By: Elizabeth York, Media Writer & Digital Editor, Houston Baptist University
When Faith Wilson earned her associate’s degree in nursing at 23 years old, her goal was simply to finish the program and leave school.
“Back then, my main focus was not excelling,” she said. “But this time is different. Houston Baptist University has really changed that for me. I want the ‘gold medal’ this time.”
As a nurse for 18 years, Wilson has worked in multiple areas including medical/surgical, pediatrics, ambulatory care, women’s services and even plastic surgery.
“Getting my bachelor’s— it’s something that had been in the making that I wanted to do,” the wife and mother of three said. “My youngest was 22 and I had some extra time. I began researching programs, but a lot of them didn’t work out with my work schedule.”
What stood out to Wilson about HBU’s program, however, was the ability to complete coursework on an asynchronous, self-paced schedule. Students have flexibility in their completion of assignments during each eight-week class. That meant that Wilson could do no coursework on days when she worked 12-hour shifts, and then work on the course for several hours on days when she had the time.
“From the time I placed my first phone call, I have had no issues with HBU as far as registration, payment and course scheduling,” she said. “All I had to do was focus on the schoolwork.”
Wilson entered the program in June 2016. The online program was a new experience, but one in which she adjusted to quickly. She was assigned a program counselor and a nursing mentor. She soon discovered that faculty members and staff typically responded to emails within hours. To her surprise, the online format even allowed for interaction with fellow students.
Her co-workers, Lisa Wilson and Amy Ugokwe, at Medical City Plano Hospital are enrolled in Houston Baptist University’s RN (Registered Nurse) to BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) online program as well.
“I had a lot of hesitation at first because my background has always been sitting in a classroom. I was thinking, ‘How am I going to get this if it’s all left on me?’ But I was absolutely incorrect. The online program doesn’t place any limits on you. The way it’s set up, it’s like you’re in the classroom,” she said. “The only difference is that the professor isn’t there reading you things.”
Among the changes in the nursing field since she first became a nurse are updates in medical records and charting technology, and a generally faster-paced environment. Many hospitals now prefer bachelor’s degree-level nurses in order to retain magnet hospital status. Furthermore, higher-level degrees are commonly required in order to advance.
“This will give me new avenues to pursue career-wise,” Wilson said. “HBU gives you all the tools and everything you need to succeed. All of my professors have been wonderful. Houston Baptist is like family, and the faith component there is important to me. I know it’s making me a better nurse. The program gives a lot of polishing and it’s elevated my nursing skills. I absolutely cannot say enough wonderful things about HBU.”
Wilson graduated in December 2017, and she doesn’t plan to stop there.
“I couldn’t wait to wear my black gown and cute shoes at graduation,” she said. “My family is so proud of me, and I’ve shown my sons that if mom can go back to school after all these years, there’s no reason why they can’t do well. And, as soon as I finish my BSN, I’m going to start the MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) program. I went from a student who thought, ‘I just want to get out of here,’ to ‘I love to learn.’ HBU has done that for me.”