WCU Alum Finds Purpose In Uplifting Nurses

Marianne G. credits her sister for encouraging her to attend West Coast University. Marianne had always dreamed of pursuing a career in medicine.

“My sister calls me ‘Half Dozen,’” Marianne shared. “By the time I’m done with school I’ll have half a dozen degrees.”

While working in the corporate sector, Marianne said she remembered watching her sister return from her nursing shifts at the hospital and wishing she could pursue a similar path. “I would tell her, ‘I just love medicine. It would be so cool to be in medicine.’”

Her sister recommended Marianne volunteer at a clinical care extender program. Marianne thrived during her nearly 300 hours spent serving her community.

“There is a huge value to being in your community and getting exposed to so many things,” Marianne said. “Sometimes it’s the encouraging words you give a person working at a soup kitchen it was a good reminder for me to say, in spite of everything, I am so fortunate.”

Although Marianne realized her passion for community healthcare, life obstacles stood in her way of pursuing a formal nursing education. Marianne said it was another few years before her sister pushed her to consider nursing again.

After her sister suggested WCU, Marianne enrolled and graduated last year from the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. She called her WCU experience amazing and life-changing for her. She referenced the many available resources and quality education her professors provided.

“I looked into a lot of different programs and then I looked into West Coast and honestly, I can say with confidence, this program brought me this far,” Marianne said. “I felt every confidence I was going to do well not just because of me but the students they shaped us to be. They showed us how to succeed.”

One unique aspect to the program Marianne mentioned was the emphasis on self-care. As a single mom, Marianne said that was an area in which she struggled.

“They really encourage self-care,” Marianne said. “You adopt those methodologies. Here’s how you prepare to succeed I don’t know if other students realize the depth of that and understand how you can get burnt out if you don’t schedule self-care.”

These methodologies included scheduling time with family, getting enough sleep and effectively studying and balancing assignments. She also said she found great value in her mentors within the program. One such mentor was Julie France, the former director of nursing at WCU-Orange County.

She explained that it was France who encouraged her to return to WCU to teach. Today, Marianne has her own group of mentees and said she enjoys giving her time connecting with fellow nursing students. Marianne said she was inspired during her own experience as a new nursing student and that she strives to give back to her own alma mater any way she can. She noted the WCU mindset is one in which nurses uplift one another rather than tear each other down.

Marianne described the WCU call to action as a culture of change.

“It’s a community of nursing professionals coming together to inspire and motivate,” she said.

Marianne said she finds her value in being part of this change and inspiring young nurses to support one another.

“It’s more than being in the profession for the money,” Marianne said. “That won’t sustain you during those tough shifts. You have to be in it because you want to help.” It’s all about knowing the kind of impact you can make on someone else’s life, she said.

“I circle back to the impact all these people and resources had on me,” she said. “Without them, I probably would not have succeeded in the program.”

West Coast University is one place Marianne said she found that kindness, support and encouragement.

“It was every West Coast instructor, every act of kindness, encouragement and piece of feedback telling me ‘You’re going to be fine. Don’t be intimidated,’” she said. “That, to me, was what really made the biggest difference. They gave me the resources needed to succeed. I implemented them and they encouraged me every step of the way.”

Today, Marianne continues her involvement as a WCU alumna and current student in WCU’s Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner program. She said that it was her experience at WCU that made her want to return.

“I don’t know what other people can say about their experience but for me it was something that makes me keep wanting to come back. I keep speaking to students and supporting and being part of that change,” she said. “My son always says he’s extremely proud of me.”

Marianne said it is her mission to continue being part of the WCU culture.

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.