Mary Boland and event sponsor Art Gladstone

Pacific Business News has recognized Mary G. Boland, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene dean, as a Healthcare Hero in the administrative excellence category at the 2015 Healthiest Employer and Healthcare Hero event on Thursday, July 30. This is the first year Pacific Business News has recognized individuals who are making a difference in the healthcare community.

Boland was nominated for her indelible contributions to the local healthcare community. Over her decade of service to Hawaiʻi’s healthcare and nursing communities, she has led initiatives to increase the number of nurses to address nursing shortages, led program expansion at the graduate level to respond to primary care provider shortages and engaged in interdisciplinary activities, including partnership with the state Department of Education to re-establish school nurses in the public school system in Hawaiʻi.

“As an education leader, I am inspired by the opportunity to steward the UH Mānoa School of Nursing, which is a precious state asset,” said Boland. “In doing so, I engage with amazing Hawaiʻi public and private leaders who have embraced me with their ‘can-do’ spirit. The recognition by peers in the health and business communities is much appreciated.”

A champion for nursing competency

Most recently, Boland spearheaded and achieved passage of continuing competency requirements for nurses in Hawaiʻi. For five years, she worked to gain statewide and local support by disseminating the importance of this bill for nursing and for safe patient care, and working with legislators and the Board of Nursing to ensure questions related to the implementation of this bill were answered with evidence based information.

Boland’s ability to engage stakeholders across the healthcare sector’s many disciplines to achieve actionable outcomes is a signature of her contribution to the state. Championing continuing competency for nurses is a key marker of her contributions to the healthcare community, as it will establish the culture of lifelong learning in nursing practice with the aims of providing safe and quality care to the people of Hawaiʻi.

Under her leadership, the nursing department has reorganized the bachelor of science in nursing program, using the consortium model, to support nursing students graduating with associate degrees in nursing across the state to achieve a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She also developed an executive RN program to facilitate working nurses with associate degrees in nursing to achieve a bachelor of science in nursing while maintaining full-time nursing schedules. The school expanded to include a graduate entry program in nursing to address Hawaiʻi’s primary care provider shortage as well as a doctorate of nursing practice.

Under her stewardship, the school is moving up in national rankings. In 2015 U.S. News and World Report magazine the school ranked #83 for Best Graduate Nursing Schools and #70 for Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs.

School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene news release