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Women in Faith and Science: A Roundtable Discussion

To assist female students as they navigate the connection between a medical profession and religion, the BYU Pre-professional Advisement Center’s hosted “Women of Faith and Medicine: A Round Table Discussion.” The event connected BYU pre-med students, local medical students, and physicians from Her Call to Heal. Sisters Anne and Lucy Osborn led the discussion to explore this intersection of faith and medicine through humility, hope, and hard work.

Days into Anne Osborne’s medical internship, she became a resident in the intensive care unit to replace a doctor deployed to serve in the Vietnam War. Osborn explained to a nurse that she felt completely lost as it was only one week before when she was just a medical student. Saying “I don’t know” was the wisest thing she could have done in her peculiar situation. Osborn made it through that uncertain time because she allowed the nurses to stand by her through everything.

Osborn shared that the gospel works similarly—the spirit is stronger with humility. When people allow each other to see their weaknesses, they become stronger together, whether it be in medicine or the gospel. Lucy Osborn added: “[in the medical field] there are going to be a lot of times where you are really uncomfortable. You just have to do the best you can. Prayer helps, humility helps a lot.”

Pediatricians are trained to recognize child abuse. So, when a mother and her boyfriend came in with their son who had a broken arm, Lucy Osborn knew it wasn’t an accident. She called authorities to assist her as she addressed the issue. The mother’s boyfriend became increasingly upset, and as the police took him away, he called after Osborn, saying, “where were you when my father was beating me?”

People expect medical professionals to impact their lives, but in her career, Osborn faced a lot of hopelessness. Hopeless moments like this taught her to depend on the spirit of the Holy Ghost and remember that “Heavenly Father will not let us fail.” Whether Osborn is being trusted with lives, addressing abuse, or making masks, she understands the importance of finding hope to make a difference.

Hard work
Anne Osborn was a medical intern for President Russel M. Nelson. During this time, he shared the advice he received from his interning days. President Nelson’s mentor said, “I don’t care if you’re the smartest guy, but do you know what I want from an intern? I want someone who will get up in the middle of the night.” It’s not about being the most intelligent or lucky person; it’s about being a hard worker.

Having a strong testimony and practicing medicine are both difficult, but they coincide perfectly. The Osborn sisters emphasized putting in the extra effort to learn how to connect the healing power of the gospel with the healing knowledge of medicine and the importance of relying on personal revelation.

They concluded with a message that no one profession defines a woman’s faithfulness, but faith empowers women to work in whatever field they choose to support, uplift, and change the world.