DMC Nurse Education Department offering college’s first bachelor’s degree, RN to BSN
New Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program starts in fall 2021, applications being taken now from current licensed registered nurses wanting to take next step in their careers
Article by Melinda Eddleman
Offering a bachelor’s degree will be a first for Del Mar College (DMC). Starting in fall 2021, licensed registered nurses (RNs) holding an associate’s degree from an accredited nursing program can take their careers to the next level through DMC’s new RN to BSN program by earning their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree through the College’s Nurse Education Department.
I congratulate our faculty and administration for their vision to provide aspiring students the opportunity to advance and earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at Del Mar College. The College’s RN to BSN program will offer graduates the educational preparedness in areas of evidence-based practice and nursing leadership and management as well as further contribute to health care in Corpus Christi.
Dr. Jennifer McWha, RN, Nurse Education program director, adds, “Currently, the area’s job market needs nurses with advanced training to help care for members of our community–particularly, care for patients with chronic and often complicated conditions. Additionally, the BSN degree is the preferred credential for many health care organizations and is typically the next step when pursuing other higher level degrees such as nurse practitioner, nurse educator or nurse researcher.”
The College currently offers an Associate in Applied Science in Registered Nursing degree, along with a Vocational Nurse Education (LVN) Certificate, LVN/Paramedic to RN Transition Associate in Applied Science degree and an Associate in Arts in Nurse Education degree.
Individuals who hold a BSN can earn higher pay as compared to those who hold an associate’s degree in registered nursing (ADN). According to nurse.org and PayScale, the average salary for RNs with the ADN is $69,000 while those with a BSN is $84,000
In 2020, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved the College offering the baccalaureate degree and the program curriculum. The Nurse Education Department is currently undergoing the accreditation process for the new RN to BSN program
.Dr. McWha noted that currently there are nine RN to BSN programs offered at community colleges in Texas with others pending approval.
The department is now accepting applications for the new program through April 30. Visit the RN to BSN web page at www.delmar.edu/bsn for more details. Individuals can also contact the DMC Nurse Education Department at 361-698-2809 or RNtoBSN@delmar.edu.
The program will accept up to 30 students as its first cohort this fall.
The Level II RN to BSN curriculum is comprised of 30 semester credit hours (SCHs) offered over three semesters with courses scheduled in eight-week segments for the first two regular semesters (fall and spring) and 12 weeks for the third semester during the summer. The curriculum is concept-based, and faculty will teach courses using a hybrid format that incudes online and clinical instruction.
Applicants must hold a valid RN state license and have completed 90 SCHs that include required general education credit courses. Additionally, interested individuals must also have completed associate’s degree level RN coursework from an accredited nursing program.
(The online sample curriculum includes the 90 SCHs required prior to acceptance into the RN to BSN program, along with the 30 RN to BSN credit hours, for a total of 120 SCHs required to graduate with the bachelor’s degree.)
In addition to adding the new RN to BSN program to their offerings, the Nurse Education Department has celebrated other successes.
Last October, the department reported to the DMC Board of Regents their RN graduates’ pass rates on their first attempt taking the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) for state licensure for years 2016 through 2019. The College’s RN graduates outperformed both state and national average pass rates during the last three reported years with 93.16%, 94.44% and 93.1% pass rates, respectively. DMC RN graduates increased the department’s pass rate from 86.75% in 2016 to 93.1% over a one-year period, which set the trend over the following three-year period.
(Data is available at www.delmar.edu/offices/nursing/student-achievement-outcome-data.html)
The Nurse Education Department’s increase in pass rates were attributed to well-prepared students, along with initiatives focused on:
- employing cohesive, diversified faculty,
- establishing the Nursing Success Center with faculty coaches and peer tutors,
- providing access to ATI resources for faculty development to remediate and improve student understanding of concepts,
- transitioning to a concept-based curriculum to move students away from memorization and toward high-order thinking, and
- utilizing robust clinical simulations to improve students’ reasoning skills by applying knowledge and decision-making and then dealing with outcomes and consequences.
Of the new RN to BSN degree, Dr. McWha notes that the program track will build graduates’ marketable skills that employers seek.
Employers want nurses who demonstrate increased critical thinking and evidence-based research skills, training in leadership and management roles and increased training in patient care management, along with the ability to collaborate with interdisciplinary health care teams.
For area RNs thinking about taking that next step to further their careers, now is the time to apply for the new RN to BSN program at Del Mar College.
Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.