Burke finds her calling right at home

By Dan Fagan
University Communications

MINOT, N.D. – For Tanya Burke the best part of her day is helping others, that is, helping others all day.

Burke has worked as a radiation therapist at Trinity Health in Minot for 19 years, and she is as passionate about her job today as she was the day she started.

A health careers class in high school convinced Burke that healthcare was where she belonged. She initially studied physical therapy at the University of North Dakota, but after one semester transferred to Minot State and changed her major to radiologic technology.

After two years of general studies, Burke entered Minot State’s radiology program in partnership with Trinity Health. The two-year program, which merges classroom study with hands-on clinical training, proved to be the ideal learning environment for Burke.

“It was amazing,” Burke said. “I’m a hands-on person, and I would learn something in class and then get to apply it in a clinical environment.”

The program exposed Burke to the various departments of radiology at Trinity Health. Ultimately she decided to specialize in radiation therapy, which required an extra year of study at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Upon completion of her time at the Mayo Clinic, Burke entered the job market and found that her hard work had paid off. There was a national demand for radiation therapists.

“I could randomly point at a map and that place would have a job opening,” Burke recalled.

With her pick of almost any city in the country, Burke decided to return home to Minot and take a job with Trinity Health.

“I had to jump in with both feet,” Burke said. “There was only one other radiation therapist, but with my education and training I felt more than capable.”

A typical day for Burke, entails running quality assurance on all equipment and then treating patients. It’s a fast-paced environment in which Burke sees a new patient about every 15 minutes.

“The most rewarding part of my job is the patients,” Burke said. “Just being there for them and helping them means so much, and they are so thankful. It’s taught me to treat everyone kindly, not just at work but also in my day-to-day interactions, because you never know what people are going through.”

Burke’s kindness and commitment for her job have not gone unnoticed. This past August, Burke received the Radiation Therapy Empower Award. This national award is given to cancer care professionals who provide outstanding care for patients and their families.

In her spare time, Burke enjoys running and spending time with her husband, Derrick, and their two daughters.

“My biggest takeaway from all of this is I grew up in Minot, went to Minot High, then Minot State, and have a great job here,” Burke said. “You can get a great education right here at home.”

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 10/01/19   

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