PROVO, UT – Lynn Callister is a professor of nursing at Brigham Young University (BYU). She has been honored by the first College of Nursing professorship due to a lifetime of of dedication. She has spent the past 23 years studying women’s health and sharing that knowledge with students around the globe. Callister said that she is honored by the professorship, which allows her $5,000 for research, travel and continued mentoring.
College of Nursing Dean Beth Cole pointed out that it was Callister’s dedication that made her a perfect candidate for the professorship. In an article at the Deseret News, Cole was quoted as saying, “The university benefits from her international vision for the profession.” Cole also went on to state, “Her close relationships with nurses across the world have been the stepping stones for international learning experiences for many students.”
Lynn Callister has spent a lifetime listening to others around the globe.
She’s listened to women as they talk about childbirth from Guatemala, Finland, Russia and Jordan.
In Ecuador, women shared stories of giving birth in the slums, while women from Finland frequently chose an unmedicated route even though they have access to every modern convenience.
In the Deseret News article, Callister was quoted as saying, “All the rituals and behaviors that surround childbirth in different parts of the world are very interesting,” She goes on to state, “I think the commonality for me is that women are strong and amazing, and that they are able to accomplish more than they even thought possible.”
In 1952, BYU’s College of Nursing held its first classes and now has 30 graduate students and 337 undergraduate students, Callister said.
Thanks to money received through the Mary Ellen Edmunds’ Endowment for the Healer’s Art, which was established in 2004, Cole said that BYU was finally able to offer a professorship – which it wanted to for several years, now.
Callister has received honors in the past and has also authored and co-authored hundreds of articles on topics such as HIV in women and children, global birth rate trends, poverty and women’s health. She’s been honored as a Fellow by the American Academy of Nursing, and has also earned the Distinguished Service Award from the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nursing.
But Callister says that she doesn’t do any of it for the accolades, rather she does it because she’s a nurse. She says that nursing means healing and caring for people and it also means listening to people.
She’s met hundreds of mothers who will never be honored for their selfless sacrifices and she also frequently reflects back on them, stating, “It’s those kind of women whose voices we don’t really hear,” she said. “In my research, that’s what I’ve wanted to do — give them voice.”