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Kimberly Kelly-Cortez

Senior Associate Dean and Director of Programs for the Prelicensure BSN

Dr. Kimberly Kelly Cortez is the Senior Associate Dean and Director of Programs for the Prelicensure BSN program at Western Governors University (WGU). Dr. Kimberly Kelly-Cortez began her career with WGU in 2014 as the Texas State Director of Nursing. During her time in the state role the Texas Prelicesnure program grew from its initial enrollment of 75 students to over 450 students and clinical partnerships from 5 to over 40 in the state.  She also had the opportunity to open the first regional lab for Prelicensure students in Houston. In her national role, Dr. Kelly-Cortez has continued to support the growth of the Prelicensure program as well as opening new states in a regional out of state clinical model. She received her BA (history and education) from Texas A&M University and her MSEd (Education and Administration) from the University of Houston Clear Lake. She worked in the public school system for ten years, five of which as an Assistant Principal and Dean of Students at an urban middle and high school. She then earned her BSN and PhD in nursing from the University of Texas Medical Branch. Dr. Kelly-Cortez’s nursing focus was on emergency nursing and also had roles in clinical education for various hospital systems. In September she also completed her MBA at WGU.

Dr. Kelly-Cortez is an NLN certified nurse educator (CNE) and is certified in nursing professional development by the ANCC (RN-BC). Dr. Kelly-Cortez’s dissertation focused on the effect of human patient simulation on the perceived self-efficacy of medial surgical nurses in managing cardiac emergencies. Her research continues to focus on student success, programmatic excellence, Competency Based Education, DEI, and the use of simulation in both the academic and hospital setting. She has also presented research related to NCLEX pass rates at local and national conferences including the NLN Education Summit in 2018 and 2020 along with presenting on Competency Based Education and Alternate Clinical Models at the NLN Summit in 2020 and on Diversity is BSN prelicensure programs in 2022 at the AACN conference. Her experience in nursing includes emergency nursing, nursing education, nursing leadership, and as undergraduate nursing faculty. Dr. Kelly-Cortez was a 2014-2015 AACN Leadership for Academic Nursing Program (LANP) fellow.  She is a member of the Texas Organization of Nurse Executives, American Nurses Association, Texas Nurses Association, the Texas Organization of Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing Education and the Association of Nursing Professional Development.  Dr. Kelly-Cortez also sits on the Texas Team Action Coalitions Education council and the Lee College Program Advisory Council.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Nursing Education
  • Healthcare Education
  • Nursing Leadership
  • Nursing Faculty

Education and Certifications:

  • University of Texas Medical Branch, PhD Nursing Science
  • Western Governors University, MBA
  • University of Houston-Clear Lake, MS Educational Leadership and Administration
  • University of Texas Medical Branch, BS Nursing Science
  • Texas A&M University, BA History and Education
  • Certified Nurse Educator, National League for Nursing (NLN)
  • Nursing Professional Development, American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)

Affiliations:

  • American Nurse Association (ANA)
  • National League of Nursing (NLN)
  • Association of Nursing Professional Development (ANPD)
  • Texas Organization of Nurse Executives (TONL)
  • Texas Nurses Association
  • Texas Organization of Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing Education
    Texas Team Action Coalitions Education Council

Areas of Expertise:

  • Nursing Education
  • Healthcare Education
  • Nursing Leadership
  • Nursing Faculty

Education and Certifications:

  • University of Texas Medical Branch, PhD Nursing Science
  • Western Governors University, MBA
  • University of Houston-Clear Lake, MS Educational Leadership and Administration
  • University of Texas Medical Branch, BS Nursing Science
  • Texas A&M University, BA History and Education
  • Certified Nurse Educator, National League for Nursing (NLN)
  • Nursing Professional Development, American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)

Affiliations:

  • American Nurse Association (ANA)
  • National League of Nursing (NLN)
  • Association of Nursing Professional Development (ANPD)
  • Texas Organization of Nurse Executives (TONL)
  • Texas Nurses Association
  • Texas Organization of Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing Education
    Texas Team Action Coalitions Education Council

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