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New program at UH West Oʻahu opens pathway to nursing career

New program at UH West Oʻahu opens pathway to nursing career

New program at UH West Oʻahu opens pathway to nursing career

By Zenaida Serrano Arvman

A new initiative beginning in fall 2022 at the University of Hawai‘i–West O‘ahu addresses Hawai‘i’s nursing shortage by offering an opportunity for students interested in pursuing a career in nursing.

UH West O‘ahu’s Bachelor of Applied Science, Health Professions Program and UH Mānoa’s Nancy Atmospera-Walch School of Nursing (NAWSON) have partnered together for the new UH West O‘ahu Pre-Nursing Pathway, which is currently accepting applications for this semester. See UH News story for complete details.

“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 O‘ahu Chancellor Maenette Benham.

“It is the first step to becoming a nurse,” said Dr. Rebecca Romine, associate professor of Biology at UH West O‘ahu and co-lead for the Pre-Nursing Pathway. “The program prepares students to be eligible to apply to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at UH Mānoa.”

Through the Pre-Nursing Pathway, students will spend 1½ years (three semesters) completing pre-professional general education and foundational courses that prepare them for the BSN curriculum, including communication, psychology, English, statistics, anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and biochemistry. The program 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, Romine said.

“The UH West O‘ahu Pre-Nursing Pathway includes all the coursework and clinical experiences necessary to apply to a BSN program, but as it is housed on the UH West O‘ahu campus, it 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,” Romine noted.

Romine added that Pre-Nursing Pathway students will receive extra support from both UH West O‘ahu and UH Mānoa as they complete their courses at UH West O‘ahu.

“Specialized seminars, designed to provide academic and emotional support during the rigorous pre-nursing academic program, are required each semester,” she said. “Students meet with Student Success Advisors and Faculty Advisors multiple times during the pre-nursing program and are provided the opportunity to visit UH Mānoa’s Nursing facilities to meet faculty and staff prior to submitting their applications to the BSN program.”

UH West O‘ahu’s Nicole Akana, program coordinator for the Kumu Ola HCOP Summer Bridge and co-lead for the Pre-Nursing Pathway, said the Pre-Nursing Pathway at UH West O‘ahu allows accessibility to a much needed nursing program in the community.

“The unique articulation agreement between UH West O‘ahu and UH Mānoa Nancy Atmospera Walch School of Nursing provides the opportunity for many individuals who have wanted to be educated at a public institution close to home,” she said.

This program will allow students to have access to simulation labs and training facilities at both West O‘ahu and Mānoa campuses, with all prerequisites, corequisites, and nursing courses being taught at the West O‘ahu campus, Akana said.

Akana continued, “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.”

The Pre-Nursing Pathway is ideal for recent high school graduates and first-time-in college students interested in healthcare and nursing. Recent high school graduates who were enrolled in their high school Health Academy or who have experience as caregivers, certified nursing assistants, nurse’s aides, or medical assistants are also encouraged to apply. The first cohort of the UH West O‘ahu Pre-Nursing Pathway will start in August 2022. To learn more about eligibility, featured courses, and how to apply, visit

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