Outstanding Graduate Bobi Jo Martinez earns Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree

I love what I do, I love to inspire people, and I love making sure that patients have the best care possible.

Bobi Jo Martinez ’18, ’21

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – In the face of multiple obstacles, Islander student Bobi Jo Martinez ’18, ’21 not only completed a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) this summer but also earned a substantial career promotion during her latest academic endeavor.

The two-time Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi alumna says her passion for patient care grew into an aspiration to revolutionize the health care system, changes she says wouldn’t have been possible without earning a DNP.

Apart from making impactful modifications to systems and service lines in her career as a nurse and nurse leader, Martinez excelled in academia and is graduating on Aug. 7 with a 4.0 GPA. This, along with other accolades, contributed to her selection as the Summer 2021 Outstanding Graduate for the College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CONHS). The honor is sponsored by the TAMU-CC Office of the Provost.

“I am humbled and honored,” Martinez said. “I love what I do, I love to inspire people, and I love making sure that patients have the best care possible.”

Martinez says a traumatic event as a child – witnessing her mother have a post-partum hemorrhage after her fifth cesarean section – sparked her interest in nursing.

“I never desired another 10-year-old girl to wonder if her mom wasn’t coming home after having a baby,” said Martinez, who earned an Associate Degree in Nursing from Del Mar College in 2009. “Our brother came home, but my mom spent months in the ICU. Changing healthcare is my passion, and I know I needed my Doctorate in Nursing Practice to accomplish it.”

Martinez, who has worked for Corpus Christi Medical Center (CCMC) and HCA Corporate since 2013, went on to earn a Master of Science in Nursing from TAMU-CC in spring 2018. In fall 2018, she started the DNP program.

“No one could have imagined in fall 2018 the challenges our doctoral students would encounter, and yet our students overall have persevered,” said Dr. Bunny Forgione, CONHS Executive Associate Dean and Martinez’s DNP chair, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Bobi Jo has been a leader within her cohort as well as a champion for other students.”

Islander Bobi Jo Martinez '18, '21

While teaching at as an adjunct professor at A&M-Corpus Christi's College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Martinez is also the Director of Women's Services at Corpus Christi Medical Center.

During her DNP studies, Martinez became a mentor and clinical adjunct for TAMU-CC nursing students, while also continuing her full-time responsibilities at CCMC.

“I adore helping bring future nurses into the profession that I love so much,” said Martinez. “I tell them to be the best they can be, and when they can give a little more, take that time. I want them to treat their patients like family. Patients come to us when they are vulnerable, and we need to be compassionate.”

In spring 2020, at the height of the pandemic and during the middle of the rigorous DNP program, Martinez was promoted to Director of Women’s Services at CCMC.

“Bobi Jo takes it upon herself to provide exceptional support and service to the laboring community at CCMC and for the Corpus Christi community,” said Dr. Cory Taylor, Assistant Chief Nursing Officer at CCMC and mentor to Martinez. “She discerns quickly the dynamic needs for the women’s health population and moves efficiently to provide key information to make improvements.”

When Martinez took on the director role, her unit was only six months away from applying for a Maternal IV designation, which is the highest level of care a hospital in this area can be certified for and would be a first for Corpus Christi. Facing nearly insurmountable odds, including a pandemic and the departure of 30 nurses due to retirement, family circumstances, or travel jobs, Martinez was nevertheless able to secure the designation.

“I was working 16-hour days and coming home to work on schoolwork,” said the mother of four. “I was working as a bedside nurse for day, night, and weekend shifts, while also pulling duties as a director and manager. I hired 17 new nurses and had them trained by Christmas. I cried happy tears during winter break because of the sacrifice my family made and in awe of my self-determination.”

In February 2021, in the middle of a rare South Texas ice storm, Martinez slipped in the parking lot at work, fracturing her dominant hand.

“I had to have surgery and was unable to type for six weeks,” she said. “This was it. Everyone said, ‘This is God’s way of slowing you down,’ but I knew I couldn’t slow down. The work I was doing and the sacrifices I was making couldn’t be for nothing.”

Martinez says if it wasn’t for Forgione, Taylor, and her professors, she would not have prevailed through the semester. After months of physical therapy and countless doctor’s appointments, her hand healed.

Martinez, a first-generation college graduate, is now surrounded by family nurses, including her eldest daughter and youngest sister.

“All I really wanted was to be a mentor to my family, to show them that anything is possible if you put the time to it, if you take it a day at a time, an hour at a time, or a minute at a time,” Martinez said.

Martinez says now that she holds the terminal degree in nursing, her goals are to encourage other nurses to attain a DNP.

“The more nurses who engage in a DNP program, the better our hospital system will be. We have a lot of talented health care professionals in Corpus Christi, and we need to grow them to be ready for whatever challenges lie ahead,” Martinez said. “When I speak of the programs I have completed, my Islander heart shines bright! The leadership and validity of the Island University allows me to encourage young leaders to pursue a degree from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.”