The need for nurses in Hawaii is going up. One of the biggest drivers of that rise in demand is an aging population — projections expect elderly residents to make up a full 20% of the populace by 2030.

The specialized needs of geriatric patients should drive increased demand for nurses in hospitals, rehab centers and residential care facilities, but other clinical environments are likely to need their services as well. Opportunities are also expected to increase in intensive care units, physicians’ offices, ambulatory health care services and more.

On this page, you’ll find information on how to become a nurse in Hawaii, details about nursing certification and licensure in the state and facts about professional organizations than can help you stay ahead of the game.

Best Nursing Schools in Hawaii

When seeking the best nursing programs in Hawaii, it might be tough to know where to begin — especially since there were 10 schools offering nursing degrees in the state in 2018. We’ve gathered data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and analyzed it, helping to narrow down the search by providing prospective nursing students with rankings of Hawaii’s top nursing colleges.

We looked at undergraduate and graduate programs separately, so you’ll find two different lists below. Check out the schools that catch your eye, and feel free to scroll to the bottom of the page for more information on the methodology we used to calculate the scores and rankings.

Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$3,024
Undergraduate graduation rate
21%
Undergraduate retention rate
62%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
66%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$23,180
Undergraduate graduation rate
57%
Undergraduate retention rate
74%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
100%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$7,200
Undergraduate graduation rate
35%
Undergraduate retention rate
71%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
82%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$10,872
Undergraduate graduation rate
58%
Undergraduate retention rate
77%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
72%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$3,024
Undergraduate graduation rate
18%
Undergraduate retention rate
67%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
63%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$3,024
Undergraduate graduation rate
18%
Undergraduate retention rate
63%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
53%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$23,160
Undergraduate graduation rate
42%
Undergraduate retention rate
65%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
95%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$11,579
Undergraduate graduation rate
25%
Undergraduate retention rate
%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
50%

Nursing Accreditation in Hawaii

Only students who graduate from accredited degree programs are eligible to receive a nursing license in the state of Hawaii, so choosing a nursing college that has earned accreditation is an absolute must. Before you enroll in a nursing program, make sure it’s accredited by at least one of the following organizations:

  • Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
  • Accrediting Commission for Schools – Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
  • American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)

Hawaii Nursing Licensure

All nurses in the state of Hawaii must become licensed before they can work with patients. Only those who graduated in good standing from an accredited nursing program and received a passing grade on the appropriate National Council Licensure Examination — the NCLEX-RN for registered nurses (RNs) or the NCLEX-PN for licensed practical nurses (LPNs) — are eligible for a Hawaii nursing license. Licensure also requires completing an application, undergoing a criminal background check, providing official academic transcripts and remitting a $40 fee.

Nurse practitioners (NPs) and other advanced practice nurses (APRNs) are required to hold licenses both as an RN and as an APRN. In addition, APRNs with the authority to prescribe medication must submit proof of current national certification in their specialty. Visit the Hawaii State Board of Nursing for more in-depth licensing information.

Hawaii Nursing organizations

Professional nursing organizations can be a source of information, advocacy, mentorship and much more for nurses. Membership in the following organizations can bring several benefits to a nursing career at just about any stage, whether you’re a student, a working nurse, a nursing administrator or a mentor yourself.

  • American Organization of Nurse Executives – Hawaii:

    This national organization has a strong presence in Hawaii through its regional chapter, where nurses can take advantage of professional development, advocacy and access to information on new research relevant to their nursing practice.

  • Hawaii Association of Professional Nurses:

    In addition to information on news, events and resources for nurses, this association offers job alerts and a nursing assistance program for members of the profession who might be facing burnout or other professional difficulties.

  • Hawaii Nurses Association:

    Founded in 1917, this nursing union sustains a wealth of advocacy and opportunity for nurses in the state, including free professional development courses, industry conferences and dedicated work toward positive changes for nurses in the Aloha State.

  • Healthcare Association of Hawaii:

    Open to healthcare providers across the state, the HAH is very active in ensuring proper healthcare for all patients. They do this by supplying members with opportunities to come together and share their knowledge, releasing studies and reports on evidence-based care, and much more.

Hawaii-Specific Continuing Education

Nursing licenses expire on June 30 of each odd-numbered year. During each two-year licensing period, nurses must complete one of several potential “learning activities,” such as 30 hours of continuing education or a refresher course, in order to be eligible to renew their license. APRNs must provide proof of at least 30 hours of continuing education (CE) during a two-year period, eight hours of which must be in pharmacology.

Hawaii nurses who renewed their licenses prior to July 2017 were not subject to specific CE requirements, but the state legislature made such classes mandatory after determining that they had a direct impact on the quality of care. For an in-depth look at Hawaii’s continuing education rules and regulations, take a look at the Continuing Competency Guidance and Information Booklet

Hospitals in Hawaii

Nursing students can learn a great deal through hands-on clinical work and internships at local hospitals. In fact, nursing students in Hawaii take part in more than 100,000 hours of service per year at major medical centers. Here’s a quick synopsis of three of the most prominent hospitals in the state:

  • The Queen’s Medical Center (Honolulu): With a history dating back almost 160 years, this nonprofit healthcare center is recognized as the only Level 1 trauma center in the state. It’s also a major teaching hospital, creating a supportive environment for nurses and other healthcare professionals to hone and maintain their skills.
  • Kuakini Medical Center (Honolulu): Founded as the Japanese Charity Hospital in 1900, the Kuakini Medical Center is the seventh largest private acute care hospital in the state. It’s also home to the largest active volunteer group for a healthcare organization in Hawaii, boasting over 400 members.
  • Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center & Clinic (Honolulu): Patients at Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center have access to emergency room care, after-hours visits and specialty clinical services. The comprehensive list of services provided by the hospital includes everything from the Diabetic Limb Treatment Center to infectious disease specialists and dozens more.
Sources & Methodology

Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we gathered data for 6,758 United States institutions. We then filtered that list of schools by state and analyzed the data for each state with two different methodologies, in order to create two different lists: our undergraduate list, based on 11 ranking criteria, and our graduate list, based on 9 ranking criteria.

Final data for the 2016-17 school year was used for these rankings. Schools that did not provide data for all of the required ranking criteria were disqualified from that ranking.

The 11 criteria for the undergraduate school ranking were as follows:

  1. Number of associate-level degree programs offered to nursing-related majors
  2. Number of associate-level nursing-related degree programs offered via distance education
  3. Variety of associate-level nursing-related degree programs offered
  4. Tuition
  5. Retention rate
  6. Graduation rate
  7. Average amount of federal grant aid awarded to full-time first-time undergraduates
  8. Percent of full-time first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
  9. Credit offerings (Military, Dual, Life Experience, AP)
  10. Services (Career Counseling, Placement Services)
  11. Availability of tuition plans (Guaranteed, Prepaid, Payment, Other)

The graduate school ranking scored schools based on 9 criteria, different from the undergraduate list. These 9 criteria were as follows:

  1. Number of master’s-level degree programs offered to nursing-related majors
  2. Number of master’s-level nursing-related degree programs offered via distance education
  3. Variety of master’s-level nursing-related degree programs offered
  4. Tuition
  5. Retention rate
  6. Graduation rate
  7. Credit offerings (Military, Dual, Life Experience, AP)
  8. Services (Career Counseling, Placement Services)
  9. Availability of tuition plans (Guaranteed, Prepaid, Payment, Other)

All schools were scored on a 10-point scale for each of the points listed above. Individual data point scores were then multiplied by their respective weights, and the scores were added together, for a maximum possible score of 10 points.

NOTE: Schools’ tuition amounts are based on 2016-17 undergraduate and graduate data reported to the National Center for Education Statistics. The actual cost of tuition may vary.

 

Sources

  1. Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, Accessed January 2018, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  2. American Hospital Directory, https://www.ahd.com/
  3. Board of Nursing, Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Professional and Vocational Licensing, http://cca.hawaii.gov/pvl/boards/nursing/
  4. Hawaii Long Term Care Association, Our Mission, https://www.hltca.org/
  5. Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center, https://healthy.kaiserpermanente.org/hawaii/facilities/Kaiser-Permanente-Moanalua-Medical-Center-100434
  6. Kaukini Medical Center, Kaukini at a Glance, https://www.kuakini.org/wps/portal/public/About-Us/Kuakini-at-a-Glance
  7. Professional Nursing Organizations, University of Hawaii at Manoa, School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene, https://nursing.hawaii.edu/nursing-student-resources/professional-nursing-organizations/
  8. The Queen’s Medical Center, About Us, https://www.queens.org/the-queens-medical-center/about-us/about-us-qmc
  9. University of Hawaii at Manoa, School of Nursing & Dental Hygiene, Fast Facts – Nursing, https://nursing.hawaii.edu/about/fast-facts-nursing/

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