Self-motivation, organization, and a little flexibility can go a long way when it comes to earning your degree. Carla Lundeen knows this firsthand. Thanks to the self-paced, online University of Wisconsin Flexible Option’s RN to BSN program, Lundeen was able to return to school and is now well on her way to completing her bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN).
BSN critical to future success
“I started in February and my goal is to finish in 15 months,” Lundeen says. “So summer of 2015.”
Lundeen already has a bachelor’s degree—but not in the field in which she’s worked for decades. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history and English from UW-La Crosse. But it was a job during college that helped her discover her passion.
“The plan was to attend law school, but during college, I started working as a nursing assistant and loved it,” Lundeen says. “That’s what prompted me to eventually pursue nursing.”
Lundeen landed a job at a nursing home after graduation and later moved to Gunderson Hospital before settling in at Western Wisconsin Cares. She currently serves as a clinical coordinator focusing on member rights and quality control. Along the way, Lundeen also earned her associate degree in nursing from Western Technical College. As her career progressed, she became convinced that a BSN would be critical to future success.
“With the trend in nursing right now, if I were ever to move out of the state or even change institutions, I would need a BSN to be competitive in the hiring process.”
“With the trend in nursing right now, if I were ever to move out of the state or even change institutions, I would need a BSN to be competitive in the hiring process,” Lundeen says. “But, just as important, I also wanted to increase my knowledge and understanding of nursing to be a greater asset to my current employer.”
An RN to BSN program for an already hectic life
Finding the right program to complete her BSN took time. Lundeen considered several online and on-campus options, but when a notice about Flex was sent out through her human resources department, Lundeen says it was the perfect timing, and the perfect option to fit her already hectic life.
“When you’re working full time, have a family, life is busy and unpredictable,” Lundeen says. “Flex gives me the ability to get home from work, get the family settled, and then I can focus on my school. I appreciate having the independence to create the structure that I need in order to be successful in my courses.”
Through her competency-based RN to BSN program, Lundeen says she’s improved her skill sets and understanding in just a short time. She credits a structure that allows her to use her current knowledge to assess what she knows—and what she needs to focus on.
“Flex gives me the ability to get home from work, get the family settled, and then I can focus on my school.”
“One of the great things when you earn your nursing degree is that you acquire great clinical abstract knowledge, and the practical application pieces come from experience,” Lundeen says. “I’ve gained a lot of knowledge on the job. That’s valuable because Flex lets you earn credit for what you know. It doesn’t matter where, when, or how you learned it. As long as you can prove it and use it to complete your assessments, you can use it to move ahead.”
In addition to the independence Flex provides, Lundeen says she’s also come to appreciate the Academic Success Coaches.
“It’s one of the most amazing parts of this program. As motivated as I am, there are still times I encounter things that I’m just not sure about,” Lundeen notes. “All I have to do is send my coach [Kristin Hoffmann] an email or chat with her about what the issue might be, and it gets worked through. It’s just so helpful having that one person you can always contact.”
Along with the time commitments and need for the right program, Lundeen says affordability was a key factor in her decision to pursue Flex. “Compared to other options, it’s pretty affordable. It’s a good deal in terms of taking on as much as you’re willing, without all the ‘extras’ of traditional campus courses,” Lundeen notes. “You really get a good return on investment.”
A gratifying challenge
“You really get a good return on investment.”
As she continues to work toward her goal of a BSN, Lundeen says she’s got a lot to be grateful for: the right RN to BSN program at the right time, Academic Success Coaches with helpful answers, and, she says, herself.
“I must say, I’m proud of myself. It’s fulfilling to see my accomplishments. If you think about going back to school after so long, even as someone with a bachelor’s and associate degree, it’s still unnerving,” Lundeen says. “I would encourage anyone looking to go back to school to consider Flex. If you’re ready to take the challenge, you’re set up for success in this program.”
To find out more about the UW Flexible Option and whether this competency-based education option is a good fit for you, call a friendly enrollment adviser today at 1-877-895-3276.
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