Judy entered nursing because the Boise Junior College (BJC) Director of the Life Sciences program spoke at her high school and, after looking at her high test scores in the sciences, pulled her aside to ask about her plans. She said she had prepared to become a secretary and could not afford college. He informed her of the discounted tuition rate for residents of certain districts taxed to help support BJC. He also said BJC would pay for the first semester of college and would renew this scholarship every semester if she maintained a 3.5 grade point average. Another scholarship paid for her books. Judy’s career story is a testimony to the power of scholarships.
In looking back at her education, Judy said students were expected to “step up and apply themselves.” The clinical part required students to be at the hospital at 6:30 a.m. until noon. Their BJC classes and study involved them into the evening. Judy said the Physical Education (PE) requirement involved a 5:00 a.m. jump rope course and a 10:00 p.m. swimming course in two different semesters. For psychiatric nursing, student nurses lived at Blackfoot for about eight weeks and had meals and entertainment with the residents. This is different from today’s nursing education. Judy has been most surprised at the different “hats” nurses wear (e.g., educator, listener, advisor, innovator, leader). All faculty were remarkable, she said. The Director, Florence Miles, gave each student the feeling that she wanted them to be successful.
Following graduation, Judy worked at St. Luke’s in the emergency room, where she met her future spouse, Pete, an apprentice mortician. While he was in school, they lived 2 years in the San Francisco Bay area during the Vietnam era. Judy’s career was influenced in these dramatic times of the country’s history, which led to growth in her independence and opened her eyes to what could be done as a nurse. She worked, as one of only four registered nurses, on an unusual 60 bed unit with clients who had developed infections after surgery, had gangrene, poor surgical outcomes and/or venereal diseases. Her hospital was involved with the first nurse strikes in the United States. The California Nurses Association was very strong, which was helpful. The nurses never walked out, but they gained quadrupled wages that set the stage for advances in other areas. Judy’s wage before the increase was $180/month with no pay for overtime.
They spent about one year in Orofino, ID and fifteen years in Moscow, ID where Judy worked in obstetric, medical-surgical, and emergency room. Sadly, daughter Robyn died of cerebral edema, a 1% chance complication after the flu. They lived in Twin Falls for two years and in Laramie, WY for one year where Judy worked in medical-surgical, urological and psychiatric nursing areas. Back in Boise, she worked at St. Luke’s Hospital in medical-surgical nursing, at the Elk’s in rehabilitation nursing and at the Good Samaritan facility on a young handicapped unit.
Judy’s leadership surfaced early as she was President of her nursing class. In 1970 she was awarded the Idaho Drug Educator of the Year by the Idaho State JCC. In future years, she was on the forefront of innovative health care delivery when she co-founded two agencies to meet health care needs. Co-founding of the first hospice in Idaho stemmed from observing similarities to her own family experience when her father died young at a hospital with family present, but removed from his home for much of his final illness. The second co-founding stemmed from her experiences with Good Samaritan where she saw a need for young people with handicaps to go out with friends and be with young people, rather than being with the geriatric population. This led to the Hoeger House, a rehabilitation facility for young adults.
In 1988, they moved to Winnemucca, NV when her husband bought a funeral home. Judy was the Director of Nurses at the local hospital. When she elected to change positions, she did infection control and employee health. Both her background in San Francisco with military nurses and families and her last formal nursing positions culminated in her authorship of the bio-terrorism and disaster plan for Nevada.
Judy worked 42 years in nursing before retiring in 2005. Again, her last nursing positions connected with volunteer work (e.g., doing immunizations with the Health Department and assisting school nurses with immunizations and screening). Both her husband and her sit with hospice patients as members of the Pastoral Committee of their church. Judy and her husband’s travels abroad included Europe, China, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. Currently, she is a gardener, likes to crochet and is on the Board of Trustees of their church. Uniquely, she is a licensed funeral director, which required study and passing a licensure examination in Nevada. Judy and her husband have a son, daughter and granddaughter.
In summary, Judy’s nursing career has been diverse in types of nursing and in levels of practice. She has been a pioneer in developing new health care services, because she has been perceptive, creative and solution-focused. It is with pride that we highlight this alumnus.