Casey Moebius’s decision to go into nursing was largely influenced by her relationship with her grandmother, who was the dean of the nursing school that Casey would one day attend herself.
“My grandmother was a nurse when I was growing up and has always been my role model and mentor,” says Casey, who began her education at the University of Arizona before transferring to Point Loma Nazarene University, where her grandmother worked. She graduated with a BSN in 2002 and gained experience in critical care at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center in Chula Vista before her husband, a chief petty officer in the U.S. Navy, whom she had met in San Diego during college, was stationed in Florida.
Dabbling in nursing education
In Panama City, Casey joined Gulf Coast Medical Center, working in the intensive care unit and telemetry units. There, she befriended a colleague who was an instructor in the ADN program at Gulf Coast State College. “She encouraged me to apply as her adjunct, and I did,” she says. Casey began teaching in 2004. “I really enjoyed it and knew it was something I would continue doing throughout my nursing career.”
A move across the globe
Over the decade to come, Casey’s husband’s Naval career took the couple to Japan, Texas and Florida. While overseas, Casey started an MSN program online in anticipation of eventually teaching full time. “There weren’t a lot of options for me to continue working as a nurse, so I worked as a facilitator at a learning center for adults and went back to school,” she says. The couple returned to the U.S. in 2007 by way of Corpus Christi, Texas, and Panama City soon thereafter. Casey finished the MSN (healthcare education emphasis), in January 2009.
During her short stint in Corpus Christi, Casey had gotten a foot in the door at Del Mar College. She loved the environment and the students, but moved back to Panama City just 18 months after starting—and was fortunate enough to get a full-time assistant professor of nursing job at Gulf Coast State College. Once again, the Navy brought her husband back to Japan in 2012. Casey worked as a coordinator for Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) and did volunteer work while raising her young son.
Settling down in Texas
In 2014, Casey’s husband was planning his retirement from the Navy and the couple discussed where they would like to settle down. “We had bought a home while we were in Corpus Christi and really liked the town, the school system for our son and being close to the water,” she says. Planning ahead, she called the nursing program director while still living in Japan to see if there might be any full-time openings for nursing instructors in the year to come. “She told me they were hiring right then! I didn’t want to miss my chance, so I applied, interviewed by Skype and was hired.” Casey and her son returned to Corpus Christi that August so she could begin working, while her husband completed his duties in Japan. He joined them a year later.
Following in grandma’s footsteps
Not long after arriving at Del Mar College, Casey began thinking about earning a doctorate. “I always figured I would get a doctorate one day, and when I discovered how much I loved teaching, it seemed like the next right step,” she says. Casey had selected a Ph.D. in education program, but after attending a conference, she met one of American Sentinel University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice deans. “The DNP Educational Leadership sounded perfect for me. It was a crazy time in our life, with my husband retiring from the Navy and getting settled, but that’s our life! I decided to go for it, and my husband was so supportive.”
Alongside other students
Casey started the DNP Educational Leadership in August 2015. While she works toward a December 2017 finish, her husband is also in school, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in environmental science. Her son, now 10, is starting fifth grade.
When she enrolled, Casey learned that several of her fellow faculty members at Del Mar College were also starting the DNP. “It was such an awesome coincidence,” she says. “Several of them started in April and I started in August. It’s been wonderful to have the support of colleagues. I’m really looking forward to a whole group of us attending graduation together in June 2018!”
An applicable curriculum
For her capstone project, Casey is focusing on the impact of a nurse faculty success program and whether such a program would impact teaching effectiveness. She draws on her own experience when she was a new faculty member both at Del Mar and Gulf Coast State College. For the 2017-2018 school year, Casey will be chair of the faculty development committee. “I’m excited to implement what I’ve studied. The goal is to make this a great place for faculty, which impacts the student experience as well.”
As she nears the finish line, Casey says the DNP Educational Leadership program has been very applicable to her role at Del Mar. “I feel current on what is happening in the world of nursing education,” she says. “This program has built me as a professional.”
Inspired by Casey’s story? A DNP with a specialization in educational leadership prepares master’s-educated nurses for leadership roles in nursing education programs. When you acquire new knowledge, you can apply it to nursing practice in ways that enhance patient care and improve outcomes.