Nursing at Mānoa celebrates history, looks to the future
Since 2005, students practice skills in the SimMan lab
No one has to convince University of Hawaat iʻi Mānoa School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene Dean Mary Boland that nursing requires intellectual rigor and produces remarkable leaders. Still, she was impressed by the individuals honored as Hawaiʻi nursing’s Fabulous 50 in celebration of the school’s 50 years of accredited baccalaureate nursing education. "What struck me was the breadth and depth of their activities. Nursing is a stepping stone to a whole range of careers, "Boland says.
UH alumni among the Fab 50 include experts (Tripler Army Medical Center’s Patricia Nishimoto, MPH ’79, is internationally known in oncology circles), groundbreakers (Mary Frances Oneha, BS ’81, is the first Native Hawaiian nurse to earn a PhD), planners (Toby Clairmont, AS ’83, leads Hawaiʻi’s Disaster Medical Assistance Team) and advocates (Ruth Ota, MPH ’90, promotes service to populations with special needs). All inspire students with their contributions to the community and commitment to lifelong learning, Boland says.
Nursing shortages have come and gone, but the dean doesn’t expect the current demand to abate anytime soon. And that, she says, creates opportunities for innovation. Witness—
- Accelerated programs—intensive 18-month nursing training for people who have a bachelor’s degree in another field, coursework for registered nurses who want their BS and a program slated for January 2008 that moves students directly into advanced training so they can achieve a specialty within three years. Nurses tend to focus on family responsibilities, delaying graduate studies, Boland says. "I think this will open up the career track earlier, addressing the need for nurses in leadership and teaching positions."
- Outreach—using distance education technologies so nurses with associate degrees can earn their bachelor’s and doctoral candidates can complete their degrees without having to move to Oʻahu or quit their jobs.
- Retention—offering seminars with alumni and cooperative education placements to better equip new graduates for their critical first year of employment. Nursing programs throughout the state are working with employers to explore paid work experience during the lag between graduation and national licensing exams.
- Collaboration—so UH’s six nursing programs can move to one curriculum with multiple exit points. Nursing directors at Mānoa, UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi, Kapiʻolani, Kauaʻi and Maui Community Colleges meet monthly to work out the nuts and bolts, Boland says. "Only 5 percent of Hawaiʻi nurses with an associate degree, compared to more than 20 percent nationally, earn a bachelor’s degree. We can change that"
- Partnerships—with other institutions, including the University of California, San Francisco, on academic training and the University of Washington for creation and dissemination of new knowledge pertinent to health disparities.
- Research—a key distinction for a Mānoa academic unit. Since the school’s research office began assisting faculty with research proposals and grant applications three years ago, research funding has increased by 600 percent and the school has won National Institutes of Health funding for four projects.
School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene highlights
- 1931 Dental hygiene curriculum offered in the Teacher’s College
- 1932 One-year public health nursing program offered
- 1944 BS launched in public health nursing and nursing education
- 1951 School of Nursing established; BS approved in 1952
- 1956 Nursing program first accredited by the National League of Nursing
- 1961 Dental hygiene program moved to nursing school
- 1965 Associate and master’s nursing programs added
- 1983 BS in dental hygiene degree approved
- 1998 PhD in nursing degree established
- 2002 Accelerated fast-track nursing BS pathway offered
- 2003 Legislatively created State Center for Nursing housed at Mānoa
- 2005 Simulation laboratory established