MC nursing alumna enjoys life and career as nurse managerJune 05, 2024

The image to use for this article. Listing image managed through RSS tab. Tanta Hulsey

Tanta Hulsey worked in retail management for 10 years, and in January 2012, after spending Christmas in the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital with her grandfather, she decided to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a nurse.

“I had always wanted to be a nurse,” she said.  “I graduated from Midland High School in 1998, married early and by 2000, I had my first child.  I went to work in the retail industry in order to help pay the family bills.  In 2012, my husband Tim and I built an RV park on our property, and the income from that endeavor enabled me to stop working in retail and become a full-time Midland College student.

“I actually attended Midland College for a very short time when I graduated from high school, but I still had to take most of my prerequisite courses before I could be accepted into the Associate Degree Nursing program.  I finished the prerequisite courses in the spring of 2013, and the following fall I was one of 35 students accepted into the program.

“Nursing school was a great experience, but very rigorous, especially for a mother of three children.  Thankfully, my family was very supportive.  In fact, the last semester, I called my mother-in-law who lives in Georgia and told her I needed help.  She got on a plane in January 2015 and came to Midland to live with us until June in order to help with ‘mom duties’ like cooking meals and carpooling.  I was also very fortunate in that I had Pell Grant funding and also received a donor-directed scholarship to help pay for my textbooks.  I think that I only paid approximately $900 out of my pocket for the entire time I was at Midland College.”

Hulsey graduated from Midland College in May 2015, one day before her 35th birthday, and began working as a registered nurse in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Midland Memorial Hospital (MMH) in June of that same year.

Hulsey said that she was excited to become a nurse.  She wanted to help people, rather than manage them.  However, her management skills would serve her well in the years to follow, as she worked her way up to her current position as Critical Care Unit Nurse Manager at Midland Memorial Hospital.

“I had never worked in a medical setting until I started working as a nurse in the ICU,” Hulsey explained.  “However, I didn’t have any doubts that I couldn’t handle the job, and have not once regretted my decision to leave retail and go into nursing.  I love every aspect of ICU nursing, from caring for the patients to visiting with their families and trying to make them as comfortable as possible.  I also never dreamed that one day I would hold a master’s degree!”

Hulsey has continued to work at MMH since that first day in June of 2015, except for a brief, 6-month, stint has a case manager working for Hospice of Midland.  In 2018, she served as a temporary nurse house supervisor at MMH.  She said that experience opened her eyes to hospital administration and made her decide to go back to school to obtain a bachelor’s degree.  In April 2019, she was promoted to the position as nighttime nurse manager in the Critical Care Unit, and in March 2020, she completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

“I received my bachelor’s degree from Grand Canyon University right at the beginning of the COVID pandemic,” she said.  “During the height of the pandemic, the hospital had 48 ICU beds, including the regular 5th floor critical care unit, the 8th floor where the Total Joint Center is located (because no one was having elective surgery to have joint replacements) and four beds on the first floor in the Emergency Department.  We eventually even had beds on the 9th floor of the hospital.  There were 24 critical care nurses assigned to every shift, including FEMA nurses, travel nurses and state nurses.  I was one of a team of four nurse managers.  Even though it was grueling, I saw amazing nursing care during this time, and I’m proud to have been a part of the critical care team during the pandemic.”

In April 2022, once the COVID pandemic had somewhat subsided, and a sense of normalcy had returned to the hospital, Hulsey again enrolled in Grand Canyon University, this time working toward a Master’s of Science degree in Nurse Administration, which she obtained in November 2023.  While she was working on both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, she continued to work fulltime at MMH.  

Today, Hulsey is a licensed Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) and is the only Critical Care Nurse Manager at Midland Memorial Hospital.  As such, she is responsible for overseeing operations of 55 nurses and 8 ancillary staff.  

Her husband Tim is retired from the Midland County Sheriff’s department and now works as inventory manager for a directional drilling company.  Her two daughters, Makenzie, age 23, and Hannah, age 20, live in San Antonio and are following in their mother’s footsteps attending nursing school through Alamo Colleges District.  Her son Cason, age 17, graduated a year early from Midland High School and works in the oil and gas industry.  Tanta and Tim raise Brahman cattle on family property near Coleman, Texas, but they also enjoy traveling.

“Now that our children are grown and I’m not spending all my free time studying, Tim and I spend our vacation time going to places we never had a chance to visit,” Hulsey said.  “I have lived on the same street in Midland County my entire life and never ventured far from home.  Believe it or not, I had never been to Las Vegas until just about a year ago, and we plan to go back with our entire family in December.  Tim and I also have recently been to Cozumel and Jamaica, and our entire family spent a week in South Padre.  Other trips have included renting an Air B&B in Terlingua and rafting on the Guadalupe River with friends I met when I was in the nursing program at Midland College.  

“I’m somewhat of a workaholic, but I’ve learned that it’s good to take time off and ‘unwind.’  In fact, I try to take a week off every quarter to either travel or get home projects done.

“Life is good.  I’m enjoying the career I always dreamed of having, and I’m able to spend quality time with family and friends.  It doesn’t get much better than that.”

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