Spencer Withers, a third-semester student at the College of Nursing at Brigham Young University, discovered his love of healthcare in the high school classroom. His high school offered a course called “Healthcare Provider” that taught students how to be CNAs. At the end of the course, he and his classmates were able to go into the hospital and shadow various healthcare providers throughout the day. It was there that Spencer found a love for patient interaction as well as feeling useful and purposeful in the hospital setting.
For the first two years of Spencer’s education at BYU, he was a biology major with the intention of going to med school. However, he gradually realized that he naturally leaned towards nursing due to the broad field and all of the opportunities it could provide for him. Since declaring his major as nursing, he’s never looked back.
Though Spencer is not even halfway through his education at the College of Nursing, he’s already had influential professors. Among these professors is Gaye Ray. “I think her encouragement and the vision that she was able to give us for who we could be was something that right off the bat really helped me understand my purpose as a nursing student and my potential as a nurse in the future,” he says.
Additionally, Spencer cites NURS 293, a communication lab, as an influential course in his journey as a nurse. “In that class, they talk to you about empathy. We learned about how when people are having a difficult time, trying to fix it is never the right approach. The right approach is to bring yourself down to where that person is and to show them that you understand that they’re having a hard time. Or more likely that you don’t understand, but you appreciate that they’re having a hard time and just try to be there for them,” he explains. “That really resonated with me and has been something that has changed my outlook on both my profession and relationships with people. You can’t always fix what’s broken, but you can be there for the people when they’re hurting. Just being there sometimes is the best thing you can do and the most healing thing that you can experience, I think, when you’re struggling, to have somebody there with you.”
Spencer is not the only nurse in his family. His wife, Natasha, is also a nurse and a graduate of the BYU Nursing program. They got married during Spencer’s sophomore year before he decided to go into nursing. Luckily, the two of them overlapped in the College of Nursing for two semesters. While Natasha’s career as a nurse did not influence Spencer’s decision to enter the nursing field, he’s grateful that he was able to watch her through nursing school as it helped him prepare for the inevitable struggles of being a nursing student.
Outside of nursing, Spencer has plenty of hobbies and interests to keep him busy. Him and Natasha like to cook and travel together, and have a bucket list to visit all of the National Parks (his personal favorite so far is Yellowstone). His main hobbies and methods of decompressing are exercising and reading, specifically classics, mysteries, biographies, and historical fiction. He also likes hunting and fishing, which he doesn’t get the opportunity to do often, but thoroughly enjoys when he does get the chance.
After Spencer graduates from the College of Nursing, he’s hoping to work in an ICU for a couple years before going to graduate school to become a nurse anesthetist. He’s always been interested in a doctorate degree and likes the financial benefits, the opportunity to work independently, and the lifestyle it will provide for him, his wife, and their future family.
A quote that keeps coming to mind when Spencer thinks of his experiences as a nursing student was said by President Russell M. Nelson: “Education is the difference between wishing you could help other people and being able to help them.” “I think that the more I’ve understood that and understood that my purpose as a nursing student is to learn skills and information that will help me to make a difference, the more excited I am about my career and about my profession and about life in general,” Spencer says.
We feel so grateful for his presence and passion at the College of Nursing! We wish him the best of luck as he continues through the program.