‘Nurses saved my life,’ says nurse practitioner student

Tina Hoff earns Sanford Equity in Education Scholarship as a mom with medical history

A nursing student strikes a sitting yoga pose between symmetrical floor lamps softly illuminating the space.

Tina Hoff is in her 40s, has two children living at home, and works a full-time job. For most, that schedule would present enough challenges to get through a day. There would be no need to seek out more.

But Hoff has a history of doing two things at once — often while also looking for a third thing. So this clinical care leader at integrative medicine at Sanford Health, who is a cancer survivor and a certified yoga instructor, is back in school to become a nurse practitioner.

The goal is to be able to help patients with a holistic approach to health and wellness. As a certified instructor in Ayurveda, a sister science to yoga that offers Eastern perspectives on health and wellness, she is pursuing additional education so she can share her knowledge with more people. Helping that journey along is the $5,000 Sanford Health Equity in Education Scholarship she was awarded in January.

Resources for students: Explore scholarships and sponsorships from Sanford Health

“I think it speaks volumes about Sanford Health as an organization that it is willing to invest in its employees and the community to further education for older students,” said Hoff, who lives in Fargo, North Dakota, with her husband, 13-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son.

“The ability to do this online makes it so that we can also maintain our families and our career while going to school. One of the only reasons I was able to even think about becoming a nurse practitioner is that scholarship money was available to help offset the financial obligation of continued education.”

The Sanford Health Equity in Education Scholarship is a targeted financial scholarship program aiding underrepresented and traditionally underserved populations seeking higher education.

Award recipients must demonstrate exceptional character and leadership in furthering their own progress and in enriching the lives of others, especially in service, academics, and community involvement and impact.

For Hoff, making an impact is woven into pursuing additional education. In her case it includes first-person experiences as a teenage patient with thyroid cancer. It also includes giving birth to her daughter eight weeks prematurely in 2009 and dealing with the accompanying complications.

One of those complications involved a flood-triggered evacuation and airlift from Fargo’s MeritCare (now Sanford) hospital to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

“I ended up getting three units of blood transfused because of all the blood I lost,” Hoff said. “It was the care of the nurses that kept me alive. They were the ones who said something is not right. They ultimately saved my life and my daughter’s life.”

It steered her on a path toward nursing, which has since then evolved into offering alternative healing options to patients. With the support of a Sanford scholarship, this non-traditional student is looking forward to making that happen.

“It has changed my leadership abilities,” she said. “It’s changed my perspective on situations and people and has really impacted my own personal life with regard to growth and fulfillment.”

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Posted In Fargo, Inclusion at Sanford, Leadership in Health Care, Nursing and Nursing Support, Physicians and APPs, Sanford Stories, Scholarships and Sponsorships