Hello! My name is Ryna Hansen. I am excited to be back in school again and even more excited to be studying community health and triply excited to be given the chance to dive into cross-cultural and global health studies! Can you tell I’m excited? I have been a nurse since 2006 after graduating from WSU. I worked on the medical unit of Seattle Children’s Hospital for almost two years. I do love pediatrics but also knew I wanted to work internationally in a developing country, so in 2008 I quit my job and moved to Haiti. There, I worked in a rural town in the Northwest, assisting a missionary doctor in a very small clinic and hospital. I saw things I never thought were possible and my eyes were pulled wide open to the ramifications of poverty. It seemed the work we were doing in acute/emergency care was simply reactive and always ten steps behind any sort of change. So that brings me to why I love community health!
Since my time of living in Haiti, it seems I cannot stay away; I’ve been able to get back there every summer. I am forever grateful for the life change that the people and experiences have invoked in me but am also thankful that I have gained valuable life skills such as: how to use a machete, how to kill a tarantula, how to live off a diet of rice and beans, and how to hold my own in an argument in Creole! I hope to get back there long term in the future to work in community health but the specifics on how and what are not yet clear. I’m hoping through my studies it will all become visible on what I must do.
Currently, in my life in Seattle, I am working part time as a school nurse, which is sort of perfect for me in combining my love for pediatrics and community health. In the next few years, while drowning in my studies and work life, I still plan to carve out some time to enjoy my other loves which are: running, music, coffee, laughing, traveling, sunshine, being outside, and spending time with my family and friends.