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In the aftermath of the Umpqua Community College shooting in Roseburg, Oregon, on October 1, 2015, UCC alum and current WGU student D’Dee Hopkins coordinated and managed a crisis hotline for the local community.
D’Dee has worked for Architrave Physician Services since 2014 and was tasked by local physicians to coordinate a team focused on reducing the re-admit rates at the local hospital. Following the tragic events in Roseburg, she felt compelled to support her community and met with the company chief marketing officer to coordinate the hotline.
She gathered volunteers from different clinics in the area and remained on-call for 72 hours to provide psychological and physical help to anyone in need both by phone and in person. Though two months have passed since that tragic day, phone calls continue to trickle in, and D’Dee supports residents in finding appropriate services.
Her nursing career began several years ago when she completed her associate’s degree at UCC. She was working as a phlebotomist at the local hospital and had the opportunity to float the floors and serve in several positions within the hospital, leaving her with a diverse skill set. A nursing career seemed like the natural next step, so she returned to school and became a registered nurse in 2006.
With a stable path in healthcare in place, her life and career took off. She raised two boys, and for the next nine years found her niche working in family practice and urgent care. As a former military brat, D’Dee loved the consistency of change and thrived as a nurse.
Completing a bachelor’s degree had always been on her mind, but working and raising kids made going back to school a challenge, and there was always an excuse not to return.
Co-workers recommended she look into WGU when her youngest left for military boot camp and she became an empty nester. So she did, having run out of excuses not to further her education and with full support and encouragement from her family. D’Dee enrolled in the Bachelor of Science Nursing degree program with WGU shortly after joining Architrave Physician Services.
“I was a widow but got re-married to a law enforcement officer several years ago,” she explained. “My husband worked in the service for 20 years, but we decided it was best for him to retire with the increasing danger in his field and for me to further my career. He has supported me throughout my program by being such a huge help in the home.”
WGU’s courses fit perfectly with the odd hours of D’Dee’s schedule, allowing her to complete her school work in the middle of the day—or night.
“The courses have been challenging, but WGU utilizes every teaching method,” D’Dee says. “You can learn by being hands-on, through reading, or visuals.”
Working through the BSN program has not only expanded her knowledge and skills as a nurse, but has given her a leg up with hospital leaders. She finds that, with an advanced education, she's better received by leadership.
With school, work, and family, D’Dee is busier than ever—but she wouldn’t have it any other way. WGU’s online, competency-based model has made it possible for her to accomplish her career goals, work in a field that she loves, provide extra support to her family, and give back to the school and community that launched her career. Most importantly, she is still able to give her family the attention they deserve. When not on rotation or with eyes fixed on a computer, D’Dee is most likely to be found in a pool or in open water teaching scuba-diving lessons with her husband.
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