Bachelors of Science in Nursing in Hawaii

Right now only 49.4 percent of Hawaii’s nurses have a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN), a number that falls short of meeting the state’s projected demand for highly skilled nurses.

Job placement statistics for the months following graduate from a nursing program reveal that BSN-educated RNs are shown preference over those with only an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN). This is due in large part to the fact that as hospitals staff more BSN-educated RNs, patient mortality and patient re-admittance rates decline.

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According to a report released by the Hawaii Center for Nursing in 2013, BSN programs also have the most ethnically diverse student-nurse population in the state. A well-diversified student body has been shown to better prepare nurses to work with patient populations from a variety of cultural backgrounds.

With a BSN nurses will also have a greater choice of career possibilities. In addition to the roles available to traditional nurses, RNs who hold a BSN can also work in jobs like:

  • Nurse management positions
  • Telemetry nurse
  • Clinical supervisor
  • Nurse field service coordinator
  • Lecturer in a nursing school

Once students graduate from their BSN program they can take the NCLEX-RN Examination. Upon passing, they will work with the Professional and Vocational Licensing Division of Hawaii’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to apply for an RN license.

BSN Pre-Licensure Degree Programs in Hawaii

Students can usually complete their general undergraduate and prerequisite courses at accredited education facilities anywhere in the US or Hawaii, including through online programs, and transfer these credits to one of Hawaii’s BSN nursing schools. Nursing schools may also offer their core BSN curriculum online.

There are five colleges and universities that offer a pre-licensure BSN in Hawaii, located in three cities:

  • Honolulu
  • Hilo
  • Kaneohe

The main components of a BSN degree are:

  • General undergraduate courses – 0-15 semester credits
  • Prerequisite BSN courses – 30-45 semester credits
  • Core BSN major courses – 75-80 semester credits

Admission Requirements for BSN Programs in Hawaii

Every school in Hawaii has unique curriculum and admission standards, so it is important for candidates to check the specifics of each program.

There are two sets of admission standards prospective freshmen should keep in mind. The first are the general admission requirements to the university or college. Criteria that are usually considered are:

  • GPA
  • Personal character and achievements
  • SAT score

Next are the admission requirements for a particular school or department of nursing located within a larger college or university. Typically students can apply for admission to their school’s college of nursing as they approach the completion of their undergraduate and prerequisite courses. Standard nursing school admission requirements can include:

  • Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI) Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS)
  • Minimum grade requirement for prerequisite courses
  • Minimum GPA requirement for all college courses completed
  • Minimum SAT, ACT, or Compass Test scores

The clinical component of the BSN program also has its own entrance requirements. Candidates may need to meet these either before admission to the school of nursing or before commencement of the clinical period:

  • TB test and immunization clearance
  • CPR and first aid certification
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Proof of liability insurance

BSN Program Content

Undergraduate courses are determined by each university and can include everything from English to philosophy and history. By knowing their desired nursing program’s prerequisites, BSN candidates can often fulfill their general undergraduate course requirements with classes that also fulfill BSN prerequisites. Many students complete their undergrad and prereq courses online or through the community college system and then transfer to a four-year university that has a nursing program.

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Hawaii’s BSN prerequisites include courses like:

  • Pharmacology
  • Statistics and probability
  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Introduction to nursing
  • General chemistry
  • Nursing concepts
  • Human biology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

Upon acceptance to a school of nursing candidates will be able to start taking their core BSN nursing classes. These are upper-level courses that usually take around two years to complete, and include a clinical segment. Core nursing classes can be:

  • Pathophysiology
  • Professionalism in nursing
  • Complex disease
  • Nursing research
  • Community, global and public health
  • Cultural aspects of health management
  • Genetics
  • Nursing and leadership
  • Advanced pathophysiology and neurobiology
  • Children and family care nursing
  • Mental health nursing
  • Gerontologic nursing

Many core nursing courses are completed in a clinical setting. The actual location of the clinical can take place in a health care center affiliated with a college or university, or any health care facility that has a clinical agreement with the school of nursing. Students completing their studies online may be able to find a nearby health care facility that has a clinical agreement with their school of nursing.

To help its future medical professionals, some of Hawaii’s nursing schools have joined a centralized clinical system that allows participating students to complete their clinicals at any of the following health care facilities:

  • Castle Medical Center in Kailua
  • Kaiser Permanente Hawaii
  • The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu
  • Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu
  • Hawaii Pacific Health providers, including:
    • Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children in Honolulu
    • Pali Momi Medical Center in Aiea
    • Straub Clinic and Hospital in Honolulu and Mililani

Taking the NCLEX-RN Examination to Become a Licensed RN in Hawaii

Upon earning a BSN degree candidates should be prepared to pass the NCLEX-RN Examination with flying colors. Hawaii’s BSN programs usually contain a segment that is dedicated to preparing their students for this exam.

In 2013 the four BSN schools in Hawaii that reported their exam statistics had the following student pass rates for the NCLEX-RN Examination:

  • 82.76%
  • 80.51%
  • 73.26%
  • 52.63%

Prospective RNs can register for the exam through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). The testing company Pearson VUE administers the NCLEX-RN Examination, and candidates can prepare for this test by reviewing:

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