Getting my MSN in Nursing Education – My First Class

by | Aug 25, 2017 | My MSN Journey | 9 comments

This post is part of a sponsored series recounting the incredible experience I had with Capella University’s MSN program in the FlexPath learning format as a sponsored student. Join me as I take you through my MSN journey, which commenced in 2017 and concluded 17 months later — just seven days before the arrival of my son. Together, we’ll explore my FlexPath experience and how it empowered me to achieve my educational goals amidst the beautiful chaos of life. If you want to check out all of the blog posts from my journey, click here. Let’s dive in! 🌟📚

msn in nursing education first class

When I finished the first class of my MSN in nursing education program — through FlexPath at Capella University, I knew I was off to a great start! My class consisted of three assessments and it took me approximately three weeks to complete the course but it’s different for every person due to the self-paced nature of the program.

If you’d like to watch a video rather than read a post, click play below!

My FlexPath Assessments

These MSN FlexPath assessments weren’t your typical nursing assessments

The professional development that is part of the FlexPath nursing education program is unique. Courses are graded with competency-based assessments. These assessments have competencies focused on specific theoretical foundations or skills that impact professional practice. This is a unique approach for an online nursing program, so I’ll share a few more details on what the MSN FlexPath assessments are like.

Each assessment required me to dive deep into healthcare scenarios, analyze them, and develop effective solutions from the perspective of a healthcare leader. The assessments I completed ranged in length, from 4 to 8 pages, excluding the title page and references. (And yes, I had to brush up on my APA formatting knowledge!)

In my first class, the first two assessments presented complex healthcare and nursing leadership challenges. They demanded careful analysis and required me to substantiate my proposed approaches with evidence and scholarly sources. These assessments encouraged me to think critically and explore innovative solutions to address real-world issues in the healthcare industry.

The final assessment was a self-evaluation of my leadership style. It provided an opportunity for introspection and allowed me to assess my strengths and areas for growth as a nursing leader. Through this assessment, I gained valuable insights into my own leadership capabilities and identified areas where I could further enhance my skills.

Receiving feedback on my assessments was critical to the learning process. I would submit my completed assessments for evaluation, and my professor would provide detailed feedback and assign an overall score. I appreciated the specific feedback I received, as it helped me understand my strengths and areas for improvement. The timely email notifications notifying me of the professor’s feedback and grades were a convenient way to stay updated without constantly checking the online classroom platform.

My Nemesis: APA

As I delved into the course, I encountered a familiar nemesis – APA formatting. While writing the content for the assessments came naturally to me, adhering to the intricacies of APA style presented a challenge. It had been a while since I had used APA formatting, as my previous experience with it was during my BSN program that I finished in 2010.

Inevitably, I made some APA formatting errors in my first assessment. My professor offered helpful suggestions to improve my citation and referencing. With each subsequent assessment, I became more proficient in using APA correctly. By the time I reached the third assessment, I was proud that I had zero APA errors!

Flexible Online Nursing Programs



Reminder – with FlexPath you set your own deadlines! When I began my course, the first thing I did was read the information for each assessment to estimate approximately how long it would take me to do each one. After that, I plugged in my target dates. Target dates are deadlines you set yourself to stay on track in your course, but they can be moved or adjusted at any time. I basically gave myself one week for each assessment. Once I turned one in and got my professor’s feedback, I started the next assessment immediately.

After I completed my first course, I remember intentionally giving myself two weeks for each assessment in my next course because I knew that the following month was crazy with a few speaking events and our plan to into a new house. Then I planned on going back to one assessment per week.

Finishing My First MSN FlexPath Course

I successfully completed my first MSN FlexPath course with a Distinguished competency demonstration! I knew once I completed this class, nothing could stop me from becoming an MSN in nursing education.

Instead of an A, B, C, or D grade, the competency demonstration is evaluated as Distinguished, Proficient, Basic, or Non-performance. You are given three attempts to complete each assessment.

For example, let’s say I received Proficient and Basic levels for all of the criteria of my first assessment. I could take my professor’s feedback, implement it, and re-submit for evaluation. My goal was to get Distinguished on every FlexPath assessment.

To successfully complete a program, setting nursing goals is important. Once I got going, I knew the perfectionist side of me would likely try to get Distinguished for all criteria every time, even though that is not required for successful completion.

I just finished my first class of my MSN in Nursing Education FlexPath program at Capella University and I am off to a great start! Read on to find out more

In my next post in this series, I will continue to share the experience and insights I gained throughout my MSN journey. If you want to learn more about Capella’s FlexPath learning format and the range of nursing degrees they offer, click here.

Learn More About My MSN in Nursing Education Journey

Flexible Online Nursing Programs


Capella University’s flexible online nursing programs, coupled with ongoing support, empower you to advance your career skills without compromise. Discover your potential at Capella.

Online nursing programs

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-to-BSN)

Master of Science in Nursing, with the following specializations:

    Master of Science in Nursing (MSN – Nurse Practitioner), with the following specializations:

    Online DNP program:


    Learn More

    Picture of Kati Kleber, founder of FRESHRN

    Hi, I’m Kati.

    Kati Kleber, MSN RN is a nurse educator, author, national speaker, host of the FreshRN® Podcast, and owner of FreshRN® – an online platform created to educate, encourage, and motivate newly licensed nurses in innovative ways.

    Connect with her on YouTube, Pinterest, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, and sign-up for her free email newsletter for new nurses.


    1. Padma Dyvine

      I loved reading your experience. I got my masters 30+ years ago, and it was an awesome experience. Now, I am seeing through your eyes new ways of teaching and learning. I love the “grading” system. Thanks for sharing what in the past might have been a very individual (except for what is shared with cohorts) experience. This gives me even greater confidence for our profession.

    2. Joselyn Shmaeff

      I highly recommend getting the PERRLA program. It’s a formatting plug in for Word and is worth it’s cost in gold! No more APA formatting issues!

    3. Don Ryan

      Love reading these. I just finished my master’s in nursing and am looking at Capella for my DNP.

      • Kati Kleber

        Awesome! I’ll have at least 1 new video and 1 new blog post every month as I work through the program. I can connect you with and enrollment counselor if you have DNP-specific questions. Just let me know!

    4. Christy

      Hey Kati – thanks for the tip on finding this info. I’ll be watching for updates.

      For the grading system they use… is it up to you whether or not you make changes and resubmit if you were to get a proficient? I’m a little confused on that type of a grading scale. I wonder what the expectations are if you were to apply for a doctorate after this. Nothing basic or lower I assume? Basic doesn’t sound very impressive but I’m new to this type of learning! Clue me in when you get a chance. Thanks!

      • Kati Kleber

        Hey Christy! So the level needed depends on what level of education you’re working on. So for my MSN I need to get “distinguished” on my competencies to pass them. For each assessment, you get 3 attempts to achieve this. I’ve definitely used them to because these professors really go through it with a fine-toothed comb and genuinely grade. I’ve received a basic on a few and had to redo and use up my 3 attempts a few times. I’m not totally sure, but I believe if you’re doing an RN to BSN, that you need to get proficient and for MSN + you must get distinguished, and the work it takes to get the distinguished is more challenging for the doctorate. Don’t quote me though – let me ask and circle back.

        • Jennifer Lilly

          actually for the MSN you need to get proficient or distinguished for each assignment. I just read the curriculum as I am just getting ready to start in 1 week with my MSN in Nursing Ed.

          • FreshRN Team

            For me, it was distinguished for each assignment. Of course, this was also almost 5 years ago so they may have changed it to proficient now.

    5. Mark Guayco

      I am very interested in pursuing my Masters too. Please keep these blogs coming as this truly inspires Nurses like me, that amidst the busy and hectic schedule, we can do it!


    Submit a Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.