December 19, 2018

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Nurse Practitioner Tanya Smith: Finding Her Work/Life Balance

Tanya L. Smith, RN, CNPIf you live in the Willmar community, you may know the name Tanya Smith. However, how you know her may vary depending on who you are. For many, Tanya is a Nurse Practitioner in the clinic’s Internal Medicine department. For others, you know Tanya as the owner of Patina Marquet, a local craft and gift shop. No matter how you know the name, Tanya Smith has made an impact on the Willmar community and her patients through her dedication to giving just a little bit more every day.

Choosing Her Career

From a very young age, Tanya knew that medicine was her calling. She believes this passion developed after visiting a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for the first time. “My aunt was a nurse in the NICU at Methodist Hospital,” Tanya remembered. “Back in the day we were able to hold the babies and from that moment I knew I loved health care. I always wanted to be like her.”

This dream came true, as Tanya began her career as a registered nurse. “I spent several years working at the hospital and the Willmar Surgery Center as an RN,” Tanya said. “But I always knew I wanted to do more when the time was right.”

In 2009, Tanya made the decision to return to school to become a nurse practitioner. Her desire came from the urge to provide her patients with more. “As an RN, I could gather information on my patient, but I wasn’t tasked with coming up with a plan of action or interpreting data,” Tanya said. “Initially it was scary to take on that next level of responsibility, but I wanted to give more to my patients and be able to educate them at the next level.”

After graduating from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, Tanya accepted a position within the ACMC-Willmar clinic as a nurse practitioner in the internal medicine department. In addition to seeing patients for routine care, Tanya also provides a memory care clinic and assists with nursing home rounds for clinic patients.

Tanya is also a mother of two and she is very busy, both in her practice and her volunteer work, throughout the community. However, her life got much fuller in 2015 when an opportunity arose that Tanya felt she just couldn’t pass up.

Unexpected Calling

Tanya L. Smith, RN, CNPIt was the day after Christmas in December of 2015. Tanya’s mother suggested they visit a local shop that she’d never been to. When they walked through the doors, they overheard the owner explaining how the shop would be closing if the right buyer didn’t come around. “I didn’t even know this shop existed and my mother kept raising her eyebrow at me as if I should purchase it,” Tanya remembered. “I honestly thought she was crazy.”

However, as Tanya walked through the shop she realized that maybe her mother was onto something. “I loved it,” Tanya explained. “Crafting has always been therapeutic to me and getting the chance to make other people feel beautiful and empowered felt like the right fit.”

To her own surprise, Tanya and her husband decided to purchase the shop and invest even more deeply into the Willmar community. Her family’s shop, the Patina Marquet, is a craft store that provides local artisans the opportunity to showcase and sell their work. They also sell furniture, clothing, and other gift shop items. “Our goal is to have our guests come in and feel like they are welcome,” Tanya said. “My hope is that everyone who walks through the door finds something they can’t live without.”

As a crafter, Tanya knows the difficulty of trying to sell items so she wanted to give people the platform needed to do so. “We want to give local artists and crafters the opportunity to grow their business,” she explained. “In return, the artisans promote our shop so it’s a win-win for everybody.”

Finding a Balance

As a nurse practitioner, mother, business owner, volunteer and much, much more, Tanya’s day to day life can be hectic. However, instead of seeing this as a burden, she uses it to motivate herself and others. “I thrive on being busy,” she explained. “Sometimes I get in over my head but so far, it’s all worked out well.”

She also recognizes that she couldn’t do it without the support of her family. “My husband is my rock. We have learned to work together at something that is very different than our careers. We call this our family venture as our children and parents all help with the store.  Without them, none of this would be possible. We are truly blessed!”

So what adventure will she take on next? Although Tanya says she isn’t looking for anything new, she is open to possibilities. “I am happy with where I am at,” Tanya said. “But I know I will be pushed in the direction that I am supposed to go. For now, I will just keep praying and keep doing what feels right.”