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 [link coming soon]. 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.

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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!


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