Q&A with Plano Nurse Karen Hoecker

At the heart of Plano, you’ll find everyday citizens doing extraordinary, inspirational things. Karen Hoecker, a Plano nurse with three children, 10 grandchildren and 47 years of experience, talks to Plano Magazine about why she’s still doing the job she loves and has no plans to slow down anytime soon.

Karen, tell me about your job.
As a Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) nurse at Texas Health Center for Diagnostic and Surgery, I’m responsible for the patient after they leave the operating room. PACU nurses are really the advocates for the patient, because we stand in there between the doctor and the patient, and we’re responsible for so much of their care as they wake up from anesthesia. 

Did you always know you wanted to be a nurse?
My mother was a nurse, and I grew up in a household where we talked about everything. I decided my senior year of high school that I was going to go on to nursing school, and I’ve never regretted it. It’s just been a joy. 

Karen’s graduation photo from Lutheran Hospital School of Nursing, Cleveland, Ohio, 1968

What’s your most memorable experience?
I’ve been in so many areas, but OB is really memorable because every birth is a miracle. I had a patient who was having a child with a genetic disease—a Trisomy 13. But she believed in life, and she didn’t abort, and she had this child, and the child lived for about 12 days. It really made an impact on her life, the nurses, the doctors and people around her because she was able to see it as a gift. She said her family grew from it, and her father came to the Lord through it. She also said she wouldn’t have planned it any other way even though it was extremely sad. 

What’s your favorite thing about being a nurse? 
When you do something you love every day of the week, it’s just going through the day and letting your light shine. It’s not work.

What do you want to be remembered for? 
I think I want to be remembered for my caring attitude through Christ, because I think it’s a gift. And I think using our gifts that is the most important thing in our life. And I hope my children would remember that I had that gift, and I used it and I’m still using it.


Karen works at Texas Health Center for Diagnostics and Surgery:

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