The associate professor at La Salle University graduated from the school's Master of Business Administration with a Management Specialization online program in December 2019.
"My husband, Bill, is going to retire in the next 3-5 years," she said. "He's a little bit older than I am, so whether it's a clinical practice, teaching or a combination of both, I'll be doing that for the next 15 years or so.
"If I went straight into clinical practice to have my own small clinic, I wanted to have the tools that I needed. If I ever decide to come out of the classroom and want to go into an administration role, the MBA would definitely facilitate that."
Dr. Tait arrived at La Salle in August 2015. She teaches Pharmacology and Pathophysiology and has served on several faculty committees.
Prior to that, she was an instructor and part-time administrator for seven years at Lakeview College of Nursing in her hometown of Danville, Illinois.
"I had no business background," she said. "I suddenly had to deal with budgets, which I had never done. I was the person right below the dean of the school. If she was not available, there were all kinds of things I needed to deal with. I was ill-prepared.
"I went from a small, private institution to a university setting. There was a learning curve. I went from one type of academic setting to another as a faculty member. There were a lot of things I didn't understand because of the nature of higher education."
So, Dr. Tait enrolled in the MBA with a Management Specialization hybrid program. The school worked with her to facilitate a one-time switch to the fully online format to finish the final three terms.
Dr. Tait's decision to pursue nursing came from following in the footsteps of her cousin, Dawn Haxton. Although they were about 10 years apart in age, they were close friends.
"That was way back in the day when nurses wore white uniforms and caps," she said. "I was always fascinated by the way she dressed to go to work. I genuinely like to help people, and I like science. It seemed natural for me to go into nursing."
Along the way, Dr. Tait laid a solid educational foundation by earning a bachelor's degree from Lakeview College of Nursing (1999), a master's degree from Indiana State University (2008) and a doctoral degree from Capella University (2014).
"I remember being in nursing school a long time ago and saying that I would never go back to school and was never going to teach," she said. "It wasn't for me."
But when Lakeview College of Nursing needed to fill faculty vacancies a few months before Dr. Tait completed her master's degree, she agreed to pitch in for a semester. It turned into a full-time gig.
"I ended up loving it," she said. "Just because you're a nurse doesn't mean you're a good teacher. That's why I pursed my Ph.D. in nursing education. I felt like what I was doing in the classroom needed to be grounded in some sort of theory and framework for education."
MBA 840: Frameworks for Socially Responsible Decision Making, taught by Dr. Karen Reardon, was Dr. Tait's favorite course in the program curriculum, but she expected it to be her least favorite.
"When I started the class, I loved it," she said. "One of the pieces I use currently in dealing with students, peers and my family, was when Dr. Reardon taught us how to stand outside of the box, look down and take a bird's eye view of everyone's opinion.
"We all participated in a mediation. That communication and whole way of thinking helped me to make different decisions. I don't rush to make decisions as much as I used to."
Since the pandemic came to the United States, Dr. Tait has gone from online student to online teacher at La Salle, gaining a rare perspective from both sides of the table.
"Prior to us going strictly online, I used a lot of technology and prepared all of my lessons online," she said. "I have been doing that for a year.
"I wouldn't say it was hybrid, because my students had to attend class every week, but we did all kinds of active learning when we were together, instead of the traditional lecture. It was blended for me, even though we met face to face."
Dr. Tait had a lot of encouragement from her family and friends during her time in the online MBA in Management program — especially from her husband and four grown sons — Brandon, Brock, Brady and Bryce.
"I've been in school for a while, although I took a little break," she said. "When I got my doctorate, they thought I was finished. I kind of thought I was, too.
"I am always wanting to learn. I want to make sure I have all of my tools in the toolbox, depending on where I end up in the next five years or so."
It didn't take Dr. Tait long to find the advantages of studying fully online.
"At one point, I had to travel out of the country," she said. "I communicated that, and the professors were great about making sure with the time change that I could still access my exams. They are organized, and they expect you to be organized.
"The faculty is knowledgeable and has extensive expertise throughout the business program. You definitely get a lot of value out of the program at La Salle, which is flexible and organized."
No matter which direction Dr. Tait goes in the future, she believes having a business degree on top of her nursing education could be a game-changer.
"The MBA will continue to open opportunities," she said. "When people hear that you're a nurse, they automatically assume you're working in a hospital or a clinic.
"Nurses have so much more autonomy and opportunity now in the business world and legislation. There are so many different avenues you can pursue as a nurse. Having that business background will help if I ever leave academia."
Dr. Tait was already a proud member of the La Salle faculty, but now she is a proud alumna.
"It was nice to come to a university setting that values education the way that La Salle does," she said. "It doesn't matter if you're being taught online or in a hybrid format. The faculty is just as accessible and treats you the same. That was refreshing."
Learn more about the La Salle MBA with a Management Specialization online program.
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