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Tina Cox overcame adversity to earn a nursing degree at St. Charles Community College, which helped to open doors to a new career and more educational opportunities.
Photo: St. Charles Community College
For Tina Cox, a perinatal clinical nurse specialist with the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps, St. Charles Community College (SCC) in Missouri gave her the tools and confidence for a new career—and life—when she needed them in the early 1990s.
Then a divorced, single mom in her 20s with four part-time jobs, including one at a local 7-Eleven store, Cox realized that she couldn’t keep up the pace and wanted more for her family. She decided to pursue a nursing career like her mom, and enrolled in SCC’s nursing program.
“I couldn’t afford a four-year program, and the college provided me with a stair step to the bachelor’s degree required by the Navy,” said Cox, who also serves as division officer for the immunization and administration clinics for recruit training at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center. “SCC definitely opens a door that otherwise might not be available for many to step through.”
After earning an associate degree in 1993 and passing the license exam, she was able to get a job as a registered nurse while also pursuing a bachelor’s degree.
Graduating students take to the stage and podium
Upon receiving her bachelor of science degree in nursing from Webster University (Missouri) in 1995, Cox joined the U.S. Navy, like her dad and others in her family. She worked in many areas of nursing and her Navy career took her to Rhode Island, Florida, California and Virginia, as well as Kuwait, where she was charge nurse for a tent hospital, and then to Okinawa, Japan, where she served as department head for labor and delivery/postpartum.
While serving, she earned two master’s degrees, one in nursing from University of Illinois-Chicago in 2007 and another in healthcare administration from Troy University (Alabama) in 2009.
Earlier this month, Cox received SCC’s 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award during the college’s spring commencement ceremony. The latest honor will join her myriad awards, including a Navy Commendation Medal, three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals and two National Defense Service Medals.
Cox is also founder and co-chair for the Military Virtual Affiliate of the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists, and currently works with Mosby’s Nursing Skills online as a clinical expert for its maternal-child section.
Copyright ©2012 American Association of Community Colleges