Julie Wedemeyer knows firsthand that life can take some interesting twists and turns. The Lassen College nursing instructor and alumnus experienced her fair share while growing up, starting from an early age. Born in Susanville, she was adopted at 21 days old and moved to Sacramento with her new family, where she lived until she made the decision to find her birth parents.
Wedemeyer was enrolled at American River College in 1993 when she made the decision to reunite with her birth parents. The reunion went so well that with the blessing of her adoptive parents, whom she remains very close, the 20-year old made the decision to put her education on hold, and move back to Susanville so she could develop a relationship with them. Not only did she begin a relationship with her birth family, she met and married her husband and started a family. Though the marriage didn’t last, Wedemeyer knew she was home with no intention of leaving.
While attending ARC, Wedemeyer was taking a few pre-requisite classes for the nursing program. She knew she wanted to be an LVN, and after putting her education on the back burner to raise her family, she decided it was time to go back to school and Lassen College was a perfect choice.
“It really worked around my life’s schedule and allowed me to work and still be involved with my children,” said Wedemeyer. “Once I entered the LVN program, my schedule became a little more challenging, but it was still a wonderful program that allowed me to be home with my family.”
Wedemeyer attended Lassen full-time while working as a licensed cosmetologist. When she graduated in spring of 2005, she was focused on getting as much experience as she could in nursing as an LVN, and then continuing on to earn her RN. In 2011, she graduated from the College of the Siskiyous with her RN. She was immediately hired by Banner Lassen Medical Center to work on the med-surg floor, but moved to obstetrics, which had always been her passion. Her passion for nursing fueled another desire, teaching. Wedemeyer considered marrying her two passions with the motivation to help make improvements to a field she loved.
In 2017, the opportunity to return to Lassen College as an instructor presented itself when she contacted Celeste Wiser, a former colleague at BLMC and full-time nursing instructor at LCC, to see if the college was looking for help with the program. The program was in need of someone to teach maternity. She was excited about the direction the nursing program was moving; the school was planning to build a new facility equipped with state of the art equipment and plenty of room for growing enrollment, and the curriculum has recently been revamped by the Director of Nursing, Christi Myers and Wiser. Wedemeyer talked with John, her husband of 11 years, her birth and adoptive family, and her peers and agreed it was the perfect opportunity.
The new facility opened in winter of 2017 and features three full-time instructors; Myers, Wiser and Wedemeyer, all with different nursing backgrounds. The new training rooms allow students to be hands-on and will better prepare the students for when they are working at clinical sites, and as they enter the workforce and begin interacting with actual patients.
“I couldn’t ask to be a part of a better team,” said Wedemeyer. “The passion that we share to make not only our community better, but nursing as a whole, is evident. I believe in how we teach our students. We are doing some great things with the nursing program and students at LCC.”