Keeping Her Eye on the Prize

CHPE Student Spotlight: AHEC Scholar Tanisha Bingley

A major tragedy brought Tanisha Bingley, RN, to a career in healthcare. She was only 10 years old when her stepmother had a stroke and was admitted to the hospital, but that experience made a lasting impression. She decided then and there that she wanted to work in healthcare.

“It all happened really fast,” Tanisha said. “She literally went into surgery the day after getting admitted and didn’t make it out. The comfort that we received from the healthcare team really inspired me to go into healthcare myself.”

Tanisha graduated from A-B Tech last spring and is now pursuing her RN to BSN while working full-time in Greenville, SC. Although she worked throughout her time at A-B Tech, balancing this new workload has been more challenging than Tanisha expected. Staying organized and keeping her eye on the prize is helping her get through this first semester.

“Trying to see my goals through is my biggest motivator,” explained Tanisha. “I want to be a healthcare provider one day. And I think seeing people in practice encourages me as well. Seeing doctors, nurse practitioners, and PAs doing their job well makes me want to keep going.”

On top of working full-time and going to school, Tanisha is also in her second year of the AHEC Scholars Program. But being an AHEC Scholar isn’t just another thing on her to-do list—she’s soaking up valuable knowledge and experiences that will help her moving forward.

Jacquelyn Hallum, MBA, MHA, director of health careers and diversity education at MAHEC, first met Tanisha when Jacquelyn was a patient recovering from surgery. “Tanisha was a second year nursing student at the time. She brought me a feeling of calm and comfort and took the time to make sure that all my needs were met. I immediately knew she was the type of candidate that we were recruiting for our new AHEC Scholars Program. She has proven to be an exemplary Scholar and I'll be forever grateful for our chance meeting.”

AHEC Scholars is a national program designed to recruit, train, and support a diverse and multidisciplinary group of health professions students. Over the course of the two-year program, scholars shadow in rural and underserved urban settings and learn about interprofessional team-based care, integrated behavioral health, social determinants of health, practice transformation, and current and emerging health issues like COVID-19.

“I really enjoy the didactic sessions of AHEC Scholars because we get exposed to so many important healthcare issues and practice transformations occurring right here in WNC,” said Tanisha. “Being a part of this program has opened up so many learning opportunities that have helped me better serve my patients.”

Tanisha’s also enjoying working with and learning from her fellow AHEC Scholars. She’s discovering new ways to help patients by listening to the perspectives of students in other areas of healthcare. “Anyone from a pharmacist to a nurse to a medical student, we’re all getting involved and having a conversation about what’s best for the patient.”

Now that Tanisha’s working full-time as a nurse, she’s on the other side of the experience she had as a 10-year-old. Now, she’s the one comforting and reassuring families whose loved ones are in surgery.

“In every setting, patients are concerned about their families, but the concern becomes a little more intense when it comes to surgical procedures,” said Tanisha. “Families really look forward to those calls from the nurse updating them throughout the procedure to let them know how things are going. I think there’s a different type of vulnerability between a nurse and the family members when the patient is under anesthesia and completely dependent on the surgical team.”

Tanisha’s using her past experiences and the knowledge she’s gaining from her time in AHEC Scholars to build a strong foundation for her future as a healthcare provider. We know she will make a great one!