From Working Moms to Wide-Receivers, Widener Nursing Makes Earning a Degree Possible

Emily Barrett, Assistant Director of Communications
Nursing student in scrubs in a lab
Widener’s nursing program offers an assortment of pathways that meet students where they are to help them graduate into the health care field or take the next step in their careers.

Karen Cook is a busy woman, to say the least.

When she isn’t at home with her husband, three children, and eight pets, including a duck, she’s working full-time on the maternity unit at WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital. So when the registered nurse decided to go back to school to earn a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree, she needed a program that fit her hectic home and work schedule.

I work full-time, have a house full of kids and animals, and my husband, so I couldn’t be pausing my life to drive down to campus for classes. —Karen Cook 

Enrolling in Widener’s online RN-to-BSN program was a perfect match to advance her nursing education. 

Karen Cook poses for a photo at work on the maternity floor.
Karen Cook works full-time while finishing the RN-to-BSN program.

"The online format, more specifically the asynchronous online format, was exactly what I was looking for,” Cook added.

Widener’s nursing program offers an assortment of BSN tracks that meet students where they are to help them graduate into the health care field or, for students like Cook, take the next step in their careers.

“I have high expectations, especially as an adult student with a very busy life,” said Cook. “The nursing program does what they say they’re going to do, and that’s important.” 

Whether students enroll in the full-time undergraduate BSN program, the online RN-to-BSN track, or embark on a second bachelor’s degree in the accelerated BSN program, they are met with hands-on guidance and support tailored to their personal academic journeys. 

An action photo of BSN student Cole Livingston making a play on the football field.
The BSN program afforded Cole Livingston the flexibility to learn and play varsity football.

Just ask Cole Livingston. The Lancaster County native joined the BSN program mid-semester after starting his freshman year at a previous university. Widener’s robust nursing program and close-knit community was a welcomed change.

“At a smaller school I knew the student-faculty ratio would be better and I could interact with professors more,” said Livingston. The program also gave him the flexibility to join the Pride’s football team as a wide-receiver. 

To stay on track after transferring, Livingston worked one-on-one with faculty to schedule a course plan that ensured he would graduate on his original timetable. 

“They helped me figure out how I could manage to catch up in three and half years, and right now I’m on track to catch up to when I was originally scheduled to graduate,” Livingston added.

Personalized attention is a hallmark of the Widener student experience. Each program, including nursing, is committed to delivering a high quality education that fits each student’s professional and personal goals. 

Amelia Kramer’s goal is to serve as a nurse in the United States Navy. Her drive to serve the country and service members was inspired by the nursing professionals that she worked alongside at an academic medical center in Boston. 

Amelia Kramer poses while on clinical rotation.
The accelerated BSN program will help Amelia Kramer launch her career as a military nurse in the U.S. Navy.

To make the move to a career in nursing, Kramer moved back to Pennsylvania and turned to the second-degree accelerated BSN program at the university’s Harrisburg campus.

“I knew about Widener before I earned my first bachelor’s degree, so when I heard that they had an accelerated nursing program that worked for me, I applied,” said Kramer. At the end of the 15-month program, Kramer will earn the rank of a commissioned officer and launch her career as a military nurse.

While the accelerated BSN program is designed for students seeking a career change, such as Kramer, it also helps students, like Shirli Kulli, who are seeking to transfer into the program from another university. 

Nearly halfway through her college career, Kulli decided to pursue a nursing degree which meant see needed to enroll at a university with an accredited nursing program. After a visit to Widener, she felt right at home.

When I visited Widener’s students and staff they were so friendly and welcoming and wanted to work with you to help you see the bigger picture of what a nurse should be doing, and to me that stood out the most. —Shirli Kulli

The unique, full-time program accepted her prerequisite credits and put Kulli on the path to completing a BSN degree in as few as five semesters. Her experience so far has taught her the skills and knowledge to not only be an excellent nurse, but to be a leader in the field.

“Widener teaches you how to be a leader. To me that’s the most valuable lesson because not only are you learning how to be a nurse, but you’re learning other skills in the process,” said Kulli.

Explore All The Ways to Earn a BSN

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