Sophie Wilson is a graduating senior student who has been studying nursing at BYU. When she's not studying or in class, she has found time to play the violin in the Timpanogos Orchestra. Plus, she works at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, doing online proselyting. Oh, and she also spends time each week babysitting her nephews.
Clearly, Wilson has some secrets to time management that we all could benefit from. To find out just how Wilson is able to fit so much into an average day, BYU News' Jenna Randle sat down with this very productive grad to hear her secrets.
Q: First off, how did you get into nursing?
Sophie Wilson: I've wanted to be a nurse since before high school. My middle name is Ellis, which is after Ellis Shipp, an OBGYN in the late 1800?s. When I was fourteen, I discovered the biography of Shipp at my friend's house. When I read it, I learned that Shipp was only the second female physician in Utah and she helped established many programs and schools for nursing and obstetrics. She delivered hundreds of babies and helped thousands of women. I loved that, and wanted to be just as influential as her. And that's the moment that it all started.
Q: What do you like about nursing?
SW: I like a lot of things about nursing. I like that it's diverse, I like that you can do a lot of different things with it, I like that it's flexible. I like that it fits in with family life, I like that you can graduate with an undergrad degree and still get a job. But my most favorite thing about nursing is the service aspect, and how it connects me to people.
Q: Where have you seen that human-to-human interaction the most?
SW: I once had a patient who had a fatal complication with a pregnancy. She lost her baby and was diagnosed with cancer all at once.
She went from being so happy about being pregnant to needing immediate surgery, and chemo following that.
But the moment I remember most is one morning I walked into her room and she was curled up on the bed with her husband. She was completely bald, and beautiful.
It was one of those hard moments where I just had to stop, and realize that my patients are real people. I had no idea of the pain she was going through, but it was all I could do to provide the best care I could so she could be a little more comfortable and a little happier.
Q: Without knowing exactly what your patients are feeling, how do you learn to handle these hard situations?
SW: There are so many mentors and professors [at BYU] that put their students as their first priority, and I can tell. They are just as dedicated to my success as I am, and that helps me know I can turn to my professors when I need help.
Sure there is knowledge and skills you need to learn in school, but there are also a lot of emotional coping mechanisms that you need to learn too. There are hard experiences and difficult patients, and you need to talk about that. And that's what my professors are there for.
I mean, they text me at 5 a.m. before each of my hospital shifts. Who else does that?
Q: Yikes, 5 a.m. is an early start time. Is that a normal schedule for you?
SW: Well, I spend 15 hours a week at the hospital, 15 hours a week working at the Missionary Training Center, 15 hours a week babysitting my nephew, and a full-load of classes. Sometimes I don't get home until midnight, and go to bed just to start it all over again.
Q: Woah, Sophie! How do you balance that full load?
SW: It's busy, but it's rewarding every single day. Whether helping my family, or taking care of sick patients, or supporting online proselyting at the MTC, I am literally serving people all day long.
Q: Do you have anytime for yourself?
SW: Nope! But I try to make time to play the violin. I've been playing since I was 5, and I haven't stopped.
I always feel like I am split between two different worlds of health care and music. But I love them both so much. I love playing in folk and bluegrass bands, and I love playing the fiddle. At times I wish I could just take my fiddle, go to Ireland, and travel around to play in little pub-bands and Celtic fiddle my life away.
I played in the BYU Philharmonic Orchestra before my mission. I am the assistant concert master in the Timpanogos Orchestra right now, and I teach violin lessons too. And I just do it. Because I love every opportunity I have to inspire people with the power of music.
I fantasize about playing for my patients. How cute would that be?
Q: Your patients would love that. Is that your motivation to keep playing?
SW: Well, I just can't let that piece of me go quite yet; I want to keep it alive. And sure, it's hard to never be as good as I think I could be. But it also makes me so happy when I play, and it makes me even happier when I perform. The whole point of performing is to make other people happy. So that's why I keep playing.
And plus, if we make it to the Celestial Kingdom, we won't need nurses because we will have perfect bodies. So I'm hoping I can just play the violin for the rest of eternity.
Q: Through all of your busy schooling, and playing the violin, and all of it, what's the most important thing you've learned?
SW: I left on a mission to Independence, Missouri, with one year left of classes. And when I came back, school kicked my butt. It was so hard to get back into nursing because I had forgotten so much. I felt totally dumb.
But I got through it, and I realized that the greatest thing that I can offer to my patients is my understanding of the atonement of Jesus Christ. That truly is the best thing.
I can start an IV on them, I can give them meds, I can asses them- There are all these things I can do for them, but nothing compares to being a disciple of Jesus Christ for them. Because then, everything else falls into place.
I really want to be a good person. That's really important to me. So even though I?m kind of quirky and really crazy, I try to be a good disciple of Christ first and foremost. Then the rest will fall after that.
Q: What has your experience at BYU taught you?
SW: I'm really grateful that I go to BYU, because I feel like I get a lot of support here in accomplishing that goal of being a disciple of Christ. This university is different than other universities because I can talk with my professors and classmates about how to incorporate spiritual well being into my patient care.
The motto for the College of Nursing is The Healer's Art and over the years I have really tried to learn what that means and then apply it into my nursing practice. We come to BYU to learn, and then we go forth to serve, not to be self-serving.