The nursing programs at the University of Hawai’i on Kaua’i, Maui and at Manoa have joined forces to help more students graduate with a bachelor’s degree, and put more nurses to work on the neighbor islands.
The colleges and Manoa have revised their curriculums–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 Manoa. In the final year of the program, Manoa 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,” said Char Ono, nursing chairwoman for Kaua’i Community College. “It’s something we all got inspired to do when UH Manoa’s nursing program invited us to hear a guest speaker from an Oregon institution which has successfully implemented a similar program.”
On the three islands, 125 students have begun the new curriculum.
“The new Hawai’i 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,” said Nancy Johnson, chair of Allied Health at UH Maui College.
“The importance of this statewide education transformation cannot be overstated,” said Mary Boland, dean of UH Manoa’s School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene. “Up until now, only about 5 percent of community college students graduates completed their bachelor’s degree 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 Hawai’i Nursing Consortium will expand to include Kapio’lani Community College on O’ahu by 2012 at the latest and Hawai’i Community College in the next few years.
“The students are loving it so far,” said 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 Hawai’i by 25 percent by 2015. “Innovative partnerships like this one is how we are all going to achieve that goal,” said Greenwood. “I congratulate the nursing programs for their hard work on behalf of UH students statewide.”