One of the things Nicole Luciano most liked about West Coast University was its accelerated BSN program.
She had already earned a bachelor's from another university, so when Luciano enrolled at WCU-Dallas she was ready to begin immediately.
"I definitely wanted to get through school as fast as possible," Luciano said. "But I think West Coast University also helped me in the fast-paced nature of nursing — having to be on my toes and having to critically think."
How did you hear about WCU and what was the deciding factor to enroll?
I'm originally from Dallas, but was living in Las Vegas, Nevada during the time I decided to go back to school for nursing. My parents lived in Irving, Texas and I thought my best bet to be successful during nursing school was to move back home. I searched for nursing schools around the Dallas area and found WCU. I applied, attended an information session, and was impressed instantly with the simulation and skills labs. The fact that WCU was an accelerated program and they did not have a wait-list for the nursing program, unlike many of the surrounding schools, drew me in even more. The deciding factor in choosing WCU was the at-home feeling and the warm welcoming of the staff and faculty, that I knew I'd never find elsewhere.
Why do you want to be a nurse?
I'm a very caring and compassionate person. I believe those are two innate qualities that successful nurses possess. My passion for helping others really pushed me to pursue nursing.
What are some of the things you did at WCU you are most proud of?
Graduating from nursing school with honors was a huge achievement. However, I was very active on campus which, I believe, contributed to my success. I was part of the Student Advisory Council and a tutor for the Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) program.
The accelerated program is challenging. Was there ever a time when you thought about quitting?
I've always been pretty strong willed and very goal-oriented. When I set my mind on something, I make the sacrifices needed to achieve that goal. However, it was during my second-to-last term, in Advanced Med Surg, that I really doubted myself. All of the stress I carried — and somehow ignored — through the past 18 months finally caught up to me. I was exhausted. That mental and physical breakdown they always warn you about during nursing school happened. With a lot of encouragement from my instructors and peers I was able to overcome those negative thoughts and focus on the light at the end of the tunnel!
What are you doing now?
I just recently began my internship at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, on their surgical oncology floor, and I am absolutely loving it!
Do you have any advice or what would you tell someone who asked you about working in healthcare?
Your journey to becoming a nurse will be exactly what you make of it. Take advantage of the opportunities presented to you with no hesitation, an open heart and an open mind. The journey will be extremely trying, but in the end, you'll look back and it will all be worth it. I believe it takes an extra special person to decide to give themselves to be of service to others. Leo Buscaglia says, "Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." As a nurse, you have the duty, and the potential, to be that change in your patient's lives.