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Ask Dr. Universe Podcast | How Do You Science

Meet a Nurse Practitioner

Dr. Universe, a grey cat with a lab coat, looking through binoculars

Welcome back, young scientists. I’m Dr. Universe.  If you’re anything like me, you’ve got lots of big questions about our world.

Today we’re talking to nurse practitioner Bevan Briggs.

Warning! This episode very briefly mentions intestines, body fluids, shots, stitches, broken bones, surgery, kids putting on pretend wounds (with intestines!) to help EMTs train, and the fact animals are butchered for food in some homes. If that doesn’t sound like something you’d like to hear, I’ll catch you on the next one. If you’re not sure, ask your grownup to preview the audio or transcript. =^..^=

  • Learn what a nurse practitioner does
  • Hear about seeing surgery for the first time and wearing pretend wounds to help train EMTs on ambulances when he was a kid
  • Discover what nursing school and nurse practitioner school are like

Resources You Can Use

As always, submit burning questions at askdruniverse.wsu.edu. Who knows where your questions will take us next.

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  • Why did people stop exploring the ocean? I heard they only explored 5% of it.

    Dear Dakota,

    When I think about exploring the ocean, I think about the discovery of giant tube worms. They live in super- hot, mineral-rich water deep in the ocean. They don’t do normal things like eat or poop—but they can live for 300 years or longer. Scientists were shocked when they found them—and there’s probably much more to find.

    I talked about ocean exploration with my friend Gretchen Rollwagen-Bollens. She’s a biological oceanographer and plankton ecologist at Washington State University.

    She told me that you’re right that we’ve only explored about 5% of the ocean. But it isn’t because we stopped trying. The … » More …

    Read Story
  • How is ice cream made?

    Dear Israel,

    It just so happens that July is National Ice Cream Month. To celebrate, I decided to whip up some homemade ice cream. You can try it at home, too.

    Put milk, sugar and vanilla into a freezer bag and seal it up tight. Fill another gallon freezer bag with ice and rock salt. Place the liquid mix bag inside the bag of ice and give it a good long shake. Some scientists might call this part “agitating.” After five minutes or so, you’ll notice the liquid mix in your bag becomes solid. Then you can dig in with a spoon.

    After making my … » More …

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  • Recently there was an online news article that mentioned cold magma that was flowing on the land. What is cold magma?

    Dear Matt,

    When I think about volcanoes, I picture molten magma deep inside the Earth. Or burning hot lava pouring down the side of a mountain. But you’re right that there have been news reports that mention cold lava.

    I talked about what that could be with my friend Katie Cooper. She’s a geologist at Washington State University.

    She told me the news may be using “cold lava” to describe a lahar. That’s a mix of water and rocky debris that sometimes whooshes down the side of a volcano. It’s also called a debris flow or a volcanic mud flow.

    Read Story
  • Why do people like cute animals more than ugly ones?

    Dear Brayden,

    Not to brag, but when I was a kitten, humans would see me and squee. Maybe it was my big, sparkly eyes or my teeny, fluffy paws.

    I asked my friend Giuseppe Giannotti why people found me so adorable. He’s a scientist at Washington State University. He studies the brain.

    He told me that humans like cute animals because they remind them of babies.

    “We’re drawn to find traits in animals that are similar to what we think is cute in humans,” Giannotti said. “The cutest things in humans are babies—you know, big heads, giant eyes, soft cheeks—and we project this to … » More …

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  • Why do birds sing in the morning?

    Dear Alexandria,

    I usually write answers to kids’ science questions early in the morning. I like how it’s so quiet—except for my bird neighbors singing and singing.

    I asked my friend Jennifer Phillips what’s going on. She’s a bird scientist at Washington State University.

    She told me birds sing in the morning to tell other birds that their territory still belongs to them.

    “The morning time is usually a little bit more calm, especially in windy areas,” Phillips said. “So, it’s a good time to broadcast your song and for that song to potentially travel a little farther.”

    Read Story
  • Why do we need to hydrate?

    Dear Victor,

    Is there anything better than lapping up cool water on a hot day?

    I talked about why we need to hydrate with my friend Ed Johnson. He teaches classes about the human body in the School of Biological Sciences at Washington State University.

    It turns out that up to 60% of an adult human’s body is water. A kid’s body contains even more water than a grown up. When you were a baby, you were about 78% water.

    Humans use that water for all kinds of things. It keeps you cool when you sweat. It removes waste when you pee. It moves … » More …

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  • How does your voice make sound?

    Dear Bianca,

    Think about all the ways you use your voice: talking, singing, whispering, shouting, yodeling. Humans make so many sounds with just their voices.

    I talked about how it works with Alisa Toy. She’s a professional singer who teaches in the School of Music at Washington State University.

    She told me that the human voice is the smallest instrument in the world. The parts that make the sound—called the vocal folds or vocal cords—are about as long as your thumbnail.

    So, where are those tiny vocal folds and how do they do it?

    Inside your throat you have two tubes. The esophagus … » More …

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  • What safety measures can we take during extreme weather conditions?

    Dear Zadok,

    When I was a kitten, a tornado tore through the neighborhood I was visiting. It got eerily quiet outside. Then the sky turned green. My littermates and I climbed into an empty bathtub to stay safe. After that, it got super loud.

    I talked about extreme weather with Nathan Santo Domingo. He’s a weather scientist at Washington State University.

    He told me that how to prepare depends on where you live. Different places have different kinds of extreme weather.

    “Keep an eye on the forecast and know what’s coming your way,” Santo Domingo said. “Be smart about what happens in your area.”

    Read Story
  • What is the most dangerous insect in the world?

    Dear Juan Simon,

    The deadliest animal on Earth isn’t a shark or a bear. It’s an insect. Mosquitoes kill way more people than any other animal.

    I talked about it with Jeb Owen. He’s an insect scientist at Washington State University.

    He told me mosquitoes are dangerous because of the way they sometimes eat.

    “Through blood feeding, mosquitoes can transmit pathogens that make people and animals sick,” Owen said.

    Read Story
  • Why do we have nose hairs?

    Dear James and Zion,

    Despite being a curious science cat, I must confess I haven’t spent much time looking up human noses. But I have noticed that human nostrils can be a bit…furry.

    I talked about what’s inside your nose with my friend Edward Johnson. He teaches classes about the human body in the School of Biological Sciences at Washington State University.

    He told me that nose hairs only grow in your nose’s vestibule. That’s the inside of the part of your nostrils that you can flare out. The nose hair’s job is to filter the air you breathe in through your nose.

    Read Story