The career change was launched under unfortunate circumstances. According to the Santa Rose Press Democrat, Hobler suffered a stroke in August 2006. As he lost control of his limbs and his vision went dark, he took a taxi to a local ED, where an MRI revealed lesions on his brain caused by a rare bacterial infection.
After more than a week on heavy doses of penicillin, Hobler was flown home to Santa Rosa where he was transferred to Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center. Over the next month, doctors and nurses helped him regain full use of his limbs, and—after four eye surgeries—his vision.
Nearly two years later, Hobler was finally physically fit, but had lost so much of his memory he could not go back into engineering without training. Grateful for the nurses who had helped him through his recovery, he decided to change careers.
"I could tell that they really cared, that it was a job they wanted to be at," Hobler told the Press Democrat’s Chris Smith, adding that nurses give "you the feeling that you [are] the only person on the floor that they [are] taking care of."
Hobler's mother—a retired nurse—agreed to pay for nursing school at the University of South Dakota if he moved in to lend her a hand. He graduated in 2010, just months before his mother passed away.
Last year, Hobler was hired by the same hospital that had inspired him to become a nurse. "You don't realize how your everyday work can affect others' lives," David Peck—one of the nurses that treated Hobler—told the Press Democrat.
Today, Hobler is especially fond of treating patients who are recovering from strokes or have impaired vision.