College of Nursing Alum Ashley Woodside Earns Dual Master’s Degree

By Brooklyn Murray

Ashely during her last semester of graduate school. Photo courtesy of Woodside

Meet our newest alumni spotlight, Ashley Woodside (BS ’14)! She is from Washington state, has three children with one on the way, and her family recently moved back to Utah. In her spare time she enjoys HIGH Fitness, running, baking, and reading.

In December of 2020 Ashley earned a Master’s degree from Georgetown University. She now has a dual-degree as a Certified Nurse Midwife and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. She hopes to be able to work with either degree part-time after the arrival of her baby next month. Regardless of where she ends up Ashley says, “My goal for either is to equip women with knowledge, be an advocate for them, and be a practitioner who is compassionate and truly listens.”

Photo courtesy of Woodside

After experiencing giving birth with both an MD and a midwife, Ashley began to realize just how much she loved women’s health. “Labor and delivery was my favorite part of the BYU nursing program” she says, and the area just seemed to fit her goals and interests. Her husband suggested she go back to school to be a midwife, and a couple years later she found the program that worked best for her time and desires. 

When asked how the BYU nursing program prepared her for graduate school, Ashley says, “It prepared me because it is a difficult, rigorous program that expects a lot out of you”, and her Master’s program had similar expectations. She also explains it was important for her to find a program that encapsulated caring for others like the Savior would, similar to the view of “Learning the Healer’s Art.” Even though religion was not discussed much in their program, Georgetown frequented the idea of “Cura Personalis,” or “caring for the whole person,” which was similar. It involves attending to people  physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, just as the Savior would.

To any students considering going on to graduate school, Ashley encourages them to find a program that will fit their passions and their life. “You can totally do it!” says Ashley, “BYU has prepared you to succeed both clinically and academically and that includes going back to school.” She reminds students to find a balance between education and home life, though, because it’s just as important to have time to destress as it is to get high grades. Despite challenging coursework and difficult days, Ashley was able to find that balance and succeed in her program.

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