Nursing Alumna Spotlight: Tatiana Lozada

2008 graduate served as RN during peak of COVID-19 pandemic

Venezuela-born Tatiana Lozada, 47, graduated from Dakota County Technical College in 2008 with her Practical Nursing diploma. Tatiana credits Patrick Lair, the college’s admissions director at the time, for encouraging her to enroll in the Practical Nursing program.

Tatiana in DCTC Student Life 2010

“Patrick provided immense support for me during my time at DCTC,” she said. “The college was amazing to me—instructors, administration and support staff made me feel valued!”

Tatiana continued her education at DCTC, completing a number of nursing prerequisite courses before going on to earn her Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) from Rasmussen College in 2018.

Bilingual in Spanish and English, Tatiana worked for nearly seven years as a family medicine volunteer nurse and interpreter at Saint Mary’s Health Clinic. She went on to serve as a long-term care nurse at the Edina Care Center and a telehealth nurse at Medtronic before working for seven years as a healthcare professional interpreter at Garden and Associates.

More about the Practical Nursing program at DCTC…

As a graduate of the Practical Nursing program at DCTC, you will be equipped with the knowledge and skill set to administer safe, ethical, patient-centered nursing care in traditional and alternative health care settings.

The Practical Nurse (PN) role within the nursing process is taught through classroom learning, simulated client care, and instructor-supervised clinical experiences in health care settings.

Employment in this field typically requires successful completion of the NCLEX-PN licensing exam.


The mission of the Dakota County Technical College Practical Nursing program is to provide a program of theory and practice in a supportive environment in which students will develop knowledge, skills and behavior essential for success as a licensed practical nurse.


The Dakota County Technical College Practical Nursing program believes that Practical Nursing is grounded in the biological, psychological, sociological, and spiritual sciences practiced under the supervision of a registered nurse or other qualified health care professional. Nursing is devoted to promoting, maintaining, and restoring the health of individuals as well as promoting a peaceful, dignified death.


More about Tatiana’s nursing career…

Tatiana at Southside

In 2018, Tatiana began working full-time as a registered nurse (RN) at Southside Community Health Clinic in Minneapolis where she served a diverse, predominantly low-income, vulnerable and mostly uninsured community. She relied on her fluency in Spanish every day on the job.

Tatiana excels at therapeutic communication and telehealth management. Her skill as a clinician and aptitude for community service have helped her navigate adversities brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic hit our patients particularly hard,” she said. “At first, people were extremely stressed and afraid due to the uncertainty about the virus and limited PPE. That was a very, very difficult time for everyone, but things are better now.”

Tatiana’s clinic stepped up to establish protocols for COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing both indoors and outdoors. Tatiana established and led protocols for COVID-19 vaccinations that adhered to Minnesota Department of Health requirements, turning Southside into the leading clinic among Federally Qualified Health Centers (FHQC) in Minnesota.

She also organized and led a community-outreach event that provided COVID-19 vaccines to 100 eligible patients outside of clinic hours at Sabathani Community Center in South Minneapolis.

Only blocks away from Cup Foods, Southside Community Clinic never closed during the protests following the death of George Floyd.

“We had to deal with drifting smoke and potential danger,” Tatiana recalled, “but we stayed open for our patients.”

Tatiana’s last day at Southside was June 18, 2021.

“The clinic and the community are now stable,” she related. “I was ready to move on to the next step in my nursing career. I am starting a new position at M Health Fairview where I will be able to work remotely from home. The job is part-time, which means I will be able to go back to school and finish my BSN online.”

Harold Torrence: DCTC faculty perspective…

“I had the pleasure of meeting Tatiana over the phone when she was one of the first presidents of the Multicultural Student Leadership Association (MSLA). She was organizing Dakota County Technical College’s Multicultural Celebration in spring 2006.

Harold Torrence, EdD

“It was a hilarious conversation because my name, Harold Torrence, sounds more like an Anglo than a Latino name. Tatiana started speaking in English to me, wondering about my abilities as a musician since she was inquiring about me playing at the celebration.

“At the time, I was starting my new position as faculty in the college’s Business department. I somehow saw the caller ID with the name of Luis Lozada, and Tatiana said she was from Valencia, Venezuela, which is where I am from.

“Suddenly, I asked her if she was married to Luis Lozada from El Trigal, Valencia. She started asking how in the world I knew that. I don’t know why I asked it; it was a rather subconscious question.

“Tatiana started screaming in disbelief that I was a childhood friend of Luis. That’s when our friendship started, and soon learned about Tatiana’s authentic desire to lead and help our campus community celebrate our rich cultural diversity that today continues to grow even more.

“Tatiana’s story is the story of many immigrants who come to our nation to contribute to the fiber of America. Tatiana was changing her career from being a student of law in Venezuela to becoming a healthcare professional.

“I am sure Tatiana continues impacting so many lives as a registered nurse. We should all be proud of Tatiana’s accomplishments and consider ourselves lucky to have her as one our distinguished alumnae.”

Harold Torrence, EdD
Business Faculty
Dakota County Technical College

Leaving Venezuela…

Originally from Valencia, the third-largest city in Venezuela with a metro population topping 830,000, Tatiana attended law school at the University of Carabobo for three years with plans to become an attorney. Those plans changed in 1999 when her husband, Luis, traveled to the United States on a scholarship to pursue a master’s degree.

“I was twenty-six and pregnant with our second daughter, Sofia, at the time,” Tatiana said. “Leaving Venezuela was not easy. Venezuela is mine—such a paradise. I’m looking forward to the time when Venezuela rises again to become a strong, prosperous democracy with a beneficial influence on all of South America.”

Valencia, Venezuela

What do you miss most about Venezuela?

What immediately comes to mind is my EXTENDED FAMILY, and “the way we were” back then. My grandparents, their children, and their grandkids (including myself) were always together.

Now we are spread around the world, in other countries, with different languages and time zones. I only have memories of “the way we were,” which are safely stored in my soul. My five senses still miss Venezuela, even after 22 years.

The sound of the Caribbean Sea waves at night, soothing me to sleep in our beach house; I miss that!

The smell of cast iron-pan Arepas during breakfast at our ranch; I miss that!

The impromptu weekend gatherings with folk music and dancing at a friend’s/family’s house; I miss that!

The sunsets, the constant green mountains surrounding the city, and the Aragüaney at full blossom; I miss that!

The revitalizing taste of cold coconut water freshly poured from a machete cut-open coconut picked from a palm tree; I miss that!

The beauty of our land, the richness and diversity of our culture, the beat of our music, the comfort of our food, the passion of our people, the unconditional support of our family and friends; all this keeps pulling me back.

I love my two countries; the one that is giving me a home, while the one that birthed me finds its healing.

I have realized now that what once was a dream, is now my life, and what my life was, is now a dream.

Tatiana Lozada, RN
Practical Nursing Alumna
Dakota County Technical College

Valencia, Venezuela

Finding her nursing path at DCTC…

Tatiana: first day in scrubs at DCTC

Tatiana was an exceptionally engaged student at DCTC. She served as president of the Multicultural Student Leadership Association (MSLA) and vice president of Student Senate. She belonged Phi Theta Kappa, served as a guest speaker at the Latina Educational and Leadership Development Conference in 2008 and 2010, and performed as a manager/dancer with Sentir Venezolano, a Venezuelan folk music group. She made the President’s List in 2009 and 2010 and also received two $500 scholarships for academic excellence.

Tatiana’s family has a solid history working in the healthcare field—her parents are physicians and her grandfather served as a general surgeon. She made the switch from law to nursing after volunteering at health clinics in Minnesota.

“I saw nursing in action at the clinics,” Tatiana said. “I originally chose law as a way to help people in my country. I eventually realized nursing was the best way for me help someone directly and make a genuine, positive impact on our community. That’s the best part of my job as an RN. In a way, nursing chose me and not the other way around.”

More about Tatiana…

After graduating from DCTC and before attending Rasmussen, Tatiana and her family resided for four years in Danville, California, just outside San Francisco. On the downside, Tatiana did not take to life in California; on the upside, she got to watch the San Francisco Giants, one of her favorite MLB teams, play in two World Series, 2012 and 2014, at Oracle Park. She also received a $20,000 Buena Vista Scholarship, which helped pay for her RN schooling.


Tatiana and her husband, Luis, have been married 28 years. Luis works for the University of Minnesota as a purchasing operations manager in the Controller’s Office. Tatiana and Luis have two daughters, Gabriela, 28, who works for the Minnesota United as a public relations manager, and Sofia, 21, who is studying to be an elementary school teacher at Minnesota State University Mankato. The family recently lost a beloved 16-year-old tabby named Summer, who passed away last year.

When she’s not working, Tatiana enjoys Latin dance, yoga, and spending time with family and friends. She also loves being outdoors—especially around water, including rivers, oceans, lakes, anything with a beach.

Tatiana and her family reside in downtown Minneapolis.

Tatiana Lozada life gallery

Registered Nurses

Provide and coordinate patient care, and educate and support patients and families.

This very high-wage career pays well above the statewide median wage of $21.49/hour


Median: $38.16/hour
High: $45.62/hour

Seven-county Twin Cities metro

Median: $41.15/hour
High: $47.83/hour


In Minnesota, there are 71,000 workers employed in this large career. This career is currently in very high demand and seeing very high growth compared to other careers. Growth rate is 12.4 percent, which is well above the statewide average.

There will be a need for about 49,007 new Registered Nurses to meet market demand between 2018–2028. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.

Minnesota State CAREERwise Education

Tatiana Lozada Q & A

How did DCTC prepare you for your career?

DCTC offers great support to immigrant students. The college provides tutors for writing and math. Student organizations such as MSLA help immigrant students get acclimated to college life.

What is your strongest attribute as a nurse?

I never give up. If I feel a situation or condition is unfair or unjust, I won’t stop until I set things right. Advocating for my patients is my best attribute as a nurse.

What advice would you give students thinking about nursing as their career choice?

Nursing is the toughest schooling ever. The first thing you should do is get a study buddy or buddies to help you take on and manage the workload. The Nursing Boards are brutal—studying together can make all the difference.

Three words that describe you as a registered nurse:
How has your fluency in English and Spanish helped you in your work as a registered nurse?

I use Spanish all the time at work. I feel a stronger connection to my patients. I also have a better understanding of our shared cultural experiences.

What person has influenced you the most in life and why?

My grandfather, Miguel A. Malpica—I called him Papapa. He was a general surgeon at a free hospital, medical school professor and director of a community center. He often took me with him when he went places. He was humble, sweet and friendly to everyone. Losing him was very hard—he was everything to me. When he learned I was studying to be an RN, he said, “Finally, a nurse in the family.”

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

I see myself working as nurse—I love my job, staying healthy and enjoying life with my husband, Luis. I want to be a good mentor to others. I’m also looking forward to being a grandmother.

One word that best describes your experience at DCTC:


Tatiana Lozada 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Watching Major League Baseball—I’m a Giants and Twins fan, and physical activity, especially DANCE
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Anywhere with water—the Mediterranean Sea
  3. The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Watched the Giants in the 2012 and 2014 World Series; I went to every home game at Oracle Park.
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Pay off people’s student loans 2) Dedicate a lot of money to healthcare access and innovation 3) Travel, travel, travel
  5. Favorite TV show you’re watching now: Schitt’s Creek
  6. Best movie you’ve seen lately: Crash
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Have my daughters grow up to be healthy, good citizens who work for justice in society while helping other people be successful
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: Macaw
  9. Dream occupation: Standup comedian
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Simón Bolívar
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Playing the guitar
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Hate
Learn more about the Practical Nursing program at DCTC by contacting:

Renee LeMieux, MSN, RN, PHN
Director of Nursing/Faculty

Jonathan O’Hara
Academic and Financial Aid Advisor