The College of Nursing’s mission is to help its students “learn the Healer’s art” — that is, to develop impressive medical expertise and an in-depth understanding of the human body, but all within the context of emulating Christ.
Patterning study and medical practices after the ultimate healer is important because everyone is called to follow the Savior’s example to bear one another's burdens and "comfort those that stand in need of comfort." Adia Hansen, soon-to-be BYU Nursing alumna, has devoted her education and career to this Christ-like approach to holistic healthcare.
Even Hansen’s extracurriculars focus on aiding others. She’s committed three years of service as officer, vice president and president of BYU’s Students Together Against Sexual Assault club, she works at Wasatch Behavioral Health and has also worked alongside sexual assault researchers Julie Valentine and Leslie Miles.
“It’s everyone’s responsibility to help ease the burdens of the innocent," Hansen said. "In class, we don’t just focus on getting people better but also seeing and loving them like Christ does, and using inspiration from Him to be able to heal the best we can.”
While none of Hansen’s immediate family members work in the healthcare industry, a high school summer internship caught her eye. She applied and spent several months shadowing ER nurses.
“That’s what got me hooked,” she explained. “I loved helping people while also learning about the science of the body.”
Hansen held to her passion as she completed her nursing pre-requisites (and three minors — gerontology, psychology and music!). But she became even more dedicated to nursing when she heard Valentine speak about forensic nursing at an orientation class.
“I walked out of that class and felt blown away,” recounted Hansen. “I called my mom and told her, ‘This is the coolest thing I’ve ever heard.’”
And the rest is history. Hansen has spent two years coding data from nurse examiner charts for sexual assault research. She feels strongly about the importance of data, especially on sensitive social issues like sexual assault.
“Beyond showing people that sexual assault is a problem regardless of age group, race or gender, data aids nurses and law enforcement interventions and assists in the justice process.”
Aside from her club and research work, Hansen has served in the field as a victim’s advocate for The Refuge Utah. For 24 hours a month, she attends sexual assault forensic exams and answers calls for a crisis hotline. Seeing that dark side of humanity is disheartening, but it simultaneously urges Hansen to care for others.
“Victims have been through one of the hardest things you can go through," she said. "But a lot of times, when people are going through a low moment, you can clearly see their worth and that they’re a child of God.”
People's resilience emerges when unfairness and pain afflict them, insisted Hansen.
“It’s very humbling. There’s a lot of things that I see in my clinicals and at work that teach me about how strong people can be.”
Hansen credits her success and diverse opportunities for experiential learning to BYU. “Nursing trade schools don’t have the learning opportunities that BYU does,” explained Hansen.
“It is a longer program, but compared to nursing-specific schools, I can get my bachelor’s degree and become a well-rounded student throughout the span of my program. The most important things are reinforced over years, instead of a one- or two-year-long accelerated program, and help you become a better care-taker.”
Hansen’s immediate plans after graduation are to work full-time at Wasatch Behavioral Health Receiving Center. In the future, she also plans to attend grad school and become a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE). But regardless of where she works, Hansen is grateful for her BYU experiences and knows that they will keep her motivated.
“Nowadays, we talk a lot about nursing burnout. But I honestly think that BYU gave me one of the biggest tools to combat burnout: God’s love. Seeing people as they are makes life enjoyable, whether you’re a manager or researcher.”