A day in the life of a nurse can be both overwhelming and rewarding at the same time. A typical day might involve caring for a patient before, during, and after surgery, learning about new medications, and communicating with staff at every level. Add the stress of higher education standards in the nursing profession, and it’s easy to understand why nurses often find it challenging to live a balanced lifestyle. For busy nurses like Carla Lundeen and Lori Kenyon, fitting education into their hectic schedules would be a challenge in a traditional campus or online setting. Instead, nurses in Wisconsin and Illinois are finding the self-paced UW Flexible Option a welcome solution.
Carla Lundeen never imagined she’d need to find a way to go back to school for nursing—again. But like many nurses in Wisconsin and around the nation, Carla found herself caught between the way nursing education used to be and new expectations that are affecting nursing students, jobseekers and employed nurses alike.
Employers have started requiring nurses to have a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. It’s not just limited to new hires, either; more and more large employers are requiring nursing staff to upgrade their education, too.
According to the Wisconsin 2014 RN Workforce Survey, only 46 percent of nurses in Wisconsin currently hold a BSN. And while employers are calling for higher educational standards nationwide, Wisconsin, like many states, faces a dangerous deficit in qualified nurses. The state’s workforce could be nearly 20,000 nurses short by 2035.
It’s a combination that’s likely to create incredible employment opportunities for experienced, well-educated nurses. But for busy men and women who often balance a complex work schedule with raising a family, going back to school to further their nursing education is challenging.
“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,” says Carla, “But, when you’re working full time, have a family, life is busy and unpredictable.” And that can make taking classes on a set schedule difficult.
Like Carla, Lori Kenyon struggled to find a way to get the BSN she needed. Her options were limited, Lori knew, because campus and online courses with regular class schedules would never work. “My work hours fluctuated between days and nights. I needed something that was flexible enough to work with my life.”
Luckily, both nurses found the UW Flexible Option. The name is apt. Designed to give adult learners more control over the learning experience than the typical degree program, the UW Flexible Option is built around 3-month subscription periods that students can begin at the start of month—whenever it’s convenient for them.
But that’s not the only innovation. Students prove their mastery of the curriculum by completing competency area skills assessments, not time spent in class. They also progress at their own pace with the support of Academic Success Coaches who help students devise a learning plan, contact instructors and stay on track to earn the same highly-regarded UW-Milwaukee BSN degree others get on campus or “the traditional way.”
The UW Flexible Option doesn’t ask nurses to fit their life around a semester schedule. It’s an outstanding and innovative education that they can shape to fit their lives. Learn more about Carla’s and Lori’s stories on our blog.
To find out more about the UW Flexible Option RN to BSN online program and whether this competency-based education option is a good fit for you, call a friendly enrollment adviser today at 1-877-895-3276 or email at email@example.com.