Nurse Education Department Marks Milestone, Pins First Cohort of RN to BSN Degree Completers (Video)
Fourteen RNs earn College’s first Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree; department pins 72 nurses overall during traditional Florence Nightingale ceremony in Richardson Performance Hall
Article by Melinda Eddleman
(Updated with video on Aug. 26, 2022)
(Click on photos to enlarge, download and access cutlines)
Being a nurse requires sacrifice not just in the field but also while preparing for the profession. On Aug. 17, the Del Mar College (DMC) Nurse Education Department pinned 72 students who have made many sacrifices while completing their Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), Registered Nurse (RN) and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) Programs.
One-by-one, each student walked across the stage in Richardson Performance Hall on the College’s Heritage Campus to receive their pin and their battery-operated lantern before taking their place on risers. They then recited the time-honored Florence Nightingale pledge, signifying their next steps in the healthcare profession they’ve chosen.
The RN to BSN Program is the College’s first bachelor’s degree, which started in fall 2021. The pinning ceremony marked the first milestone with the RN to BSN Program completers getting their pins. During DMC’s Summer 2022 Commencement on Aug. 19, they’ll make history, again, as they walk the stage in Selena Auditorium to receive their bachelor’s degree––another first for Del Mar College.
The Nurse Education Department is very proud of our first cohort of RN to BSN graduates and DMC’s first bachelor’s degree recipients. These students are exiting the program equipped to meet the job market demand in the community, and this credential allows them to help ease the shortage of primary care providers, contribute to better patient outcomes and meet healthcare agencies’ desire for more BSN-prepared nurses.
The post-licensure RN to BSN Program allows current RNs who have already earned their associate’s degree from an accredited nursing program to take that next step to acquire the much desired bachelor’s degree by many healthcare employers. (Read the Feb. 23, 2021 program announcement release by clicking here.)
Prior to the new degree program, the Nurse Education Department offered an Associate in Applied Science in Registered Nursing degree, along with a Vocational Nurse Certificate, LVN/Paramedic to RN Transition Associate in Applied Science degree and an Associate in Arts in Nurse Education degree.
Dr. McWha adds, “With the community, Del Mar College administration and the DMC Board of Regents supporting our vision of conferring a bachelor’s degree in nursing, our new reality means that graduates from the Nurse Education Department will continue to meet the healthcare needs of our community members with differing levels of care.”
One of the 14 RN to BSN Program completers is Michelle Westbrook, age 45, who currently serves as a school nurse for the Corpus Christi Independent School District (CCISD). She says, “My BSN degree gives me advancement opportunities and a broader knowledge base. Many acute care hospitals and public health agencies will only hire BSN nurses.”
As a DMC alumna and first-generation college student in her family, Westbrook graduated as a RN from the Nurse Education Department with her associate’s degree in December 2004. She has worked for CCISD since 2008, along with working another job for Driscoll Children’s Hospital (DCH) between 2004 and 2021. She notes that she resigned last October from DCH “to ease the burden” of balancing her studies to complete the RN to BSN Program, working and maintaining family and home life that included three middle-school-aged boys who played sports.
Elizabeth Rovira, age 41, another DMC alumna who earned her associate’s degree in 2009 to become a RN, currently works at Driscoll Health Plan as a Utilization Management RN Case Manager. She also understands the impact her hard work and sacrifice will have.
“Earning my BSN degree will allow me to advance my career into upper management when I‘m ready to transition to that type of role,” she says. “And, if I ever want to move to a larger city, the degree will also enable me to eventually go to other companies that require a BSN or higher degree.”
Juggling the academic rigors to earn the RN to BSN degree, along with family and work, is the continuous challenge of the program, and Rovira experienced much the same hurdles that her classmate Westbrook faced.
“There were a few challenges, such as managing my time to fit the full-time nursing schedule into my already busy work schedules, and time with my husband and family was limited due to academic requirements and time spent on campus. But, in the end, they all supported me, and now I can spend plenty of time with all of them,” she says.
And, Rovira has some words of advice now that she’s completed her RN to BSN degree.
It’s never too late to go to school and reach your goals. Del Mar College has helped me reach two of my academic goals; and for that, I’m very grateful. Whatever you put into something is what you will get out of it. Push hard, work hard, and success will be there waiting for you.
The 72 students pinned on Aug. 17 include:
Keisha Cephus, Katrina Charba, Cecilia De La Cruz, Roxana Gonzalez, Jo Ann Jimenez, Julia Lopez, Ashley Martinez, Rachel Mendez, Christen Miller, Noemi Padilla-Harkless, Maria Rodriguez, Elizabeth Rovira, Dana Sanchez and Michelle Westbrook
Jordan Bekesi and Gabrielle Espejo
Melina Alcoser, Kristina Alejandro, Jenna Amparano, Allison Barclay, Mikayla Candiracci, Matthew Castaneda, Ryan Clark, Carlos De Leon, Veronica Delafuente, Bree Fox, Jessica Franco, Jason Galvan, Ralph Galvan, Ciara Garcia, Gloria Garcia, Audrey Garza, Felicity Garza, Ludivina Gonzalez, Brenda Guerrero, Morissa Hathaway, Catherine Hernandez, Cesar Juarez, Leila Kazemi, Chelsea Keefer, Tasheina Lloyd-Porter, Sharon Lochmueller, Dustin Mackie, Naomi Magnaos, Alberto Martinez, Georgianna Martinez, Samantha Martinez, Maria Mejorado, Iris Mena, Richard Merciner, Dorothy-Lynn Montes, Alyssa Moreno, Jeff Nicholson, Marquita Nolen, Sidney Perez, lzaac Rabagos, Victoria Rabagos, Sundi Rangel, Tani Rios, Marissa Rodriguez, Robert Salas, Brianna Salazar, Brittany Saucedo, Irina Seitz, Sarah Smith-Castaneda, Toni Swick, Jacqueline Vargas, Rene Vela, Jose Villegas, Jessica Washington, Jesus Yanes and Marisol Ysaguirre
View the Summer 2022 Pinning Ceremony in its entirety below:
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.