Beyond the face: Meet Adelia
By Melissa Nilan, Marketing and Communications
You’ve seen them on the SkyTrain and walked past them at the mall. You’ve sat beside them in bus shelters and spotted them in newspapers… but just who are the people in our 50th Anniversary ad campaign? They’re not models; these are real Douglas students, working hard to achieve their educational and career goals – just like you.
As a member of Kitimat’s Haisla Nation, Adelia Paul is all too aware of the gaps in health care services in northern Indigenous communities. As a registered nurse, she wants to do something about it.
“I really want to make an impact in nursing, for my own people at the very least. Indigenous health is an issue that gives me energy,” says Adelia, a graduate of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.
But she’s not stopping at health care. Adelia wants to join forces with Indigenous women in other fields, including social services, who are also looking to make a difference.
“Ideally, we will work together to close the gaps in services that are present right now for our people.”
It’s an ambitious project, but Adelia is up for the challenge. She has always fought to achieve her goals – and knows first-hand the power of persistence.
When she first decided to attend Douglas, she was aiming for a spot on the Royals basketball team. She drove down from Kitimat hoping to try out, only to be turned away because the players had already been chosen. She had to wait a whole year to try again, but she was determined to get on the team.
Adelia was accepted for the point-guard position. During her 5-year career with the Royals, she consistently ranked in the top three assist leaders of the PACWEST, and in her final year was the All-Time Assist Leader for the PACWEST. She helped her team win the 2016-17 PACWEST Championship Gold Medal, the first gold medal win for the Royals Women’s Basketball team in over two decades.
Joining the Royals was Adelia’s first hurdle. She also struggled to adjust to the college environment, and her grades reflected that. With her position on the team at risk if she didn’t improve her grades, Adelia sought help from the Athletic department and took advantage of student resources.
“Even just small changes, like sitting at the front in class or visiting instructors’ office hours, made a big difference,” says Adelia.
And then came her biggest challenge: getting into the Nursing program. The program has so many applicants that Adelia had to apply three times before she finally got in. But she never thought of giving up, and the skills she acquired with the Royals helped her succeed in nursing.
“My coaches always told me to give the same to school as what I gave in basketball. This meant showing up on time, being prepared, asking questions, surrounding myself with people who would encourage me, and always pushing myself to do better. Doing that is what got me to where I am today.”
Now a registered nurse, Adelia is working in the Medicine Stroke Unit at Royal Columbian Hospital, attending to the needs of recovering stroke patients.