their careers. She wanted to become a nurse as well. However, in her freshman year at BYU, she decided to study business instead at Stevens-Henager College. She married Kelly Wing on February 12, 1981.
After graduating with her business degree, Wing spent the next 10 years as a businesswoman. “Yet I always felt something was missing,” she says, “so, with very small children, I went back to nursing school and finished my bachelor’s.” To help pay for her nursing degree, Wing joined the Air Force alongside her husband.
One of the things Wing enjoyed most about her military nursing career was doing clinical oversight for EMEDS training. In this role she instructed hundreds of National Guard and Army Reserve medical personnel on how to provide support in war zones. She also worked with Homeland Security to train national disaster-relief organizations on how to respond to every kind of disaster, from hurricanes to hostage situations.
Throughout her career Wing took on new nursing roles, including beginning as a simulation instructor at BYU in 2007. In 2015, Wing took a short break from teaching to serve as a mission nurse for the LDS Korea Seoul Mission.
Wing’s plans for retirement include working with several organizations to teach medical education in developing countries. “I’ll be leaving the university, but I’m not leaving nursing,” she says. Wing has worked with Healing Hands for Haiti and IVUmed in past humanitarian efforts and intends to resume those efforts. Furthermore, Wing will continue to volunteer regularly at the Provo Food and Care Coalition. She and her husband also want to serve another mission.
Reflecting on her experience as a nurse, she says, “What made my nursing career worthwhile was the opportunity I had to serve people every day. I love that experience of giving of myself. There’s a reward that comes from caring that’s far greater than monetary rewards.”