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'There was always someone there to help us'

On the cusp of graduation, Associate Degree Nursing student Crise Leal looks back at the personal touch she found at Blinn College

On the cusp of graduation, Associate Degree Nursing student Crise Leal looks back at the personal touch she found at Blinn College

November 30, 2023

Fueled by a desire to help others, Crise Leal’s journey to becoming a registered nurse began during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leal was already working in healthcare as a phlebotomist, but as she saw firsthand how many people needed a caring hand, she began to wonder whether she could push her boundaries and do more.

“It gave me time to think about my future, what I was doing, and what I wanted to do,” the native of Pasadena, Texas, said. “I decided to further my career because I wanted to continue helping people even in other aspects of the healthcare field.”

Determined to succeed as a nurse, Leal began researching associate degree nursing (ADN) programs and found that Blinn had a stellar reputation for student success. Blinn ADN students had National Council Licensure Exam first-attempt pass rates exceeding 93% in each of the past five years and accolades from impartial sites dedicated to helping students find premier programs, including, Nursing Schools Almanac,, and

Just as importantly, Leal found that Blinn offered a personal touch in guiding her through the application and registration process.

“Every time I spoke to anyone, faculty or staff, I noticed there was always someone there for support,” she said. “There was always someone there to help us and always someone there to help us jump those hurdles. That support, you don’t always find in other places and other communities, but here, I always felt it.”

Leal certainly appreciated that support as she worked toward her degree. With courses in anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and pharmacology, as well as courses and clinical experiences specifically designed to develop her nursing skills, Leal said there was just one word to describe the experience: challenging.

“Every aspect of it was challenging, but I really enjoyed it because I knew it was helping me prepare for a better future,” she said.

Perhaps Leal’s most effective learning tool was the opportunity to engage in hands-on activities. Blinn’s ADN Program is based at the RELLIS Academic Alliance Complex at Texas A&M-RELLIS in Bryan, and students there engage regularly in exercises utilizing the facility’s 16,000 square feet of simulation laboratories.

For Leal, that meant the opportunity to practice her skills in a controlled environment where she could even play back the video of her performance for review alongside her professors. In her final simulation exercise this semester, Blinn even brought in theatre students from the Bryan Campus who played a variety of patient roles, simulating injuries to make the experience as true to life as possible.

Now, Leal is preparing to graduate with her Associate of Applied Science in Nursing this December. Students who complete Blinn’s ADN Program and pass the national licensure exam have a job placement rate between 97 and 100% and are qualified for a wide array of nursing positions, including pediatric, geriatric, hospice, school, and clinical nursing. With demand soaring in the nursing field, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that registered nurses earn a median salary of $81,220.

At commencement, Leal will represent the Class of December 2023 as one of two student speakers.

“It feels surreal. I can’t believe it’s happening,” Leal said. “As time kept going, it only got more challenging and more challenging and sometimes it felt like I couldn’t do it, but because of all the support that exists, all I had to do was take that extra step, and that extra step would allow me to go into the next level and be successful. It really feels so surreal. I’m excited for it.”

After graduation, Leal plans to move to California to begin her career. She is debating whether to take a position in home health or work in intensive care, and she also is considering pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. As she prepares to leave Blinn and her native Texas, she is thankful she chose to return to school and pursue a new career path.

“Blinn College takes care of their students, Blinn College helps us succeed, and at Blinn College no one gets left behind,” Leal said. “As long as you take that one step forward, as long as you’re making an effort to move forward, there will be someone there to help you all throughout the way.”

For more information regarding Blinn’s ADN Program, visit

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