Get to know UMSN’s CAPS counselor, Kristen Adams

Kristen Adams“Kristen, not Dr. Adams,” said Kristen Adams, Ph.D., when asked what she wants nursing students to call her. “I want us to be on equal footing and that’s an easy way to start.”

Kristen joined UMSN at the start of the Fall 2017 semester as an embedded Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) counselor.

“My hope is that students see me as a resource, source of support, as a member of the community, and as someone who is here to advocate for them,” she said.

Kristen is at UMSN to provide undergrad and graduate students with a host of support services including counseling, referrals to services such as programs to address substance misuse, and to be a bridge between students and school administration.

“I hear all the time, ‘I know there are students with bigger problems,’” she explained. “I tell them that no concern is too small. If it’s bothering you, it’s big enough. Don’t wait for it to develop into something bigger. I’m big into prevention. We need to take care of our minds just like our physical bodies.”

Kristen also understands nursing students may have hesitations about seeking help.

“Those who pursue helping professions are often the last to seek support for themselves,” she said. “There is an expectation that you are the caregiver and you can take care of yourself. Self-care is very important, but sometimes that can only do so much.”

Kristen believes the challenges of daily college life can be enough to cause distress because it’s a lesson she learned firsthand.

“I had a hard time adjusting to college,” she said. “It was my first time being away from home and all the people I had gone to school with my whole life. Not having that human connection was hard. It was a pivotal moment in identifying who I am as a person.”

While new to the world of nursing, Kristen says some of the challenges nursing students face are quite clear.

“One thing that sticks out to me is the rigor and the structured nature of this program,” she said. “That is a breeding ground for high intensity and stress because students worry that if you step slightly out-of-bounds, it can have great implications.”

Another key focus area for Kristen will be supporting UMSN’s renewed commitment to increasing diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Every person comes with their unique identities, cultural background, experiences, upbringing and I think it’s important to honor that in each and every individual,” she said.

Getting in touch

  • Kristen is available by appointment at or (734) 764-4525.
  • For urgent and after-hours concerns, contact CAPS: 734-764-8312 (24 hour)
  • Stop by CAPS at the Michigan Union (3100) during business hours
  • If a person’s safety is at risk, call U-M’s Psychiatric Emergency (734) 996-4747 (24 hour) or 911.