Dr. Tally Tinjum ’03
Associate Professor of Nursing
Please tell us about yourself. What’s something about you that we may not know?
I grew up, as the middle of three daughters, on a small farm just outside of Sabin, Minn. The farm has been in my family since my great-grandfather homesteaded it. Last year, my husband and I purchased the farm from my parents, and our daughters will be the fifth generation to grow up on that farm.
I am passionate about many things, but they all center around wellness and caring. I am passionate about my vocation as a nurse, so teaching future nurses is a delight as we learn together while helping others. Another thing that I am passionate about is wellness. This amplified for me during the pandemic when it was important to balance physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness. Lots of reflection and hard work has led me to become even more intentional about my own personal wellness and the wellness of those around me — family, friends, students, and colleagues. I found a love for running outside during the pandemic (I used to be devoted to the treadmill!), which not only gave me a physical outlet but a mental outlet as I looked forward to my running time to clear my mind and appreciate the great outdoors. I love staying active!
Which leads me to a piece of trivia that many do not know about me — I am a certified 200-hour yoga teacher!
What brought you to Concordia College?
Moreso, what brought me back to Concordia! I received my undergraduate degree at Concordia in 2003 with a major in nursing and a minor in religion. Concordia is home to me — where I have met some of my lifelong friends, including my husband! Early in our marriage, we traveled a lot for my husband’s professional training and his military service. I made a deal with him that I’d go along if we could eventually come back to this area so I could teach at Concordia, so here we are.
How long have you been teaching at Concordia and what courses do you teach?
We returned to Minnesota in 2012, so I am in my 10th year at Concordia. My first few years, I was in an adjunct role and when a full-time position opened, I interviewed. Starting as an adjunct, I have taught much of the nursing curriculum — nursing fundamentals, mental health nursing, roles and issues, health assessment, and Adult Health Nursing III. Additionally, I have taught and/or supervised many of our clinical experiences across the curriculum and have instructed in our nursing lab. Currently, I am the course coordinator for Family Nursing II (pediatric nursing) and Adult Health Nursing I. I also teach clinicals for both courses.
What course is your favorite to teach and why?
I honestly like teaching any and all nursing classes! It is so fun to work with students at any level and watch them make connections. Since my practice has been mostly in pediatrics and adult health, it is fitting that I teach those classes, but I also like to mix it up. When I teach nursing research, I like to bake chocolate chip cookies and then we rate them in class using different quantitative and qualitative measures — so that’s fun.
What do you love about your job?
The students, but more specifically I love to see the transition that happens with our students from spring of junior year to the fall of senior year. That one summer just seems to impact maturity and our students come back to their senior year with such a huge growth mindset. Another thing that I love about my job is working with and observing our students in the clinical setting. Our students are providing excellent bedside patient care — I am always so impressed by our students’ abilities to be very well-prepared and professional in the clinical setting. I wish everyone could see our students in action!
How does Concordia allow you to be passionate about your work?
I get to work with nursing students every day. We are in class together, and I get to mentor them in the clinical settings by helping them take care of patients in our community.
Furthermore, Concordia fosters collegial relationships outside our department. For example, I have previously served as chair of the Academic Policies and Procedures Committee and, through that work, I have gotten to develop some pretty special relationships with others on campus that I very deeply value.
How does Concordia differ from other places you have worked?
Great question! While I would say that there is a sense of community at all of the other places of higher education that I have worked, I think Concordia’s sense of community is something truly unique. Not only do we build a special community on campus with the day-to-day work, but we also have such a strong alumni network, which makes it fun to connect out in the community.
How has the nursing program changed since you were a student?
When I was a student at Concordia, the program was still partnered with NDSU’s nursing program through the Tri-College Consortium. So, being an independent program is the most obvious change for me. Other changes include the addition of the accelerated nursing track. I think our accelerated track is a valuable and unique program offered in our community.
Why is a liberal arts education important?
Ask almost any nurse, and they will describe nursing as both an art and a science. Nursing is HARD! Not only do you need to know physiology, pharmacology, and nutrition, but you also need to know how to communicate. You need to be able to read another person’s body language and act accordingly. Nursing is a lot of analysis and synthesis of data and other information, but it is also caring for human beings with emotions and unique life experiences. So (as I tell my students), even though the pathophysiology might be the same, the way you approach the patient and interact is always individualized.
What do you see in your students? How do they motivate you?
I see so much potential in our nursing students. Potential that they may or may not see even in themselves yet, but I love planting those seeds! Nursing offers a lot of unique opportunities and paths for advancement, so I love to ask students questions about their future. Students motivate me by reminding me that I always need to stay on my feet and current with things. Health care is a rapidly changing arena, so if there’s a question from a student that I don’t know the answer to, I love researching and finding out the answer.
What recommendations do you have for students thinking about graduate school?
One of the biggest recommendations I have is for them to follow their passions. Just as I knew in undergrad that I would eventually teach nursing, many of my students already have a five- or 10-year plan for their nursing career, and I think that’s great! Sometimes as life happens, this plan changes course, but I am always excited to talk with students about their vocational goals.
Why do you feel that nursing is a valuable discipline to study?
Nurses are amazing. We carried the entire world during a global pandemic. We are consistently one of the top (if not the top) most trusted professions. It’s a major that is challenging yet so very rewarding in many ways.
What sets the sciences apart at Concordia?
I think that our approach to the sciences is different at Concordia in many ways. We obviously weave in the liberal arts piece of studying at Concordia, but we also focus a lot on vocation. We ask questions like: What does this study mean to you besides and beyond a job? What things can you do to make the world a better place?
How does faith play a role in your life?
I have realized that faith has been a very fluid piece of my personal identity while I have moved through various seasons of my life. This fluidity has been a bit scary yet something to reflect upon and embrace as I change. As I practice nursing as a vocation, faith is something that I continuously reflect upon as I see it impact my personal life, and how I approach and support the faith of others through my nursing vocation.
What do you enjoy about the Fargo-Moorhead community and in what ways are you active outside of Concordia?
The Fargo-Moorhead community is so fun and something my husband truly looked forward to experiencing when we moved back 10 years ago. We have great food, entertainment, and wellness options. This community really supports living a well-balanced life, which is fantastic. I also feel like this community is really family focused. As the mother of two young girls, it’s great to have different options that elicit creative thinking and movement for children.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
As mentioned above, I love to run. I set mileage goals for myself each month. Sometimes I hit them, sometimes I don’t, but it’s always something I aim to achieve. Other hobbies that I have include baking (I make a fantastic flourless chocolate cake), traveling, and trying new foods. Our family also has an addiction to dachshunds — we have welcomed four to our family since my husband and I have been married. It’s true what they say, “dachshunds are like potato chips — you can’t just stop at one!”
Do you have any advice for students considering Concordia?
Come to campus and visit! Take advantage of opportunities to visit with professors in your interested majors. We want to talk to you and get to know you and your career goals, and we have a lot of different experiences that might help you find your path.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Published February 2023