Staff Spotlight: Karen Koppes

Karen Koppes

Karen Koppes, BSN, RN, CMSRN, is the Lompoc Valley Medical Center nurse educator. She was hired in May 2018, coming to the acute hospital from Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. She was previously a surgical trauma unit nurse, charge nurse, cardiac rehab unit nurse and clinical instructor for Santa Barbara City College’s School of Nursing.

What is something people don’t know about you:

I was the sixth-grade spelling champion. It’s my most prestigious award by far.

What is your idea of a perfect day?

A hike in the morning with friends, preferably with a swimming hole.  A good lunch.  A relaxing afternoon to putz around the yard.  Then, a family movie night.

What’s your advice for getting into your career field?

People going into nursing should try healthcare on before committing.  Nursing is not easy.  Volunteer or get a different job in healthcare to see if you like the environment.  You have to be passionate about nursing to do this job well.  There’s no such thing as dialing it in when you are caring for patients. 

What is the most unusual job you’ve ever had?

I spent a Christmas break during college working at the Mall of America (at that time the largest mall in America!) giving out information at an American Girl doll display. I didn’t have to sell anything and it paid really well for a poor college student.

If you had unlimited funds, what would you do?

Pay for college/trade school/etc. for everyone who wants it.  If we get to do and study what we love, wouldn’t we all be so much better at it?  Then, the debt wouldn’t be crippling our decision-making.