By Eliza Joy
One of our newest faculty members at the BYU College of Nursing is Professor Sarah Davis. She has 3 degrees from BYU: a bachelor’s in zoology, a bachelor’s in nursing, and a master’s degree in nursing with licensure as a family nurse practitioner. Back a fourth time, Sarah has joined us again to be an educator.
Professor Davis grew up in a small town in Washington state. When asked why she chose to come to Provo for school, she had this to say, “It wasn’t so much of a question to come to BYU. It seemed like the land of plenty down here, with a lot of members of the church and I was excited to meet people and to be part of that community.” In her mind, “Provo equaled BYU.”
That perspective has changed somewhat as she’s spent time here. Provo is now more than a school: it’s a wonderful community. It’s also full of beautiful nature. In the fall, Sarah and her extended family drive up into the mountains to enjoy chili and cinnamon rolls together and admire the fall leaves. The cinnamon rolls are often baked by Professor Davis herself and are a specialty of hers. She also has a love of knitting that she’s had since she was 14.
Another hobby she enjoys immensely is traveling. Professor Davis has had many opportunities to travel throughout her life. Her dad served as mission president in Madagascar from 2003 to 2006, and she had the chance to visit her parents with two of her siblings. As a junior in high school, she spent four months living in France. She has also traveled to Spain, Italy, England, Mexico, and many places in the US. Professor Davis hopes to travel to Europe with her husband this December. When asked about how travel has impacted her, she said, “It helps us develop cultural awareness that things are so different in other places.”
Travel has also helped Sarah gain a desire to serve people in need with her skills as a nurse. “Humanitarian work is something I’d like to involve in my nursing,” she says. About a trip to Cancun, Mexico, as a sophomore in high school, Professor Davis commented, “It was eye-opening to me to see the level of poverty and it struck me to my core. I remember feeling helpless that I couldn’t do more to help these people. It was probably my first real look at poverty.” She has the opportunity to travel internationally with students in 2022, travel conditions permitting. “As a faculty, one of my privileges will be to take a group for the global health clinical in the spring.” This trip will be important in helping BYU nursing students gain cultural awareness and empathy.
Nursing has been a part of Professor Davis’s life, in one way or another, for decades. “As a young girl I wanted to be involved,” she recalls. “I thought about delivering babies just as a little girl. I was just drawn to it. My dad is a physician, so it was something that was always inside of me. I had done a lot of the ancillary stuff in the medical field. I had been a medical transcriptionist. I had worked at my dad’s office and he would authorize me to phone in refills on prescriptions. And I did some billing and just kind of everything that was not patient care.” These experiences gave her a working medical vocabulary before she had even begun the nursing program.
When Professor Davis’s fourth child was born, there were some minor complications. “It was the nurse practitioner that came into the hospital and ordered all the tests and was so knowledgeable. Her bedside manner was so good. And the lightbulb kind of went on.” Because of the careful assistance provided by the nurse practitioner, Professor Davis was inspired to begin a career to lead her to that position. “By the time I went to nursing school, I really did have the goal in mind to be a nurse practitioner. I wanted to be in the area of decision making, trying to solve the riddle of what was happening with the symptoms, and making those decisions, and so I was drawn toward the nurse practitioner program.” She graduated with a master’s in nursing and became a Family Nurse Practitioner in 2018.
With an impressive academic career, it’s no surprise that Professor Davis loves learning new things. She has a goal and desire to be a “life-long learner.” Teaching at BYU is an exciting new adventure that will surely come with experiences and knowledge to meet that goal. We are pleased to have such a dedicated addition to our faculty.