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Sherae Dauhn Hanchett

Sherae Dauhn Hanchett is a Maui nurse and a mother of three who aims to be an example for other healthcare professionals in her rural Hana community. Hanchett earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in May, and is the first in her family to attain a bachelor’s degree. Her path to nursing was driven by a strong desire to care for her grandparents and enhance the consistency of healthcare in her community. It started when she lost her job as a waitress in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic and was hired at the Hāna Health.

My goal is to eliminate barriers to healthcare despite the challenges of our rural setting.
—Sherae Hanchett

“Seeing a lot of different doctors and nurses coming and going at Hāna Health while I was growing up made me realize we needed more consistent care,” Hanchett said. “People in our community were worried about seeing new healthcare providers all the time, and I felt I could do something about it.”

She began her nursing education at UH Maui College in August 2021, where her instructors recognized her potential and encouraged her to pursue further education. The decision to enroll in UH Mānoa’s Online RN to BSN program at the Nancy Atmospera-Walch School of Nursing was greatly influenced by her family’s strong support, including her three children and longtime boyfriend, and the convenience of earning her degree from home.

“Sherae shines as a remarkable nursing student, showcasing exceptional motivation and unwavering determination,” said Michele Bray, associate professor and director of the Online RN to BSN program. “She devoted her population health nursing project to educating the youth of Hana, Maui, delving into a series of health teachings focusing on improving the quality of life, health outcomes, and post-high school career pursuits in healthcare.”

As a recipient of the Zimmerman Scholarship and financial support from the Maui Nurse Scholarship Foundation, Hanchett was able to fully cover the cost of her tuition at UH Mānoa.

“Without it, the financial strain would have kept me from taking on this educational journey,” she said. “This allowed me to focus on my studies, work and family, making my goal feel attainable.”

Challenging “road” to her degree

hanchett with family members
Hanchett holding up a photo of her late grandfather at her UH Maui College graduation, with her boyfriend and children, Alize (17), Aubree (12) and Akiko (7).

Hanchett’s academic journey faced many challenges, especially the long and difficult commute during her associate degree in nursing program. She drove 51 miles one-way along the windy Hana Highway to attend classes at UH Maui College multiple times a week for two years. Despite these obstacles, the support from her family, employer and community kept her motivated.

“The encouragement from everyone was amazing,” Hanchett shared. “My entire journey has been defined by perseverance, support and a commitment to making a positive impact in my community.”

Reflecting on her experience as a nurse during the Maui wildfires in August 2023, Hanchett felt the emotional toll of the disaster.

“While I wasnʻt directly impacted, it was heartbreaking to witness the devastation from afar,” she said. “We in Hana were on standby, ready to assist. It was so encouraging to see the broader Maui community come together and provide huge support, demonstrating our remarkable solidarity in times of crisis.”

sherae hanchett wearing lei
Hāna Health recognizes Hanchett for becoming its newest nurse. (Photo credit: Hāna Health)

Setting a standard

Now, as a BSN-educated nurse at Hāna Health, Hanchett is more equipped than ever to serve her community, connecting them with essential healthcare resources and inspiring future healthcare professionals.

“My goal is to eliminate barriers to healthcare despite the challenges of our rural setting,” Hanchett said. “At Hāna Health, we’re committed to expanding access through mobile clinics, virtual appointments and community partnerships. Education is key, so we offer programs on chronic disease management and nutrition to ensure our community stays healthy.”

—By Arlene Abiang

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