Del Mar’s challenge: Removing barriers to advance nursing education
Del Mar College, a community college in Corpus Christi, Texas offering both vocational certificates and associate degrees in nursing, is working hard to boost the supply of qualified nurses trained and ready to enter the workforce. The school is particularly focused on the South and West, where the need for nursing services is forecast to be the most acute. “One of our biggest goals is to increase the number of BSN-qualified nurses,” said Evangeline De Leon, chairperson of the Department of Nursing Education at Del Mar.
“It can sometimes be a challenge to get our students to think beyond the associate’s degree,” said Dr. De Leon. “Anything we can do to help that transition is important.” To that end, Del Mar adopted a concept-based curriculum and Consortium for Advancing to Baccalaureate Nursing Education in Texas (CABNET) articulation agreements with Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi University, University of Houston and others. De Leon explained, “We worked to create a pathway so that our students could transition more easily to BSN programs, completing three years of coursework here at Del Mar and their final year at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi.”
“NursingCAS takes a huge administrative burden off the table and allows us to utilize our administrative staff more effectively in areas other than just admissions.” – Evangeline DeLeon, Ph.D., RN, Department of Nursing Education, Del Mar College
Liaison’s solution: A streamlined system for managing applications
NursingCAS, a Centralized Application Service (CAS™) that helps nursing programs manage the application process more efficiently, is proving to be an important platform to help Del Mar educate students about opportunities that exist beyond the AS degree. “Just the fact that they can go into the service and explore their options is important,” De Leon said. “The more that we can expose our students to the possibilities available in a nursing career, the better. We certainly don’t want them to stop with us,” she added.
Removing any barrier students may encounter when considering an advanced degree is another crucial part of the equation. Because Texas A&M had already adopted NursingCAS to support their application process, the tool became a natural bridge for Del Mar students. “We didn’t want our students to encounter NursingCAS for the first time while applying to Texas A&M,” explained De Leon. “We wanted to do whatever we could to decrease barriers and delays. Now, when our students are ready to move on to a further degree, they think, oh, NursingCAS, I’ve used that before. I’m familiar with how that works.”
Del Mar’s outcome: A clear path forward for students
Spreading the message that students can complete their BSN at schools with articulation agreements has become a key part of Del Mar’s advising strategy, and it’s being communicated easily through NursingCAS. “About 75% of our applicants are selecting the BSN pathway,” said De Leon. “We know this because in NursingCAS, we’ve established a track for the traditional AAS/ADN degree and another for the BSN pathway. A much higher number of our students are looking at that pathway now from the beginning.”
NursingCAS also helps Del Mar’s part-time admissions coordinator, Karen Perring, manage tasks quickly and more accurately. “When I came on board, evaluating and admitting students was a really lengthy, paper-based process,” Perring said. Verifying transcripts for students who had often attended multiple programs before applying to Del Mar could take hours. So too, could managing correspondence and notification for every student. “It took quite a bit of time for just one applicant. With over 200 applicants, it just became untenable,” said Perring.
Adopting NursingCAS allowed the admissions team to manage those processes online. Because transcripts are verified, matching prerequisites to Del Mar’s degree plan takes just minutes. And because transcripts are sent directly to NursingCAS from the school of origin, Del Mar’s registrar can accept them as official documents — one less barrier for students to overcome.
Del Mar’s results
Using NursingCAS, Del Mar is able to:
- Increase the number of students who apply for the BSN pathway program.
- Save time in the admissions and recruiting process through online transcript verification and communication management.
- Develop more accurate student profiles and benchmark data.