Ingrid Hansen is born and raised in Vina del Mar, Chile, 1960. She knew she wanted to be a nurse since she was 6 years old. Hansen obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Chile in 1983. She immigrated to the United States in 1985 and lived in Southern California. To say the least, life was difficult during this period because of language barriers. Hansen started out washing dishes in the Los Angeles County Hospital kitchen, but soon she developed her English skills and was back to work as a medical assistant. She passed her board exam to become a registered nurse after only eight months of entering the United States.

(Photo Courtesy of Ingrid Hansen)

(Photo Courtesy of Ingrid Hansen)

Where and what did you study?

“Initially, I studied nursing at the University of Chile. Next, I furthered my education at the California State University Dominguez Hills, in Carson, California. There, I obtained a certificate in Public Health in 1992. In 1994, I moved to Chicago and worked for the Cook County Hospital System as a research nurse in pediatric AIDS. In 1999, I moved to Houston. In Houston, I studied at The University of Texas at Houston, in the famous Houston Medical Center, and earned my Master of Science degree in Nursing in 2006. The next step of this process results in a return to The University of Texas at Houston to received a post-master certificate in psychiatry in 2013.”

What do you do for a living?

“My official title is family nurse practitioner and my employer is Harris Health, which is the county hospital system for Harris County, Texas. My primary area of work is in the field of HIV treatment. Our program is geared to serve the poor, the homeless, and those with low incomes. We accept walk-in patients. Unfortunately, most of our clients are minorities, blacks and Hispanics – a high percentage of the patients are women and adolescents. The focus of our work is to treat HIV disease and counteract the symptoms. Because of my training in psychiatry, I can prescribe medicine, diagnose diseases, treat people with depression and mental illness.”

How does your education help you in your present work?

“If it were not for my education, then I would still be washing dishes in California. But, more to the point, I believe that everyone has a vocation in life and my vocation is helping people. The need to help people is something that burns within me and my work in nursing is that conduit that connects my life’s passion with my life’s work. Some people in my position pursue this vocation as a nun, and join the convent. Note that I feel that same calling but as a person in the real world. Furthermore, I provide a special service to women in an area dominated by men. In some cases, women just feel more comfortable speaking to another woman, and I fill that need.”

Richard Carranza is a reporter from the Houston, Texas area and published his first work in 1990. His education includes a bachelor of arts in chemistry from Cornell College, master of science in chemical engineering from Texas A&M University, and a masters of business administration from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. In addition to writing, Richard is involved in the design of petroleum refineries, petrochemical plants, oil/gas facilities and ethanol plants. He also carries out writing assignments for publications like Chemical Processing Magazine, Maritime Executive Magazine and Chemical Online.


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