IDEAS

Flex your potential

Andrea, a UW-Milwaukee College of Nursing FLEX student, is on her way to completing her Bachelor’s in Nursing degree in Spring 2015.  Through successful completion of multiple competencies during her first period she is setting an example for future FLEX students.

  “This program was designed for me.  I’ve been a nurse for over 18 years and the FLEX Option has given me the chance to use my knowledge and skills to complete my degree.”

AndreaDucklowheadshot

In 1995, Andrea was finishing her bachelor’s in Pre-Medicine when her grandmother became very ill, forcing her to leave school.  At the time, she aspired to finish her pre-medicine degree but soon realized her passion for patient care aligned with the nursing profession.  It was then she decided becoming a Nurse would give her the opportunity to impact patients and families.  Soon after, Andrea enrolled and finished her Associate’s Degree in Nursing.  During her last semester of her Associates Degree program she learned she was pregnant with her first child.  Her plan to get her bachelor’s degree would have to wait.

Currently, Andrea works with Tomah Hospital System, a rural critical care hospital located 2.5 hours northwest of Milwaukee.   During the last 8 years Andrea has worked as an Emergency Department Nurse, a house supervisor, and a Specialty Clinic Coordinator (manager).  In May 2013 she returned to the Emergency Department in anticipation of returning to school.  Much of Andrea’s career has been in leadership positions that have allowed her to observe and influence patient care and evidence-based practice.

In fall 2013, Andrea’s brother referred her to the UW FLEX Option for RN-BS completion.  The RN to BS FLEX option includes self-paced, competency-based degree completion that allow you to make progress by demonstrating what you know, whether that knowledge was gained through prior coursework, military training, on-the-job training, or other learning experiences. This allows you to advance toward a degree at your own pace. Andrea decided this was the way she would complete her baccalaureate degree in Nursing.

Andrea is on track to graduate with her Bachelor’s in Nursing from UW-Milwaukee in May 2015.  Family and work-life balance is important to her, especially as she celebrates the high school graduation of her son.  As a mother, she wants to finish her Bachelor in Nursing to be an example for her children.

Andrea has advice for all Nurses considering the option.  The UW-Milwaukee FLEX option:

  • Allows you to validate what you know.
  • Provides credit when you prove your knowledge.
  • Requires you to be an independent learner.
  • Offers flexibility to complete one competency at a time, so you can maintain work/life balance.

The personal satisfaction for Andrea comes from being a role model for her children, however her commitment to the nursing profession is very important.  Andrea believes “as Nurses become more educated, the profession as a whole will become more united.”

If you are ready to take the next step and want to find out if this self-paced, competency-based educational format is the right fit for you, we encourage you to take the Flex Fit self-evaluation located at flex.wisconsin.edu

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