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Deb Chyka

With her family at a concert in Nashville. Front row, left to right: daughter Katherine Chyka, Deb Chyka, daughter Erika Griggs. Back row, left to right: husband Peter Chyka, son Paul Chyka, daughter-in-law Chloe Chyka, son-in-law Drew Griggs.

Clinical Assistant Professor Deb Chyka teaches undergraduate programs in the College of Nursing. At UT since 2007, she is the coordinator for the pediatrics course for senior nursing students. She is active with the Student Nurses Association and helps students get experience in the pediatric field. Her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing, as well as her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, are all from UT Health Science Center in Memphis.

Why nursing

“I have always been a service-minded person, even as a school-age child. I wanted to help people and make things better, so nursing was the obvious choice.”

Chyka in 1981 after graduating from UTHSC College of Nursing.

Advice to her college-age self

“Pursue what makes you happy; if it brings joy to your heart then you have chosen the right path,” she said. “I can say without a doubt after 40 years of being a nurse, I am passionate about my work.”

Outside interests

“It all revolves around my husband, my three children, their spouses, and my soon-to-be grandson,” she said. She loves spending time with her family and said they are incredibly close. “We go on trips together, we cook together, go to movies together.”


“I love The Sound of Music.” She said she still remembers singing along to the songs with her friends in grade school.

Favorite pastimes

A bit of an adrenaline junkie, she loves cliff jumping at the lake, riding fast roller coasters, and driving “just a little too fast.” She’s also traveled extensively in the United States. The varied geography of Arizona makes it one of her favorite states to visit. “It’s hard to believe that there are all of these different landscapes in just one country,” she said. 

To unwind from the day

“I enjoy playing solitaire and mahjong and a nice glass of a red blend.”

Still on her bucket list

“I’d kind of like to bungee jump or go skydiving, although my family doesn’t know that.” Also, she said, “I would love to see the Great Wall of China.”

Most people don’t know

“I worry too much about what people think about me.”