Lori Goldade graduated as a registered nurse from the College of Nursing at Brigham Young University in 1980 and worked as a nurse for thirty years before retiring. While her pathway to nursing was full of obstacles and alternative opportunities, the love of those around her has guided her in her pursuit of the Healer’s art.
At the age of fourteen, Lori became severely ill and was placed in a hospital before being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. While in the hospital, she noticed her nurses’ kind and helpful nature. She cites this interaction as the spark that created her desire to pursue nursing.
By the time Lori first came to BYU, her love of nursing was no longer at the forefront of her life. Instead of pursuing a degree in nursing, she received her degree in zoology, emphasizing fisheries and wildlife management. Shortly after graduating, she discovered that her potential jobs wouldn’t be enough to financially support her as a single woman, causing her to return to school for a different degree. She pivoted and applied for the BYU College of Nursing after taking the few prerequisites for the program. While she didn’t use her zoology degree in the way she thought, she credits her education in zoology as an excellent background to nursing as both address biology and anatomy.
Lori was accepted into the program and was slated to begin in the fall of 1977. However, her bishop offered some unexpected counsel: consider a mission. After prayerful consideration, Lori felt prompted to follow her bishop’s advice and applied to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She declined her acceptance into the nursing program and left for the Chile Santiago South Mission, unsure of what the future held for her.
Lori was assigned to be a welfare services missionary for the first nine months of her missionary service. In that role, Lori and her companions would teach literary, childcare, nutrition, and gardening courses to local communities, visit hospitals and perform gamma globulin injections for all missionaries in her mission. Her experience educating those around her and doing simple medical tasks prepared her for nursing and learning the Healer’s art more than she could have imagined. However, she’s still grateful for the opportunity she had to serve the people of Chile as preparation for her future career.
In the spring of 1979, Lori finished her mission and returned to her home in Idaho. She still wanted to attend the BYU Nursing program despite declining her acceptance a year and a half prior. She sent a letter to Elaine Dyer, the college dean at the time, explaining her situation and asking for information on how to reapply for the program.
It was several weeks before Lori heard back from Dean Dyer. She was expecting a simple letter from her. Instead, she received a thick envelope with a letter expressing her appreciation towards Lori’s service as well as a letter of acceptance for the upcoming fall semester. Dean Dyer had even gone as far as to register Lori for her classes. All Lori needed to do was pay her fees and get herself to the Salt Lake City campus before the semester began.
This brief yet powerful interaction with Dean Dyer has never left Lori. “I still get emotional. I think about it now, and I’m amazed first of all, but as soon as I got that letter, it seemed like everything fell together. It was a piece of my life that just made everything okay,” she explains. “I think that was the biggest feeling I had: my acceptance was the building block for my whole life. My mission was, too, of course. That was for sure. But to have her do that first step for me was almost like it was a motherly thing. She was the guiding force that got me into nursing and was somebody that was just a light to me.”
In the thirty years Lori worked as a nurse, she held several different positions at various other hospitals, many of which were in rural areas in the western United States. She has worked in the emergency room, labor and delivery, orthopedic, hospice, and infection control. She has additionally worked in managerial positions over several different departments.
For Lori, every area of nursing was rewarding in its way. But, in her eyes, the most rewarding part of her education and career was having the ability to teach other diabetics how to take care of themselves, an ability that has directly blessed the lives of her husband, three children, and nine grandchildren. She also finds the intimate and spiritual experiences she’s been able to have with patients and their families rewarding, especially when working in hospice.
“It’s so interesting how your prayers are answered through somebody else,” Lori says as she reflects on her career. Her journey to and through nursing is a testimony of the loving influence of others that can guide nurses in the Healer’s art, a gift that we are so grateful for.