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nursing students and teacher
UH West Oʻahu pre-nursing pathway coordinator Nicole Akana instructs students on best practices.

The University of Hawaiʻi System is launching a new initiative to address Hawaiʻi’s nursing shortage by increasing access to baccalaureate education on the west side of Oʻahu. Beginning in the fall 2022 semester, a streamlined pathway to a BS degree in nursing will be available to interested students through a unique partnership between the UH West Oʻahu (UHWO) Bachelor of Applied Science, Health Professions Program and the UH Mānoa Nancy Atmospera-Walch School of Nursing (NAWSON).

UH West Oʻahu students interested in a career in nursing can apply to the new UH West Oʻahu Pre-Nursing Pathway that will prepare them for the UH Mānoa NAWSON Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

U H West Oahu campus
UH West Oʻahu

“This new collaborative partnership between UH West Oʻahu and UH Mānoa will help address Hawaiʻi’s nursing workforce shortage,” said UH President David Lassner. “By working together across the UH system we can prepare students who live in the rapidly growing West Oʻahu region for high-quality jobs that meet a critical state need.”

UH West Oʻahu Pre-Nursing Pathway students will apply to and enroll at UH West Oʻahu for three semesters and will physically complete courses at the UH West Oʻahu campus. This Pre-Nursing Pathway will fulfill all general education, prerequisite courses, and required courses for the UH West Oʻahu Pre-Nursing to UH Mānoa Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program.

Upon acceptance into the NAWSON Nursing program, students will complete an additional three years (6 semesters) as a UH Mānoa student, but will take in-person courses at UH West Oʻahu. After completion of the 9-semester program, the student will earn a Bachelor of Science degree from UH Mānoa.

Place-based, aina-based learning

The UH West Oʻahu portion of this pathway will help students gain the foundational science knowledge and practice the clinical skills needed to grow into clinicians and make an impact in the nursing profession and in the health of their community. The program fosters a holistic approach through incorporating Native Hawaiian values and principles, as well as place-based and ʻāina-based learning.

“This is the first step to becoming a nurse,” said Rebecca Romine, UH West Oʻahu associate professor of biology and co-lead for the Pre-Nursing Pathway. “The UHWO pathway is taught with a unique culture-based perspective in which concepts important to Hawai‘i and health within our community are integrated into the coursework.”

Courses closer to home

Pre-Nursing Pathway students will receive extra support from both UH West Oʻahu and UH Mānoa to ensure student success. Upon acceptance and enrollment into the UH Mānoa NAWSON Nursing Program, students will transfer their UH West Oʻahu credits and enroll with UH Mānoa. But instead of driving to Mānoa, students will take courses at UH West Oʻahu to reduce travel and receive instruction closer to their home communities.

Our faculty are committed to providing world-class nursing education and…bring our Mānoa nursing education to UH West Oʻahu
—Clementina Ceria-Ulep

“Our faculty are committed to providing world-class nursing education and in an effort to increase access to education—our faculty will bring our Mānoa nursing education to UH West Oʻahu,” said Clementina Ceria-Ulep, NAWSON interim dean. “This is an innovative and cost-efficient solution focused on cultivating student success and meeting workforce demands, which aligns with UH Mānoa’s mission. Our hope is that nurses who graduate from this pathway will remain in Hawaiʻi and serve in their home communities, which will increase access to healthcare for the people of Hawaiʻi.”

UH West Oʻahu’s Nicole Akana, program coordinator for the Kumu Ola Health Careers Opportunity Program Summer Bridge and co-lead for the Pre-Nursing Pathway, said the new pathway allows accessibility to a much needed nursing program in the community. “With Kapolei being the fastest growing region, so are the increased demands for healthcare. Thus, educating and training students to become registered nurses is a crucial goal for our community,” she said.

“This Pre-Nursing Pathway provides students, in our region, access to a first-rate program that will both strengthen our nursing workforce and graduate nurses committed to service in their home communities,” said UH West Oʻahu Chancellor Maenette Benham.

Apply today for the inaugural cohort

The UH West Oʻahu Pre-Nursing Pathway is ideal for recent high school graduates and first-time college students interested in healthcare and nursing. The first cohort of the UH West Oʻahu Pre-Nursing Pathway will start in August 2022. To learn more about eligibility, featured courses and how to apply visit

The first cohort will enroll with UH Mānoa NAWSON in January 2024. Learn more about the program. This full-time program will give priority to students currently enrolled in the UH West Oʻahu Pre-Nursing Pathway. Secondary priority will be given to UH West Oʻahu that meet criteria, and thereafter to UH Mānoa pre-nursing students that reside in Leeward Oʻahu.

graduates throw shakas
Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduates from the Nancy Atmospera-Walch School of Nursing
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