(This post is NOT sponsored by Western Governor’s University. This post is solely related to my experience and opinions).
I found out about Western Governor’s University during my last clinical rotation at community college by my nursing instructor in 2014. She was a full advocate for associate degree programs but she also encouraged us to get experience under our belts and then transition into a BSN program as soon as we could. Although she did not know anybody who had went through the program, she did her research on it and felt as though this was a legitimate school that offered an affordable option to obtain your BSN and in a new approach to learning. In 2018, I decided to pull the trigger and enroll in the program.
One of the requirements for the school was that you needed to be an RN with an active, unencumbered license with at least 6 months of experience. Check! I crossed that off the requirement list so I went forward with the application process. The application was easy and they always are having deals to waive the application fee. I wanted to start ASAP and what I loved is that you can start any month! And the most attractive part of the program? It’s competency based! Oh, and it’s super affordable but I will touch on that later.
So what does that mean it’s competency based? In laments terms, it means that if you know the material from experience already, you do not need to suffer through an entire semester of a class if you can PROVE that you are competent in the subject. For example, my nursing career started in a nursing home so when I was presented with the Care of the Older Adult course, I reviewed some content that was presented and then I went on to take the pre-assessment which helps to determine if you will pass the actual assessment that will give you the passing grade. By creating courses that are competency based, it allows for you to move as quick as you would like to through a program because once you have proved your competent in your courses for the semester, then you can start to pull new courses from your next semester if you would like to complete those sooner, although you don’t have to if you don’t want.
So you might feel overwhelmed or scared of the thought that everything is online. Maybe you think you will fall behind or feel isolated because you don’t have anyone to ask questions too directly. Well fear not because throughout your entire program, you are assigned a mentor who will check in on your regularly to see how you are doing and assist in any issues that you may have. I had a wonderful mentor who called me weekly in the beginning and then went to bi-weekly the longer I was in the program. She had access to the scores of my tests so she was able to see if I passed or failed something and if I failed, she would give tips and advice on how to study the next time or even set me up with a tutor specifically in that subject. Being held accountable for my grades was a driving force for the successful completion of my BSN program.
Let’s talk about cost. The cost of the program is based on a 6 month term and for the RN to BSN program, the 6 month flat rate is about $3500. They don’t charge you for the individual courses that you take…. they just charge you for that semester regardless of how many courses you take. For example, if you have 10 courses you need to complete your program and you are super ambitious, you really could complete your program in 6 months and pay only one semester worth of tuition!
The important things to know. The program is accredited by CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education) which is incredibly important. Accreditation is important because it proves that its program is in compliance with a correct nursing curriculum and that appropriate teaching methods are being utilized. This is also important because an accredited school is required in order to sit for your NCLEX Exam. Some states are are lucky enough to have an actual RN program that allows them to sit for the boards which is why I mention that about the NCLEX. They also participate in federal student loans so if you need that, make sure to take advantage of it.
This school also offers online master degrees programs. I have reviewed the different MSN programs they offer but I haven’t jumped on it just yet simply because I don’t know what route of nursing I want to pursue further. I do love nursing education but I also want to be in the management side of nursing because I understand the importance of having a clinical manager who actually understands the clinical side of things as opposed to just the business/administrative side to things.
With the amount of potential that WGU has in regard to the programs that they offer, it’s a no brainer to at least look into obtaining a degree from this school. Don’t be afraid to take that plunge in order to get your BSN or to go further and get your MSN. This school offers so much flexibility and an ample amount of time to finish your degree program so that you can continue to work full time and go to school without being too overwhelmed. With the affordability of the program, the flexible schedule, the numerous programs offered and the innovative way to teach its courses, I knew it was the right decision for me to go ahead and complete the program so I could go from Emily Steadman, ASN to Emily Steadman, BSN.
Emily Steadman, BSN