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Hello all! I am back with another MSN update as I continue on my FlexPath journey at Capella University!

I am currently in my third course and working on my fifth assessment, which is to create a 12–20 slide PowerPoint presentation for teaching a legal or ethical issue pertinent to nurse educators. I really like how FlexPath’s assessments are more practical applications of what I’m learning – not tests!

Here is a look at my course competency map which helps me understand how I am making progress and how I have been evaluated on certain competencies so far.

How I’m able to live. And learn.

I’ve received a bunch of questions about how I’m fitting this into my life and wanted to go over that a little bit more. Basically, I break up each assessment into manageable chunks and schedule myself to do one per day and give myself the weekends off.  The FlexPath format lets me set my own deadlines, so I can manage my school work in the way that it works for me.

Here is how I approach each assessment:

  1. Review
    First, I read the entire assessment thoroughly.  I look at everything that’s expected of me. I’ve found that I need to read it a few times because these assessments are quite comprehensive, but they want you to be concise so every single word counts.
  2. Prep
    You can’t just jump in and write… there is some prep-work you have to do before writing that first sentence to ensure you’re addressing all of the criteria.  You must read your required and suggested resources, all of the context, the scoring guide, and points to consider.
  3. Make an Outline
    I look at each scoring guide criteria and base my outline off of that. In FlexPath, there are no grades, but each assessment is evaluated on a 4-point scale and I try to get the highest one.
  4. Collect Resources
    I also make the effort to find my resources before I write. When I sit down to write and spend the majority of my time finding a source, it frustrates me mentally because I’m not making progress I can measure on paper. Maybe it’s just me, but I want to see the progress in front of me… so if I sat down to complete an assessment and two hours later I have three sentences because I spent practically the entire time looking for reputable sources, I’m disappointed in myself. Also, my first class taught me how to really find and analyze sources to ensure they’re reputable and reliable, which has saved me a ton of time.
  5. Start writing
    I then schedule myself to do 1-2 parts of my outline per day until complete, then I re-read and make final corrections.
  6. Submit my assessment!
    After submitting, I get detailed faculty feedback on my assessment and then have up to three attempts to resubmit my assessment to improve my evaluation.

Maximizing my time

Like nursing, it’s a lot easier for me to get smaller things done as I weave it into my other tasks rather than trying to sit down and get hours of uninterrupted time.  Plus, uninterrupted time is not realistic with a kid, job, and family. I’m trying to progress through this program in one year so I need to find a sustainable routine that I can continue to do for that duration.  Therefore, an hour per day is really working for me right now and that is doable with the FlexPath format.

This mentality reminds me of documenting my assessments at work. Rarely do I get 30-45 uninterrupted minutes to comprehensively document on all of my patients, so I weave it into my existing obligations.  Not only do I get more done, I find that it’s a better quality because I’m giving myself frequent mental breaks.

How I write research papers for my MSN ❇️❇️ #spon ❇️❇️ Step 1️⃣ ➡️ set up my space with water, quiet, white noise in headphones 🎧 pups, and some essential oils for concentration (today’s selection is lemon 🍋 wild orange 🍊 and cedarwood 🌲) Step 2️⃣ ➡️ get my notes out that I’ve written before (headers based off of requirements, selected research articles, and what’s expected to obtain a distinguished competency). Step 3️⃣➡️ pull up all of my research articles and PERRLA APA software. Step 4️⃣➡️ set a timer for 25 min 🕑 and FOCUS on one header at a time 🤓 Step 5️⃣➡️ when that timer goes off, set another timer for 10 min, get up and go do something away from a screen 📺 📱 💻 🖥 Step 6️⃣➡️ Repeat until done! Once I’m finished, I walk away and do something else. I won’t edit it until the next day typically to give my brains a break! @capellau #MSN #flexpath #capella #nursingschool #gradschool #gradschoollife #researchpapers #PERRLA #APA #studying How do you write papers?

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Thanks for checking in – see you next month!

Learn more about Capella’s FlexPath learning format and nursing degrees.