BYU nursing professor seeks to help future nurses prepare for intense situations

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BYU nursing professor Jeanette Drake (left) helps students in her nursing ethics class with presentations. The students study nursing ethics throughout the semester which prepares them for work outside the classroom. (Anna Wilson)

A BYU nursing professor is helping students understand nursing ethics and become prepared for critical situations in the workforce.

Jeanette Drake graduated from BYU herself and was hired into the nursing program in 2020. Her research involves the development and psychometric testing of an instrument to help future nurses in cardiovascular care.

“I am passionate about helping nurses and nurse practitioners thrive in their jobs and be able to provide really great care,” Drake said.

Drake started her journey around the country once she received her degree in nursing. After working as a critical care nurse and educator in Utah County, she moved to the University of Washington in Seattle where she got her master’s degree while working in the cardiovascular intensive care unit.

Drake then moved to Ohio and worked as an acute nurse practitioner in one of the postoperative cardiovascular and thoracic surgery units at the Cleveland Clinic before moving to Texas, where she earned her doctorate at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.

“When COVID-19 hit I was in Houston,” Drake said. “They pulled me in to help train the critical care response pool. I helped develop and present cross-training for nurses to go into the critical care units and help take care of COVID patients.”

Drake explained that working during the COVID-19 pandemic was like working through a “tsunami.” As a critical care nurse, she has learned how to handle intense situations, but she explained COVID-19 was different because they were still learning how to help with an illness they had not experienced. 

Her main focus during this time was to help train relief team nurses so they could be most effective. Now working at BYU, one of her goals in teaching and research is to help future nurses prepare for critical situations. 

Hannah Christensen, a senior nursing student said, “You can tell that she loves what she is doing. As her student, I always appreciated the time that she took with us to help us learn and find joy in the process.”

Drake is not only impacting students. She has also had an impact on the people who taught her and who she now works alongside.

Nursing professor Renea Beckstrand taught Drake when she was an undergraduate student. “My office is next to Jeanette’s classroom,” Beckstrand said. “The room is energized; there is laughing and there is much discussion. Jeanette challenges these students to think beyond the obvious answer.”

Drake is always looking for new opportunities and ways to improve her teaching and advance her research. “For now, my goal is to focus on continuing to improve my teaching, to continue my research and build the clinical and academic relationships with the community to benefit students,” she said.

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