Who Let the English Major in Here?

I’ve been a writer for the BYU College of Nursing media team since January 2020.

By Lyndee Johns

This semester, when people asked me where I worked, my finger didn’t (metaphorically) point in the direction of the Harold B. Lee Library, or the Jesse Knight Building, or even the Joseph F. Smith Building—all familiar haunts of the Brigham Young University English major.

I pointed at the Kimball Tower, home of the College of Nursing.


The first week I worked here, I was too.

I’m sure my eyes were bugging out of my head when my supervisor Jeff Peery informed me on the first day of my internship that I had three interviews to complete for three articles, one of which was a magazine article due by Friday.

I staggered out of Peery’s office, wondering how badly I needed to take my Professional Writing Internship class.

I had never interviewed anyone before. My medical terminology came from YA novels and the Doctor Strange movie. The brunt of my writing for the past several years had been essays with topics like Hamet’s code of honor or Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point.”

What was I doing here again?

I came back to work the next day armed with interview tips scrounged from Google searches and a notebook, praying not to have twenty minutes of awkward pauses.

But I was pleasantly surprised (and relieved) by the gracious responses I got from my first-ever interviews, Dr. Corinna Tanner and Dr. Peggy Anderson. Anderson even asked me questions about myself because she wanted to learn more about me! I respect both of them so much and I am forever grateful for their patience with the brand-new PR Assistant.

IMG_1336 (2)I quickly came to enjoy doing interviews. Through the student and faculty spotlights I was given the chance to write, I met people with such a strong testimony of the gospel and of service.

I met students who lived for the adrenaline rush of nursing and brought comfort to the dying, who traveled across land and sea, who braved manikins and emergency rooms alike. A couple that refused to let cancer conquer their marriage or their faith. Alumni who helped missionaries in Honduras or climbed above the clouds of Tanzania. Faculty who saw women in prison and came unto them, who went 100 extra miles, whose differences make them better.

All people who would insist that they were ordinary when I saw them as extraordinary.

During my internship, I’ve sat at tables with VAs, grad students, RNs. Listened to Dr. Sandra Rogers, who rose from almost failing her nursing classes to becoming the College of Nursing dean and the BYU international vice president. Sat among nursing students as speakers talked about how to calm vaccination-fearing parents, how to manage their first year as a resident nurse, how to speak up about mistakes that could kill.

Capstones. Clinicals. Simulation labs. 4 a.m. train rides.

Almost four months here and I’m still asking, “How?”

How do you do it all?

I am so grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to work for the BYU College of Nursing.

Thank you, College of Nursing faculty, for always being willing to do interviews and for stopping by our desks to say hi.

Thank you, College of Nursing staff, for always greeting me with “Good morning!” as I walked through the door.

Thank you, College of Nursing media team. Thank you, Corbin and Quincey, for answering my constant questions about “How do I WordPress” and “How do I Facebook.” Thank you, Zak, for taking the time to send me screenshots for the “Whatever It Takes” article. Thank you, Mars, for the birthday gift (and the Harry Potter Photoshop picture. I knew I was meant to go to Hogwarts!).

Thank you, College of Nursing, for the nursing program ads that will forever follow me on YouTube now, due to the research I’ve done for articles. (Begone, Provo College! I’m graduating!)

Thank you, College of Nursing, for the chance to witness the dedication, passion, testimonies, and compassion of those who work and study in the Kimball Tower.

Thank you, Jeff Peery, for helping me through my first interview, for reviewing all my articles, for giving me the chance to write. Most of all, thank you for taking a chance on me.

Thank you, everyone, for letting the English major in here.

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