Flexibility for a busy lifestyle: an RN to MSN journey with FlexPath

September 30, 2019

No one could ever accuse Mike Linares of being a slacker.

Besides being an RN, he’s the founder of Simple Nursing, a hugely popular website designed to help nursing students succeed in their NCLEX exams. Linares’s website has a YouTube channel with more than 260,000 subscribers watching its 1,200 videos. He’s an avid traveler and is currently enrolled in Capella University’s RN-to-MSN program via the FlexPath learning format. He took some time to tell us why an MSN and why Capella.

Simple nursing started simply

I started Simple Nursing as a way to help students all over the world, but I never thought it was going to blow up as big as it did. I started with tutoring first-semester students inside the nursing school. One video turned into five videos, and then people requested more. Five turned to 50, and 50 turned into 1,200 videos on YouTube and our membership site. 

I never really understood the impact I was making on YouTube. I just thought, “Hey, we’re throwing out videos online, and I’m able to travel and work.” It wasn’t until I started doing conferences that students started to come up to me and say, “Mike, I was failing, and I would’ve never been a nurse if it wasn’t for you helping me get through this one class.” That’s what helped me realize, wow, I’m actually helping people in their careers and going for their dreams. I love teaching, so I want to make it official by getting my master’s degree in nursing education.

Fitting school into a packed work/life balance

One of the most exciting things to me is traveling and going places I’ve never been to before. I love to get out and discover new places, especially hiking and being outdoors. I’m just as passionate about my work as a nurse and nurse educator as I am about traveling. The most difficult part is trying to find that balance between the two.

Initially, I went to get my master’s at another university, and I was a little rusty, so I took one semester off and then that turned into three years of being off. When I planned on returning, I researched seven different schools. Capella’s FlexPath format stood out to me. FlexPath would allow me to learn at my own pace. 

The self-paced environment makes it easy for me with my travel schedule and my workflow. Between traveling, as well as writing my own website content, coordinating with my team, and uploading social media, it’s really hard for me to get a clean schedule. FlexPath gives me the ability to move my schedule around, as well as my due dates.

Living and learning – I get to travel and still work on my degree anywhere in the world. That’s the best part about Capella for me.

How FlexPath fits in

FlexPath allows me to pursue my degree while still producing and collaborating with my team. During the production season, I usually work 70 hours a week. I can rearrange my schedule and move at my own pace. That’s the best part about Capella and FlexPath. I can go for a hike or readjust my schedule, and I know that my assignments are still going to be there when I return. 

Other social media influencers influenced him

When I was originally researching schools for my RN to MSN, I saw two other social media influencers working on their master’s degrees at Capella. I found that interesting because it gives validity that these two other influencers, who could choose anywhere they wanted to go for their higher education in nursing, chose Capella. 

The importance of the MSN

Having the MSN credential really lends legitimacy to all the work I’m doing to educate nurses. Two years ago, I did 30 campus tours, and I felt that college leaders were skeptical of my ability to teach simply because I did not have academic letters after my name. With my master’s degree, I hope to gain credibility in the educational community.

Learn about online Masters in Nursing degrees at Capella University.

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