by Natalie Shultz
Nurse, Australian Shepherd trainer, combat medic, motorcyclist, 1996 Olympic taekwondo team member, and Indiana Wesleyan University alum. These are just a few of the many titles LaTinaStover holds. “I’ve always lived by the motto: never say no to an opportunity,” said Stover.
LaTina Stover currently resides on a quiet ranch in Call, Texas, with her husband, horses and dogs. Though her home life is quiet, her work life has been anything but that.
Before she entered her teenage years, Stover began training for the Olympic taekwondo team. “My whole childhood was about training. I trained for the Olympics from the age of 12 all the way up to my last fight when I was 23 years old,” said Stover. During those nine years, she had the opportunity to fight internationally and even received a gold medal in Spain.
Throughout Stover’s life, this “training” mindset continued to drive her career choices.
For as long as she can remember, she wanted to join the police force. Working toward a degree in law enforcement, Stover applied for many jobs, but quickly learned that becoming a police officer as a female is no easy feat. Time and time again, Stover would get to the last step in the hiring process and then be turned down, which left her feeling defeated.
Her passion for law enforcement persisted, but Stover decided to pivot her career trajectory in a new direction. In June of 2005, she joined the military. This process was just as long and difficult, but if training had taught Stover anything, it’s that diligence, patience, and hard work pays off in the end.
First, she tried to get on active duty and join the Marines, explaining to the recruiters that she wanted to be a military police officer (MP) or a medic. Unfortunately, they said they weren’t looking for either, so they sent her over to the Navy—the branch that supplies medicine. The Navy told Stover they didn’t need medics at that time, so she tried the Air Force. Waiting months for an answer, she reached out to her original taekwondo instructor, Sahyun (Master) Bob Lawrence, feeling frustrated and at a loss. Lawrence asked her, “Why don’t you try the National Guard?” Not knowing anything about the National Guard, Stover looked into it and decided this was the perfect fit for her and her family.
After speaking with the Sergeant First Class, Stover got in right away, and swore in as an MP. But, just like every other time she tried to become a police officer, they ended up turning her down from the position. At this point, for Stover, it was starting to feel like law enforcement just wasn’t meant to be.
“So, I shifted gears and that shoved me into the medical realm. I became a combat medic, and I love it. I just love taking care of people—it’s natural for me,” said Stover.
At the time, Stover was already an EMT-B, so becoming a combat medic in the National Guard was an easy transition. In 2007, she deployed to the Middle East.
When she came back home, Stover entered into full time military working for The Adjunct General for the state of Illinois on the guard side of the house. She also had another opportunity to move on and become a correctional officer—finally dipping her feet into the world of law enforcement. This gave her a renewed desire to apply again for police officer positions. While filling out police officer applications, Stover was also applying to nursing schools.
Finally, Stover received the opportunity she had been waiting on for years: a call from the chief of their local law enforcement agency offering her the job as a police officer. Although she wanted to tell them yes immediately, she knew she still had to talk things over with her husband.Within a few hours after receiving the call, she received another important call. This time it wasfrom the admissions team at Richland Community College in Decatur, Illinois, telling her she was accepted into their Associate in Nursing (ADN) program. Stover had a tough choice to make.
“The Lord put me at a crossroads again, and here we are choosing right or left. I went to the right and I love it. I love being a nurse and helping people,” said Stover.
At the end of her time at Richland, Stover knew she wanted to continue her nursing education and pursue a bachelor’s degree. However, she needed to find a university that fulfilled threepersonal requirements: A (1) military friendly school, that (2) offered an online program and (3) would work with the credits she received from Richland Community college. She heard about Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) because of the nursing partnership the two universities had at the time and decided to look into the school.
Offering military benefits, a flexible online learning format, and partnering with Richland for clinical credits, IWU fulfilled all three. Stover made up her mind on the spot.
“Being online and being able to easily get a hold of my instructors was so convenient,” said Stover. “Indiana Wesleyan University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program equipped me for my civilian career as an ER nurse. I learned so much about research and evidence-based practice, and my salary doubled after I earned this degree.”
Today, Stover is an ER nurse at Houston Methodist Hospital and deployed for the Middle East at the beginning of November to serve as a combat medic. Although her original dream was becoming a police officer, situation after situation led her back to the medical field, and she knows this is where she’s meant to be.
Indiana Wesleyan University’s RN to BSN Program
Heal bodies. Impact lives. With IWU’s RN to BSN program, you can turn your licensure into a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Our highly qualified faculty have real-world, professional nursing experience that can help you advance your career and provide exceptional care. We’ll take you above and beyond to not only help heal bodies but change lives, too.
- Small classes, individualized attention
- Military friendly
- Courses are taken one at a time, and the degree can be completed in approximately 15 months
- Fast track and standard track options available
- Available fully online or onsite at select education centers throughout Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio
- Your professors will share their knowledge and expertise from the field with you
- Flexible online learning format – access the classroom from wherever you are
- Resources to help you succeed and excel, from tech support to tutoring
- Tuition guarantee lets you lock in your tuition cost at the beginning of your program
Indiana Wesleyan University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), www.hlcommission.org, 312-263-0456. Other accreditations and associations of Indiana Wesleyan University are available at www.indwes.edu/about/iwu-profile/accreditation.
The baccalaureate degree programs in nursing at Indiana Wesleyan University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, (http://www.ccneaccreditation.org).