Mentoring Profile: Tanya Friese, DNP, RN, CNL, College of Nursing

The Rush Women Mentoring Program fosters professional development and a sense of community and collaboration among women faculty at Rush University. In this series, we highlight program mentors and mentees and learn more about how mentoring has impacted them.

Tanya Friese, DNP, RN, CNL, assistant professor in the Department of Community, Systems and Mental Health Nursing, College of Nursing, joined Rush in 2007.

Tell us about your background.

I served as a hospital corpsman during the 1990s, receiving the Navy Achievement Medal for work with the Joint Commission at the Naval Hospital in Corpus Christi,Texas. I went on to support various missions in the Middle East and Europe. After service-connected disabilities resulted in retirement from the Navy, I completed a bachelor’s degree in public health, worked at Abbott Laboratories as an assay development scientist, and then earned a bachelor’s degree, a master’s and a doctoral degree in nursing. As a nurse and researcher, I specialize in working with individuals with disabilities, military veterans and their families, and those who identify as LGBTQ.

What inspired you to get into your field?

As a Navy corpsman, I always aspired to become a nurse. Nursing is a versatile field, and I believe we work well with other members of the health care professions.

What excited you about your work at Rush?

The wonderful blend of practice, teaching, and research that is available to us as well as the opportunities for interprofessional practice and global health outreach are the factors that make me excited about working at Rush.

What is your opinion of mentoring and sponsorship?

Both are important. I have had many wonderful mentors throughout my career: when I was in the military, when I was a scientist at Abbott Laboratories, and now, as a nurse and faculty member at Rush. Mentors assist us with gaining personal insight and strengthening mindfulness. They point out areas for personal growth while shoring up what we are currently doing well and providing opportunities for research collaboration.

Do you have tips or advice you would recommend for someone looking to enter your field of work?

Be true to yourself. If you are well suited for the service of others, then some aspect of the health care profession is well suited to you. In addition, interprofessional practice, valuing all members of your team and, most importantly, valuing the patient/client is key to a successful practice.

What are your hobbies? How do you like to spend your free time?

I enjoy gardening, cooking for friends and family, nature/animals/conservation, reading, being outdoors, serving (volunteering) others. Basically, I enjoy paying it forward because I have experienced hard times in the past, and I was always fortunate to find someone who gave me a “hand up.”