I’m Tanya Tohtsoni, an inpatient discharge planner at the Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock, New Mexico. I grew up in the Four Corners area, so I’m home grown to the region. As a kid I loved animals and thought I might be a veterinarian someday.
After losing my grandparents to cancer, I gravitated to the people part of medicine, and chose to go to nursing school in Farmington, New Mexico. When I got my associate’s degree, I became a clinical nurse in the medical-surgical unit at the Indian Health Service hospital in Shiprock in 2011, where I’ve been ever since.
While being a clinical nurse, I also became a preceptor, which meant training and observing new nurses, which was something I had never done. I grew to love teaching and that’s become a keystone in my life.
My husband is an education coordinator himself. We met years ago playing softball and now we are coaching three teams in Farmington. Together we are raising our wonderful daughter Shan’diin and we love spending time together.
In part to better support my family and have more time for them, I’ve left clinical nursing to take a promotion. Becoming a discharge planner is a great opportunity, which means navigating complex administrative processes, and coordinating with different patient care specialists from all parts of the hospital. Plus, I get to use my teaching skills to inform and prepare our inpatients once it’s time for them to go home.
This is an exciting time for me, and my future looks bright. I’m Tanya Tohtsoni, and I’m a nurse, a teacher, and a lifelong learner – and I am IHS.