Once Dean Tara Dailey ‘found her calling’ as a nurse, nothing has held her back

It took Tara Dailey, Dean of Galen College of Nursing’s San Antonio campus, a little while to find her way into the nursing field. But once she got started, she never looked back.

“I had gone to college in Texas and was working on a psychology degree, but as soon as I finished the associate’s part of it, I didn’t feel like I was making a difference, so I moved back home to Kentucky,” she says. “One of my family members was going to nursing school and suggested I go, too, and I immediately felt like I found my calling. The funny part is that I’m the only person in my family who is still in nursing!”

When asked what her favorite part of the job, she says “hands down, it’s making a difference for the students.” Normally an introverted person, she finds that being around students brings out a different side of her.

“My husband can tell when I’m in front of students or not because when I come home, if I’m bouncing, he knows I met with students that day,” she says. “They make me feel more upbeat, more positive, and happier overall. I love working with students, and I love working with faculty to help them work with the students, too. When my faculty succeed, that’s like my success, too, because the students are getting what they need.”

She started her own nursing career as a practical nurse in Kentucky in 1997, which is why she finds herself often advocating for practical and vocational nurses. She also believes in the importance of education, earning her associate’s degree from Northern Kentucky University, her bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati, and her Master’s Degree from South University in Savannah, Ga. Oh, and you can call her Dr. Dailey now, since she recently earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership from American Sentinel University.

Beyond education, one of her passions is leadership, and she is constantly finding ways to combine those two in ways that will help Galen College students and faculty.

“This year I’m participating in Leadership Women Texas, a state organization covering all types of disciplines with women who get together and discuss best practices in leadership,” she says. “I’ve been able to link with lots of women, including the director of the food bank in Dallas. We had built and launched a food bank inside our campus in 2017 – over 90 students visit the food bank every month – and we are looking to see if any potential collaboration opportunities exist. This type of leadership networking allows me to tap into greater partnerships and ultimately help the students and Galen.”

Outside of work, Tara loves spending as much time with her family as she can. She has a 20-year-old who lives in Indiana and an 8-year-old son who’s getting ready to turn 9. She also said she is “addicted to baking shows, even though I can’t bake very well.” But she’s not going to be making too many sweets any time soon – now that she has finished her personal educational journey, she has been “working hard on my physical self, having lost more than 80 pounds since January, so no cake for me right now!”

No matter what she’s cooking up, you can guarantee it will be in the best interest of the students at Galen College of Nursing’s San Antonio campus.

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