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WGU Graduate Speaker, Tammy Hosang, Winter 2011

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WGU Graduate Speaker, Tammy Hosang, Winter 2011
Western Governors University
<p>Tammy Hosang was selected as a student speaker for WGU's 2011 Winter Commencement Ceremony. Tammy is from Oakland, Michigan.</p> <p>Tammy Hosang earned her a Master's of Science, Nursing.</p> <p>Transcription of video:</p> <p>Good morning. Welcome, graduates, family members, faculty, and friends. I consider this opportunity an incredible honor.</p> <p>My story starts in a small suburban town in the state of Michigan. I, like many other girls my age, dreamt of becoming a nurse one day. From the time I was young, I had a lot of practice. You see, I grew up in a large family with five brothers and a wonderful mother who was deathly afraid of blood. When one of the boys would hurt themselves, it was my job to hold the wound while my mom ran for help. [Laughter] Needless to say, that happened often.</p> <p>I graduated from high school in 1976. Yes, I know, I'm a woman revealing her age. Coming from a middle class family of six, my parents could not afford to pay for our college. This was also during a time where it was not always expected that a young woman would attend college. If I wanted to attend, I had to figure out a way to pay for it myself. So I enrolled in a diploma RN program that was hospital affiliated. The hospital agreed to pay for my tuition if I agreed to work at the facility for a two-year period. That is what I could afford at the time, so that is the path I chose.</p> <p>Being a diploma graduate worked for a very long time. I eventually landed a position that I loved and stayed at for 25 years. I was a practice manager for a large family practice. My staff became part of my extended family, and my bosses were my friends. As the years went on and healthcare began to change, it became more and more difficult for physicians to remain independent in their practice. This meant that to survive in today's healthcare, they had to become affiliated with a large institution or become a hospital-based practice. So the physicians I worked for had no choice but to join a large practice supported by the hospital.</p> <p>After about a year and a very smooth transition, the large group decided that it was time for the final change. The current practice closed, including a change of location, and most of my staff, including myself, lost our jobs. My life changed forever in one quiet meeting.</p> <p>It was devastating, and it almost felt like going through a divorce. A very long, happy chapter in my life was coming to a close. I was in a fog for a few weeks. This happened in December of 2008. When I awoke from that fog, the question was: What now?</p> <p>When I first asked myself what my future would hold, I thought back about the beginning in nursing school. I knew if I wanted to make a difference, I had to do something that would inspire others to do their best. I couldn't fall apart like I so desperately wanted to. I have a young teenage daughter and her friends to set an example for. So I did a little research and I asked myself: What do I want to be when I grow up? I decided that I wanted to teach. So I went back to the beginning, and it was time to finish my schooling. That is when I found Western Governors University.</p> <p>I did a lot of research regarding school. I knew as I did as a young adult that if I wanted to do it, I had to be able to afford school. I also knew that I was motivated, and the more classes I could complete in a semester, the less expensive it would be. Not every school offers this opportunity. I wanted all my past experiences and my nursing profession to count.</p> <p>Going back to the beginning also meant going back to the hospital setting where it all began. So at the age of 50, I accepted a full-time midnight position on a very difficult cardiac med-surg floor at a very large hospital in Metro Detroit. My position would be to work three twelve-hour shifts a week. That allowed me to have four days off a week to be able to concentrate on school. That was the good part. The bad part is that at my age and the age of my children, I had to work midnights. My daughter was 11 years old at the time, and still wanted a kiss from Mom every night at bedtime.</p> <p>Thank goodness I have a great husband and supportive extended family that helped me get through this very difficult time. This gave me extra motivation to work very hard in school, so I knew this would only be a temporary situation that would not last forever.</p> <p>The beginning of going back to school was hard. I had never done computer-based schooling before. My generation grew up with a telephone that was stationary on the wall, a four-channel television set, face-to-face conversation, and in today's day of texting and iPads and Facebook and over 500 channels of TV, it was a whole different way of going to school and communicating.</p> <p>My first contact with the school was a great note and phone call from my wonderful mentor and eventually my friend, Michelle Winters. She was a wonderful inspiration and a calming voice when things became nerve-racking. She also became one of my biggest fans and cheerleaders through my one-and-a-half-year journey at Western Governors University.</p> <p>At first, I needed help adjusting to the computer programs. But as time went by, things became easier. During my journey, I had a very difficult math class to pass to finish my bachelor's degree. It had been years since my dreaded high school trigonometry class. My 17-year-old very smart son and some of his friends became my tutors for this difficult task. [Laughter] All they asked for in return was all the beef jerky I could make and all the Gatorade they could drink. [Laughter] When I finally passed the class, they cheered and, too, were very proud of our group accomplishment. </p> <p>Going back to school after such a long absence was like riding your first bike with training wheels. By the end, you're riding like an expert, and the beginning is just a distant memory. The same thing happened with going back to work at the hospital. I learned so much by being back on the floor where it all began. By the way, whoever said "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" never worked the midnight shift at the hospital. [Laughter]</p> <p>I finished my bachelor's degree in a matter of eight months, and then I asked myself: Why stop now? I decided that if I wanted to achieve my goal of becoming a nurse educator, I had to get my master's in nursing education. I figured it was time, at my age, to pass on all the valuable information that I had learned over the years to the brand new nurses of the future. I also wanted to be an inspiration to those who felt that maybe they were too old to begin again. I was determined to finish so I could move on with my career. Never tell a girl with five brothers "you can't." As my brothers would tell me, "There's no crying in baseball."</p> <p>At the beginning of August, just before finishing my degree, I had the opportunity to interview for a nurse educator position at the hospital where I worked. I was very nervous and excited all at the same time. I was offered the position, even before I completed school. I now work with some wonderful mentors and friends, and thank you, Linda and Ann, and all the rest of you for showing me the way. My new title is clinical nurse specialist, and I am teaching the nurses of the future, helping them get ready for hospital life.</p> <p>I just want to say that I'm proud to be a Western Governors University graduate, and I can't believe that I'm here on this stage telling my story. If someone would have told me this three years ago, I would've laughed and said, "Not a chance." But I'm here to tell you that anything is possible. I asked myself: Why do I want to tell this story? Then I realized if I could do this at my age, I want people to know and believe that it's never too late to go for it in life. Nobody climbs this mountain alone.</p> <p>So in conclusion, I must say thank you to Western Governors University; my friend and mentor, Michelle Williams; my husband and best friend, Don; my loving children, David and Elizabeth; my mom and dad, who taught me about family love, support, hard work, and perseverance; and my loving brothers who made me strong in life. So now every day at work, I get to sign my name "Tammy Hosang, MSN, Master's of Science in Nursing." Thank you.</p> <p>[Applause]</p>
Western Governors University
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Original Format: 
Commencement Video
Digital Format: 
MP4 (Moving Picture Experts Group)