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Health Scare Lies at the Heart of Professor's Nursing Career

Tareylon Chairse - 2021

A frightening situation in her own family led Dr. Tareylon “Terri” Chairse – the Clinical Director of Nursing Education at Governors State University (GSU) – to “quite an awesome career.”

Chairse was working as a senior merchandise manager for JC Penney when her life took a surprising turn soon after she and her then-husband welcomed a baby boy diagnosed with a heart condition.

Devastated by the looming danger, Chairse says she was “in awe of the nurses” who cared for baby Tyrone.

“Needing someone to help me navigate all this medical complexity that I had no knowledge of medical terminology, the nurses were just phenomenal in helping me understand my son’s condition,” she says.

Chairse, then in her late 20s, decided to leave retail and become a nurse.

She enrolled at South Suburban College (SSC), earning her associate degree. She then earned her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree of science, both in nursing, at the University of Phoenix in Arizona.

Before joining GSU's College of Health and Human Services in 2017, Chairse worked teaching hospitals, from Alaska to University of Chicago.

A Valparaiso resident, she’d also taught at Ivy Tech College in Valparaiso and Everest College in Merrillville.

Included in her many duties are: Overseeing and organizing implementation of clinical sites for the nursing graduate program, serving as a liaison between those clinical sites, the GSU Nursing Department and administration: and developing training information for students’ practicum experience.

“My job is to make sure master and doctoral students are prepared to start their clinical practicum.” she says.

She also helps students become well versed in on-line documentation and record-keeping systems, essential to nursing these days.

“I enjoy working for GSU. It aligns with my vision which is to be of service and allows me to provide reach out services to the community at large,” says Chairse.

 Tyrone, now 30, is in good health, married, and the father of her “two beautiful grandchildren.”

GSU Newsroom: What did you do at Charter College besides teach?

Chairse: In Alaska I had an opportunity to participate on the Alaska Nurses Association. I developed an annual health fair for the nursing school which allowed students to participate and show off their skills to the community. The students provided blood pressure screening, hearing screening, vision screening.

We saw unbelievable participation from the community.

GSU Newsroom: How did working in retail help your nursing career?

Chairse: Working in the retail environment provided me with excellent communication skills, enhanced my listening skills, helped me to understand a diverse culture of people, and provided me the ability to resolve conflict with varies groups of people. Communication skills are essential in nursing.

GSU Newsroom: As a nurse, what are your concerns with the pandemic?

Chairse: My concern with the COVID pandemic is that nurses, doctors, and health staff are getting burned out with the number of deaths and the influx of patients flooding the hospitals with the Delta variant. Currently, hospitals have beds but, not enough workers to take care of sick patients. I want to encourage people to get the vaccine of their choice. We all know the COVID vaccine, the benefits will outweigh the negative consequences which include death or long term chronic conditions. COVID vaccine will prevent you from getting having to be admitted to the hospital.

GSU Newsroom: What can we do?

Chairse: Know your COVID status, get tested weekly if you have not made up your mind about the vaccination or if you think you have been exposed or play contact sports. On campus, we have Shield testing which is free to faculty, staff and students. It’s a simple test using your salvia. The results are available in 24 hours. Everyone should wear your mask in public spaces, conduct hand hygiene and get vaccinated. My message to everyone is: Let’s help the hospitals out do your part wear a mask and get vaccinated.