Alumni Spotlight: Rachel Hogge

The College of Nursing at Brigham Young University believes and teaches that nursing is a calling. For Rachel Hogge, her call to nursing has been apparent since she was a toddler. Rachel’s mother tells stories about Rachel’s inclination towards nurturing at a young age, like Rachel always getting a bottle for her and her twin brother without being asked. She says her “innate desire to care” is what has guided from her time as a teenager living abroad to being one of the first recipients of a DNP from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.

Her desire to care for those around her blossomed during her “most defining experiences” as a teenager living in the Philippines. At the age of fourteen, Rachel’s father accepted a new job that hauled her family from California to the Philippines, where she experienced culture shock due to the poverty and suffering surrounding her. She wanted to provide care and comfort for all those around her, but quickly realized the bitter reality of her desire being impossible. That didn’t stop her from doing the best she could despite the limitations she faced.

Rachel as a teenager in the Philippines

“I became involved in several service opportunities. I spent Saturdays building houses for Habitat for Humanity. As a volunteer, I taught dance classes at a poorly-funded school for the deaf.  I also regularly held babies at a nearby orphanage,” Rachel explains. “I learned that I might not be able to help everyone, but I can help someone and that makes a difference. The work of the late Mother Teresa always profoundly resonated with me. She had said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.””

Rachel’s love of service carried her through nursing school and her first seven years in the nursing field. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the BYU College of Nursing in 2001 while working as an LPN in home health and acute rehabilitation. As an RN, she worked in critical care in several different intensive care units. She additionally worked as a travel and float pool nurse. Each position taught her new skills that have been crucial to her journey as a nurse. Home health taught her independence and confidence, critical care was a masterclass in observation and organization, and travel and float pool nursing trained Rachel in the art of asking questions

After seven years as a nurse, Rachel decided to take a hiatus from the nursing profession in order to focus on caring for her young children. She still found ways to continue her love of service through engaging in volunteer opportunities, offering medical assistance to her neighbors with health concerns, and hosting a club focused on podcasts that encourage female empowerment and achieving goals.

Rachel and fellow BYU alumni at one of their nursing labs at WSU

Completing a doctoral program is no small feat. Rachel knew this and decided to wait to begin her program until her youngest child entered first grade so she could focus on her studies. Little did she know a global pandemic was about to strike. Rachel completed her DNP at Weber State University (the first doctoral degree to ever be offered at WSU) during the COVID-19 pandemic, causing her program to be temporarily switched online as well as her children’s schooling. 

While the journey from the beginning to the end was challenging, she had the support of some surprising yet familiar friends along the way. In Rachel’s cohort of nineteen individuals, there were four other BYU College of Nursing alumni: Kristina Bennett (BS ‘00), Laura Clyde (BS ‘09), Marianne Mayo (BS ‘00), and Brenda Toone (BS ‘01). “I felt an immediate connection with these fellow students because my time in the BYU College of Nursing is a time that I cherish and they felt the same. They were a great group of nurses that clearly had been influenced by a solid foundation of the gospel and with their roots as BYU Nursing graduates. We had a great time reminiscing about favorite professors, program requirements, endless nursing process papers, and other aspects of the program,” Rachel explains. “They were a great support to me during our program and continue to be as we prepare to enter the workforce as nurse practitioners.”

From left to right: Kristina Bennett, Rachel Hogge, Brenda Toone, and Laura Clyde.
Rachel and her husband in Indonesia

In addition to being a nurse, Rachel is a mother to four children, ages seventeen to nine. Her husband, Justin, is an airline pilot, giving her and her family the gift of being able to travel. While the pandemic and Rachel’s doctoral program have slowed down their love of travel, she hasn’t forgotten the incredible places she has been able to see. From Indonesia to the Netherlands, Spain to Hong Kong, and New Zealand to Costa Rica, she and her family have been able to experience the world from a variety of perspectives and cultures, something she has captured with her love of photography. As soon as the pandemic begins to dwindle and traveling conditions become safer, Rachel dreams of taking her family on a medical humanitarian trip. “It’s all of my favorites wrapped into one nice package– traveling, nursing, service, photography, and my family!”

Rachel and her family in New Zealand

When at home in Utah, Rachel loves to be in the mountains hiking, skiing, or biking. She also loves channeling peace and empowerment into her life through more laid-back hobbies. “I enjoy listening to self-help books and podcasts. A new hobby of mine is growing a bonsai tree. I have been learning the art of shaping the branches and caring for this miniature tree indoors,” she explains. “It’s actually very therapeutic. Both my daughter and son have joined me in this new little hobby and have their own.”

The opportunities for Rachel as a nurse practitioner are endless. Right now, she wants to dedicate her practice to holistic wellness, a passion of hers that stems from her time in the BYU nursing program. She specifically wants to work with underserved populations, such as diabetics or those who struggle with hormonal health, and help them make lifestyle changes that can improve not only the longevity of their lives, but the quality.

It has been twenty years since Rachel graduated from the College of Nursing and even more years since she discovered her calling to nursing, but she never fails to be amazed at the Healer’s art. “When I hear that theme mentioned, it still causes me to pause and feel gratitude for the opportunity to be about His work as a nurse, and as a force of healing in others’ lives. It brings a greater depth of purpose and devotion to the field of nursing for me,” she says. “The decision to return to school was not taken lightly because I was concerned about the additional time away from my family, but I felt the Spirit’s confirmation that this was the course I was to take. Now, in the end, my family is only closer and  I am looking forward to the opportunities that I will have to practice the Healer’s art as I am inspired to do so.”

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