The University of Guam Nursing Program Career Ladder Successes
By Margaret Hattori-Uchima, PhD, RN
Interim Director, School of Nursing and Health Sciences
On May 26, 2013, the University of Guam School of Nursing and Health Sciences celebrated the graduation of 30 students who earned their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree! The Nursing program continues to maintain a quality program and strives to provide graduates with a strong educational foundation from which to become a successful Registered Nurse. Over the past several years, we have been fortunate to see an increase in graduates from Guam Community College attending our BSN program. We are proud of the efforts of these and other students seeking to progress through a nursing education career ladder.
The career ladder is an important component in health care workforce development and the University of Guam supports students in achieving the goal of obtaining a higher education. One of the priority areas identified in the federal Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention program (NEPQR) is the promotion of career advancement through career ladder programs for individuals in health care fields such as licensed practical nurses, nursing assistants, associate degree nurses, and others, to become baccalaureate prepared registered nurses to meet the needs of the registered nurse workforce (U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 2011).
Among our 30 graduates are five Guam Community College graduates from the Medical Assisting program and two from the Practical Nursing program. These seven students are examples of the success of the career ladder approach to nursing education.
These graduates are: Kyle Arevalo, Jeslene Escrupulo, Daisy Leones, Frances Nicdao, Dan-Michael Romulo, Jose Mari Galeno, and Kristine Verzosa.
The Medical Assisting graduates had also completed their Associate degrees at GCC, and most also obtained National Certification through the American Association of Medical Assistants. These students benefitted from their educational foundational from Guam Community College and strived to reach their ultimate goal while at the University of Guam. These students worked hard to achieve their goal of obtaining the BSN. We are proud of their accomplishments and pleased that the University of Guam was their choice for obtaining their BSN.
I was fortunate to work with the students in their Fundamentals of Nursing course when they were accepted into the Nursing program and watched their progress through their years at UOG. They were hard working, committed, and willing to learn. While they were able to apply their knowledge from their previous educational experiences, all were able to recognize and value the difference between the scope of practice of a Registered Nurse and that of Medical Assistants and Practical Nurses. This understanding is critical when those with previous health care education and work experience enter our BSN program. I truly appreciated that these students grew to understand the breadth and depth of the BSN education program and the importance of this education in becoming a safe and competent Registered Nurse.
During their Pinning Ceremony, I contemplated the journey that these students had made and was proud of their resilience, dedication, and commitment to earning their BSN degree. Many of them had been working in health care when they decided to continue their education. The journey was not an easy one, and they could have remained in their previous jobs and been proud of the achievements they had already made. However, the desire to become a Registered Nurse drove each of them to push forward, and strive to achieve their educational goals. Now, several have passed the NCLEX-RN, and others continue to prepare for the exam.
The faculty of the University of Guam Nursing Program continues to wish them well in achieving their career goals and know that the dedication they have will enable them to be successful! These wonderful individuals are role models for others seeking to advance through a career ladder approach. We continue to work with other GCC graduates, as well as those from other programs seeking to earn their BSN. Congratulations to all of our 2013 BSN graduates and we look forward to the contributions you will make to the Nursing profession. Thank you for choosing to enter this difficult, yet wonderful profession!