UH Manoa School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene Receives National Grant for its Advanced Practice Nursing Program

Health Resources and Services Administration Awards $1 Million Grant

University of Hawaiʻi
Posted: Oct 23, 2003

HONOLULU — The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa‘s School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene has been awarded a $1 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to enhance the primary health care nurse practitioner track at the School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene.

The project will enhance advanced nurse education through the preparation of primary health care nurse practitioners to work in rural and underserved areas in Hawaiʻi. Nurse graduates of the program will improve access to primary health care services for vulnerable individuals, families, and communities with specific attention to the Native Hawaiian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander clients as well as those with special needs.

The "Primary Health Care of Vulnerable People in Communities Project" was funded over the last three years and will now receive an additional $1 million to support the project until June 2005. Grant Director Nancy Smith was instrumental in the project‘s success and continued funding. Smith is a nationally recognized nurse practitioner, a Fellow in the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, and recipient of the 2001 Outstanding Nurse Practitioner Educator Award by the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties.

Smith will be leaving the position as project director but will provide consultation to the project. Dr. Victoria Niederhauser, assistant professor and pediatric nurse practitioner, will serve as project director.

Advanced practice nurses (APRN) are registered nurses who have advanced education at the graduate level. According to Hawaiʻi state statute and administrative rules, APRNs can perform assessment, prevention, and the utilization of medical, therapeutic, or corrective measures. These nurses are able to have prescriptive authority and are nationally certified in their area of specialty.

While the first nurse practitioner program in the country was in 1965, advanced practice nursing in Hawaiʻi is in its early developmental stages with only 176 family nurse practitioners registered in the entire state. Recent graduates of the program are working both with underserved populations and in rural settings on the islands of Hawaiʻi, Kauaʻi, Maui, and Oʻahu.

"The Advanced Practice Nursing Program at UH Mānoa not only educated me for the job market, but more importantly, the program helped me to develop skills necessary to conduct health assessments for both the individual and large populations," said program graduate Jamie Boyd, who is now an advanced practice nurse at Leeward Community College Student Health Center, program director for Ka ʻAina ʻIke, and a doctoral student at UH Mānoa. "Those skills contributed to my ability to identify a serious health risk related to nutrition and exercise among college students, develop an intervention program and secure significant funding to support a three-year program."

"While a student in the program, I provided health care to homeless individuals throughout rural areas on the island of Oʻahu," said Lisa Perry, APRN and a program graduate. "My experiences in the program helped me make the transition from staff nurse on an obstetric floor in a hospital to providing family planning services directly to patients and counseling them on contraceptive choices and prenatal care."

Perry is now giving back to the program by establishing a mentoring program to assist future APRNs. "One of the goals of the mentoring program would be to assist students, faculty and preceptors develop a network of professional support for their fellow peers practicing in the community," stated Perry.