Three-Time WCU Alum and Current Faculty Member Is a Life-Long Learner

WCU alumna and faculty member Erin J.

You may call Erin J. a triple threat since she’s completed three degrees at West Coast University.

Erin began her career in vocational nursing before attending WCU for her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the Ontario campus in 2011. In 2017, Erin returned for a master’s program and in 2021 she completed WCU’s doctoral program.

“I’m currently pursuing the post-master’s PMH-NP, psychiatric-mental health program,” Erin said. “I will be done with that at the beginning of 2023.”

Initially, Erin studied computer programming but soon found that she craved more action.

“I’m not a behind-the-desk type person,” Erin said. “I like to be on my feet interacting with other people and felt nursing was much more tailored to that.”

Finding the Right School

Erin recalled that nursing was becoming very competitive during that time and said it was hard to find a school that fit her needs.

“From scheduling the classes to the availability of the instructors and online courses, West Coast University was perfect for me. I wanted a school that understood my experience so I didn’t have to start from scratch but could utilize the education I already had to further develop my nursing role.”

Erin J., WCU alumna and faculty member

It was West Coast University, Erin said, that taught her what it meant to be a registered nurse, and what her clinical position would entail along with her role in healthcare at the macro level.

“One thing I enjoyed about West Coast University was that the instructors were always available. I could interact face-to-face as well as online because a lot of the classes were hybrid,” Erin said, who also mentioned how the flexibility helped as she managed a growing family and full-time job.

Finding Balance and Support

Erin continues to maintain professional relationships with her instructors, emphasizing the close network built between students and professors at WCU.

“Nursing is a core of individuals who try to look out for each other,” Erin said. “West Coast University has always emphasized that positive attitude of nursing as a profession and network.”

At one point in her educational journey, Erin struggled to balance her school, work, and home life. She recalled that her advanced med surg professor asked what it was Erin needed to stay focused and on point.

“Having that kind of backbone of support was absolutely instrumental to my success,” she said. “It gave me that second hand and I was able to succeed. I got tired and she pushed me along saying, ‘You can do this.’”

Exploring the Path of Mental Healthcare

Today, Erin’s goal is to work as a mental health professional.

“Within the general healthcare field there is an extreme need for mental health professionals,” she said. “In my interaction with patients in the family practice setting, I found mental health was probably a good 60% of my patient visits.”

When she found out WCU was opening a mental health-focused program, Erin said she signed up immediately.

“I’ve had great success in all the West Coast University programs I’ve been in and always felt supported,” she said. “I wanted to jump on the opportunity so I could be more help to my patients and have a greater role in the mental health arena.”

Giving Back Through Teaching

After being a three-time student at WCU, Erin has now assumed an academic role at her alma mater. Last year, she became an adjunct clinical instructor at the WCU-Ontario campus. She said it is a privilege to work on the academic side after her time as a student.

“Having been a student with West Coast University gives me a unique perspective,” she said. “I can relate to their own struggles because nursing is one of the most intense careers you can ever do.”

For Erin, being #WCUProud means reaching back and helping others achieve their own goals.

“To be a student and now be an instructor is to pay it forward. Whatever you can imagine, do it. There is only one person stopping you and it is you. I’ve been in your situations. I’ve had to work a full-time job while going to school and raising four children. I understand the struggle. Stick with your goals and understand there is never a right time. Have confidence in yourself and the drive to do it.”

Erin J., WCU alumna and faculty member

WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.