This articles originally published in the September/October 2022 issue of Inspire Health.
Deciding to pursue a nursing career can be the beginning of an exciting and somewhat formidable chapter in one’s life. Yet students at West Coast University (WCU) find that their school has their back, especially those who are busy with work and family.
In the cases of Stephanie Pedre (who earned her BSN degree in 2021) and Georgia Bowman (who earned her BSN degree in 2020), WCU is the place that made balancing academic, personal, and professional goals possible.
“I fell in love with the campus. The people were candid, and the rigorous accelerated [nursing] program was great for working students.”Stephanie Pedre, BSN ’21
Mother to a child with autism, Stephanie’s watershed occurred the night her son suffered a febrile seizure. In seeking the care he needed, it was then and there that she discovered a calling to help children and families with special needs. She began researching nursing programs and found WCU. A member of the 9th evening and weekend cohort, she found a family in her peers, as well as a support system in the faculty and staff. (Learn more about Stephanie’s story in her “Day in the Life of a WCU-Miami Student” video.)
Hands-On Support & Real-World Preparation from WCU Faculty
From the moment you step on campus, the admissions team is available to help you set realistic goals and plan a course of action that is right for your needs. They take the initiative to meet with students regularly and help prepare them well for their career search, as well as assist them with their resumes and portfolios.
“It was four months from graduation to when I had a job,” says Georgia Bowman, BSN ‘20. “I graduated in November, took the NCLEX in January, and started working two months later.”
Students find that they feel extremely well-prepared for the nursing world. The practice NCLEX exams offered at WCU are said to be more difficult and detailed than the actual exam; however, the simulation labs implemented in the program were the most rewarding experience.
“You would go into these real-life simulations without knowing what you’re facing. You could go from being an emergency room nurse to delivering a baby.”Georgia Bowman, BSN ’20
Cheering Students On & Helping Them Overcome Obstacles
To help alleviate all the personal, professional, and academic stresses students face, the Student Services department plans activities to boost morale. Students can participate in meditation and yoga to decompress from the pressures of school, work, and family responsibilities.
“The staff are your biggest cheerleaders. They make you feel like you are somebody to them,” says Stephanie.
Even the faculty at WCU go the extra mile to make sure their students are succeeding. During the height of the pandemic, when the campus was closed and clinical rotations seemed unfathomable, they worked to provide students with alternatives to clinical education by incorporating simulation software into the curriculum. Instead of feeling deterred, Stephanie took advantage of the tools offered and jumped into all clinical units.
“My professors always encouraged us to be open-minded to the ever-evolving field of nursing. Don’t shy away in the background. Be curious,” says Stephanie.
As a float pool nurse, she takes the initiative to work on unfamiliar cases, witness new procedures, and interact with patients from all areas.
When Georgia was rushed in for emergency surgery, she contacted the school and was met with incomparable support during and after her recovery. Student Services and faculty offered alternatives to make up work, and also suggested a leave of absence. Not only did she not feel the need to take the leave, but she was able to graduate on time.
“There was never a time that I was here at WCU that I did not feel that I had the great support that they offered,” says Georgia.
Advice from WCU Nursing Alumni
Georgia’s advice to incoming WCU students is to make the most of their time in nursing school and all of the tools available to them.
“You have people who are here to help you along the way and not steer you wrong,” she said. “You are not alone.”
At WCU, you are more than a number. With peers, faculty, and staff, students find the motivation and support they need to succeed.
“Nothing in this world is without sacrifices,” says Stephanie. “If you’re thinking about WCU, do it and face it head-on. I am in love with my career because I get to make an impact, and at the end of the day, I get to spend more time with my son.”
With the COVID-19 endemic, the university is currently offering some on-ground courses in the distance education modality, as needed. As the situation changes, students may be expected to return on-campus to complete their program on-site in the regular learning modality as outlined in the university catalog.
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.