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Part of Western Governors University

April 24, 2014

Nursing & Healthcare

Robbie returned to school after 40 years in nursing.

This month at WGU Texas, we’re highlighting our College of Health Professions and recognizing our amazing nurses—the lifeblood of Texas’ healthcare system. Today’s spotlight is on Robbie Murphy, a distinguished nursing professor at San Jacinto College, one of our community college partners.

Robbie received her M.S. Nursing—Education in 2012 from WGU and says, “I would highly recommend WGU for nursing students/graduates and other aspiring healthcare professionals.” Robbie is no stranger to the nursing profession. With over 40 years of experience, when she decided to go back to school to pursue a master’s degree she did a lot of research. Fortunately, Robbie knew exactly what kind of university she was looking for. 

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“I was looking for an educational institution that was a highly respected and accredited online university, offering competency-based education—that’s when I discovered WGU,” Murphy says.

We recently sat down with Robbie to learn about her passion for nursing, how she stays active in the community, and her plans for the future. Here’s what she had to say:

What influenced your decision to go into nursing?

Many years ago, I received a full scholarship to the University of Texas in music, but decided that music was not my future. Instead, I wanted to become a nurse. I had been hospitalized several times as a child and so many of the nurses were compassionate and kind. That experience really stuck with me for many years.

How did you know you were ready to take this next step toward your educational goal?

I have been a nurse for over 40 years and decided that my personal goal was to achieve my master’s degree in nursing, which was important to me personally and professionally.

Why this program, and why did you pick WGU? 

I did a lot of research about which graduate program to attend.  WGU was the top pick for me because of their competency-based educational structure and because they were affordable. Most importantly, they were ranked as one of the top 10 online universities!

What was your most memorable experience in the program? 

The best aspect of my experience at WGU was the support I received from my personal mentor.  She was always there for me and provided great counsel and encouragement every step of the way. My mentor spoke with me at least weekly and responded to my requests within 24 hours of my call when needed, which was awesome!

What’s the most important thing you learned about yourself as a student at WGU?

I began my graduate studies as an older nurse.  I found that age wasn’t a barrier and that I could persevere and do anything that I put my mind to. Focusing on my studies was tough at first, and then I realized that with the help provided from WGU, I could and would achieve my goal.

What kind of involvement do you have within the nursing community and outside the nursing community?

I am a nursing professor at San Jacinto College, a local community college in the Houston area, and love every moment of it there!  I serve as a member on several professional organizations, including ANA, NLN, INACSL, among others.  I also have my students participate in local community activities such as health fairs, patient educational opportunities, etc.  It’s critical that nurses continue to participate in professional organizations and that they become an active part of their local communities.

How has your WGU education prepared you to meet your professional goals? 

My goal was to be able to teach in an undergraduate nursing program.  The studies at WGU weren’t easy, but they provided me with the knowledge needed to become a better professor and mentor for my students, whether in a licensed vocational nursing program or in an undergraduate program.  I will begin teaching at the RN level this fall.

What are your plans for the future? 

I plan to continue teaching in higher education with the hope of mentoring, fostering, and providing the highest-quality education to my nursing students.  With a degree from WGU, my goal of teaching in an undergraduate program has been achieved!


National Nurses Week is around the corner. If you or someone you know is an RN who’s thinking about returning to school to finish a BSN, or if you’ve earned your BSN but want to go further in your nursing education, apply for our brand-new Nurses Lead the Way Scholarship. We will be awarding five of these scholarships, each valued at up to $500, during National Nurses Week this year. Time is running out; apply by April 30!

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