The nursing programs at University of Hawaiʻi campuses on Kauaʻi, Maui and at Mānoa have joined forces to help more students graduate with a bachelor’s degree and put more nurses to work on the neighbor islands.
The community colleges and Mānoa have revised their curricula—no small achievement—so nursing students on all three islands are taking the same courses, allowing the neighbor island students to earn their bachelor’s degrees without having to transfer and move to Mānoa. In the final year of the program, Mānoa will provide courses through video conferencing, the web and in clinical preceptorships on the students’ home islands.
“It’s taken several years to make this happen,” says Char Ono, nursing chairwoman for Kauaʻi Community College. “It’s something we all got inspired to do when UH Mānoa’s nursing program invited us to hear a guest speaker from an Oregon institution that has successfully implemented a similar program.”
On the three islands, 125 students have begun the new curriculum.
“The new Hawaiʻi statewide nursing curriculum fulfills a dream of Maui nursing faculty, the opportunity for our nursing graduates to achieve the bachelor of science in nursing and apply that level of nursing knowledge to meeting the health care needs of our communities,” says Nancy Johnson, chair of the allied health department at UH Maui College.
“The importance of this statewide education transformation cannot be overstated,” adds Mary Boland, dean of UH Mānoa’s School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene. “Until now, only about 5 percent of community college graduates completed their bachelor’s degrees in nursing. With the statewide consortium, we expect those graduation rates to dramatically increase and strengthen the workforce on the neighbor islands,” Boland said.
“The students are loving it so far,” says Ono. “Every one of them we’ve asked so far says they are committed now to achieving a bachelor’s degree, and that’s exciting.”
UH President M.R.C. Greenwood has established as one of her top goals increasing the number of college graduates in Hawaiʻi by 25 percent by 2015. “Innovative partnerships like this one is how we are all going to achieve that goal,” Greenwood says. “I congratulate the nursing programs for their hard work on behalf of UH students statewide.”