Longing to Bless
Celeste Wouden remembers the day in ninth grade in the family car when she told her mother she wanted to become a nurse. For years she’d been running to the hospital with her older sister, who was receiving cancer treatments. She marveled at the peace, comfort, and skill the medical practitioners offered her suffering sister, and a desire welled up within her to be like them.
“I grew up in a home where the names of chemotherapy drugs were familiar household words as my sister battled a war against cancer,” she said, describing her childhood in the small mountain town of Mantua, Utah.
During those difficult years, Celeste came to appreciate the tender care that the nurses offered her sister. She longed to become one of those nurses who could bless others with kindness and professional skill in times of pain and distress.
“Much of our family’s life centered around Primary Children’s Medical Center as my sister revolved in and out for various surgeries, chemotherapies, radiology treatment, and physical therapy,” she said.
“As I tagged along, I was absorbing many lifetime lessons. It was a life-changing and unforgettable season for me as I watched my sister’s life sometimes hang by a thread, then see her revive again through the healing hands of doctors, nurses, medical personnel, and priesthood blessings.
“While friends chose celebrities to be their heroes, my heroes were the doctors and those who aided in her healing,” she said.
These experiences left an impression on Celeste’s young mind. “I wanted to know what the nurses were doing when they walked into my sister’s room,” she said. “I wanted to know what the monitors were showing when the nurses were alarmed. I wanted to be able to answer questions about the human body when patients asked.”
“My dream came true the day I walked into my first nursing job at none other than Primary Children’s Medical Center, a place where I’d been so often that I felt at home. Here is where I wanted to give back to the hospital where my sister was healed,” Celeste said. “The day I walked into a room, changed the IV pump, looked at the vital sign monitor, and answered a patient’s question, all within a few seconds, that was a moment of pure joy.”
Celeste knew the pain and the strain of a suffering family and used those feelings to motivate her quest to learn. “Because of scholarships, I have been able to devote my complete time and attention to learning the healer’s art, as demonstrated by the Savior,” she said.
“I was involved in numerous life-changing leadership opportunities. BYU College of Nursing is such a worthy cause to support because not only are they known for the quality of nurses they produce, but BYU teaches leadership. Because of scholarships, I got involved in leadership opportunities, including the Student Nurses’ Association, the National Student Nurses’ Association, and president of the association for more than 436 nurses. Scholarships freed me to represent BYU on the national level.
“I am honored and humbled by the generosity of those who have given. Without those who have given, I would not be here today fulfilling my dream. I am here today because of you, learning the same healer’s art that blessed my sister.”