By: Erica Quinones
The Health Center welcomed Nurse Practitioner Dr. SheKayla Hooks to their team in February.
Dr. Hooks began her career in nursing in 2006 with the completion of the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program at Delaware Technical and Community College.
While her education in nursing continued for another decade before completing her Doctorate of Nursing Practice in 2019, Dr. Hooks knew she wanted to work in medicine from a young age.
Dr. Hooks realized that she wanted to enter medicine when she was seven-years-old. As she grew up, that interest continued because the field combined two of her passions, science and human services.
Before coming to Washington College, Dr. Hooks worked in urgent care, emergency rooms, public health, sexual reproductive health, and most recently substance abuse.
Dr. Hooks combined both sexual reproductive healthcare and substance abuse through her doctorate dissertation, in which she implemented a contraceptive tool for women of reproductive age to prevent “some of the events and children being born into the battle with abuse.”
WC may not be an emergency room, but the Health Center is busy.
According to Director of Health Services Lisa Marx, about 2000 visits occurred at the Health Center — excluding counseling — since the beginning of the Fall semester.
Dr. Hooks will join Marx and Physician Assistant Elizabeth (Smith) Sebasteanski, class of 2006 and M’ 2009, in the Health Center, balancing out the work.
“Right away [Dr. Hooks] clicked with our team. We begged her to drop everything she was doing and come to work the next day,” Marx said. “She has a strong desire to provide the best care to our community that she can.”
Dr. Hooks also feels that she fits with the Health Center, saying that the environment was welcoming and that the care provided to students was “something to remember.”
As she continues working at WC, Dr. Hooks said she wants to sustain the Health Center’s environment and provide students with someone on whom they can rely.
From her days as a CNA at Bayhealth Medical Center Emergency Department to her completing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at Wesley College in 2011, her Master of Science in Nursing degree in 2015, her certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner, completing her terminal degree in Nursing in 2019, and finally her doctorate from Wilmington University, Dr. Hooks had no doubt that she would take each new step.
“When I finished nursing school, there was not a doubt in my mind that I wanted to become a nurse practitioner. And when I became a nurse practitioner, I wanted to know all there is to know about my career,” Dr. Hooks said.
It was not only Dr. Hooks’ personal curiosity and passion that drove her forward, but also the support from and her love for her grandmother.
“My grandmother was really big when it came to my career,” Dr. Hooks said. “She was always taking care of me as a child. So of course, as I started to get older, she started to get older. I wanted to be very knowledgeable of all the healthcare she was receiving and she was like my biggest cheerleader.”
As Dr. Hooks worked up in her career, she discovered both exciting and fulfilling experiences within healthcare.
When she began nursing school clinicals, Dr. Hooks found that she was not only taking care of people but doing “the full realm of healthcare.”
“My biggest remembrance was cleaning this guy’s [trachetomy]. He had just come from the [Operating Room] with this trach and it was the most exciting thing I have ever done. Kind of gruesome but very exciting,” Dr. Hooks said. “It was a fresh wound and he was still happy as a lamb.”