MOUNT OLIVE — Donna Tober’s life has been a series of triumphs and challenges. These culminated in her decision to return to college at the age of 44 to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.
Among Tober’s motivations for making this decision was her desire to be able to add more tools to her career toolbox in addition to her passion for caring for others. Having earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology earlier in her life, Tober enrolled in the BSN pre-licensure program at the University of Mount Olive in the fall of 2022. She decided to enroll in the night-track program in order to balance her work, family and school lives, and she is looking forward to graduating soon.
Having become a newly-single mother of two preteen girls, she decided to move from Indiana to North Carolina in an effort to be close to her family, which she felt was a much-needed support system for her at that time. Although Tober had previously worked in social services, she decided to explore what she was meant to do with her life and began to rebuild.
“To be honest, it wasn’t until I became an admissions director for a skilled nursing facility that I discovered my passion for long-term care,” Tober said. “Networking with various medical and administrative professionals, I knew I wanted to pursue my administrator’s license three years ago. As a long-term care professional, I found the assisted living side to be particularly rewarding and fulfilling because it provided an opportunity to help people in need. However, I realized that going back to school for an RN license would enhance my role as an administrator and provide me with more career options to serve people in new ways.”
For Tober, inspiring her staff and the next generation of nurses is her ultimate goal. When asked how the people closest to her would describe her, Tober mentioned that they came up with several descriptors. These included reserved but watchful, never giving up, likes to help, intelligent, helpful with advice, a skilled cook and a caring person.
Tober says her late grandmother, Thelma Davis, is one of the most inspirational people in her life. Davis was a single mother with only an elementary education, but she was one of the most intelligent ladies Tober had ever met. Davis knew what to say or not to say, and her life was a testament to her resilience and determination.
Tober’s pursuit of her nursing degree is transforming her life and enabling her to enhance her capacity to care for others. “I feel like the nursing profession runs in my blood, given my family’s long history of healthcare work and caregiving. My job experiences and current position are a testament to my dedication to providing care for others and advocating for long-term care,” she said.
Through her studies at UMO, Tober is not only honing her nursing skills but also following in her family’s footsteps to make a positive impact in the healthcare industry. Throughout Tober’s story, there is resilience, determination, hard work and a passion for improving the lives of others. In preparing to graduate from UMO and continue working in long-term care, she hopes to encourage others to follow their passions and pursue their dreams.
— From University of Mount Olive Public Relations, by student intern Grayson Morgan