So what have I been up to since the dreaded CPNE which led to the dreaded NCLEX waitfest which led to the Colorado RN licensing extravaganza....??
Oh you know just keeping on with the glutton for punishment theme. I have migrated myself to WGU, Western Governors University to pursue my goals of getting my BSN and now MSN.
A little synopsis. I researched every school known to man prior to jumping into my BSN after being burned by Excelsior. I surely wasn't making the same mistake again! I wanted to push through and get that BSN at a minimum because I knew as life went on it'd be more critical to work and I'd also find more and more reasons to postpone the idea. I am a professional procrastinator of course. Western Governors University ended up being my top choice for a few reasons.
1. Work at your OWN pace. Not a "pretend" work at your own pace but a REAL work at your own pace place! It really is, I can attest to that now.
2. Cheap. I mean I hate to say put it that way but a degree on the cheap sounded appealing especially when I was **thisclose** to signing up with Regis University for the exact same degree in which I'd pay triple the money (and couldn't work at my own pace).
It was a pretty simple choice after some investigating. I also really liked the idea of a "flat fee" cost scenario versus a pay by the credit hour scenario which is common at almost every other university out there. More bang for your buck I guess should you choose to take advantage of it.
I completed my BSN with WGU in 3 months for a flat fee of one term/6 mos which put me out about $3500.
I had 38 competency units to complete which was 16 classes.
I spent the first 3 months of my 6 month term laying my Dad to rest doing zero work for obvious reasons. I spent the last 3 months actually completing the work.
It was not the hardest thing I've ever done, the CPNE was. The BSN just took dedication and determination. It was more drudgery than difficulty.
The common questions/concerns...
Will my Excelsior nursing credits transfer in?
The short answer is yes. All of my prior credit transferred in with no problems. You receive a block of credit for your RN license and they evaluate each additional course from there. If there are courses that do not apply to the BSN curriculum you will be required to take/re-take those courses. DON'T freak out about this. Even if you end up with an additional class or few remember they are not extra costs, they are built into your term, typically you fly through these classes in a couple weeks each. You have to remind yourself this doesn't work like a traditional college where each additional course is an additional 3 credit hours to complete and pay for which pushes you into one semester after another.
What about Nutrition?
EVERYONE is required to retake nutrition. WGU has their own "version" that they want you to have, no amount of bellyaching to admission will change this. I had 3 different versions and none of them were good so I had to retake it too. It wasn't a big deal. At. All.
You have to take Statistics?!?OMG?
Yes. yes you do, unless you have it within the last 5 years. I had it but it was past 5 years and I flipped out about stats. I thought it was going to be HELL. It wasn't. Their version of statistics is how the information applies to nursing concepts and nursing management. There is no math. You don't need a graphing calculator you don't complete math equations. Stats is simply an overview of what information can be gathered USING statistical measurements, what those types of measurements are called, and how they apply to healthcare. So woosah the stats.
Will the pass/fail 3.0 gpa ruin my future plans?
Since it is a competency based program you either pass or fail, there are no A's B's or C's. Therefore the maximum gpa for completion is a 3.0. Many people flip out thinking this will RUIN their chances of future schooling, entrance into NP programs, blah blah. I can tell you since I was a tad skeptical myself that I finally researched said future schooling and NP programs. I looked at them ALL. All of the ones I investigated required ONLY a 3.0 gpa. And this includes prestigious universities like Duke, Johns Hopkins, Columbia, etc.
Check it out for yourself
If you are concerned with being competitive in such a program you can simply take additional coursework through a local university to boost your gpa or take the GRE. Don't fret about the gpa thing, it is truly a non issue. I have spoken with more than a handful of folks who completed the program who are actively enrolled in various FNP programs around the country with no issue.
How quickly can you complete the program?
I was told at admission that the average time to complete WGU's RN to BSN program was 18 months, aka 3 terms. There are dozens of us who have done it much quicker obviously but there are many many more that don't. You have to evaluate your own personal strength as a student, a distance learning student to make that assumption. Keep in mind there is zero hand holding with the program, if you do not succeed by teaching yourself information this may not be the program for you.
Should I do the BSN or just go for the MSN?
This is a highly personal choice. This is also somewhat dependent on the current curriculum as it frequently changes here and there, nothing major but there are changes. I did the BSN and figured if I wanted to later I could do the MSN but didn't want to jump all in right off the bat. That was a dumb decision, I should've just done the MSN. Here is why- I ended up going right into the MSN program anyway and I could've saved myself 5 classes if I'd done it straight thru. You end up repeating some courses with minor tweaking when you do it in a two step process, on top of that there are a couple of classes you are required to do for the BSN that you don't have to do if you go straight MSN. The beauty is you can stop at your BSN if you choose to. You can get your BSN degree once you finish that coursework and quit if you really want to, you don't have to wait until the end of the MSN program. This is definitely the way to go in my opinion.
So if you're considering pushing on to another set of letters behind your name I can't recommend WGU enough. I liked it enough to move forward with my MSN. It delivered as promised and was truly self paced, it was easy to navigate, the support I received was fine, and once again it was CHEAP.
For more info on my tips for completing your degree in a single term along with other WGU posts head over here.
***Disclaimer, I am NOT affiliated with WGU, I don't work for them or get compensation from them for saying any of this... incase you were wondering ***