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Pre-Nursing Preparation at UHMānoa

Text compiled from the American Nurses Association website at,
the American Association of Colleges of Nursing website at,
the UHM School of Nursing website at,
the Top 100 Health-Care Careers, and the UHM 2013-2014 Online Catalog,
Peterson’s Nursing Programs 2011.


Nursing Programs in Hawaii: Please see Directory of Health Degrees in Hawaii

Nursing Degrees
Nursing Programs in Hawaiʻi
Pathways to a Nursing Degree in Hawai‘i
What makes a strong candidate?
Researching Schools
Standardized Tests
Application Process
Contact Information
Additional Information
Downloadable Brochure


The American Nurses Association’s website describes nursing as: “The essence of nursing is that nurses combine the art of caring with the science of health care. Nursing places its focus not only on a particular health problem, but on the whole patient and his or her response to treatment. Care of the patient and a firm base of scientific knowledge are indispensable elements.

Nursing is the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities, and populations.”

Nurses work in many different areas, but the common thread of nursing is the nursing process – the essential core of how a registered nurse delivers care.
This process involves 5 steps:

  • Assessment: collecting and analyzing physical, psychological and sociocultural data about a patient.
  • Diagnosis: making a judgment on the cause, condition and path of the illness.
  • Planning: creating a care plan, which sets specific treatment goals.
  • Implementation: supervising or carrying out the actual treatment plan.
  • Evaluation: continuous assessment of the plan.
There is a wide variety of nursing specialty areas; examples include surgery, emergency room (ER), pediatrics, psychiatric, public health, and nurse-midwifery. Note: some specialty areas may require additional experience, study or certification.

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Nursing Programs

As a career, nursing offers great flexibility, allowing early entry into the workforce, continued professional development, and advancement through retraining and attaining higher degrees. Consequently, there is no "typical" timeline: students can combine education and work into unique paths that suit their lives. Students can complete one degree, work, and then return to complete a higher degree.

Over a lifetime’s career span, a student who began as a Nurses’ Aide could eventually complete a Doctorate. And a nurse who, for example, began in family medicine could choose later to switch to surgery, internal medicine, or geriatric nursing. Each degree level allows greater opportunities for new assignments, promotion, administrative/managerial work, responsibility, and higher salaries.

The most widely available nursing degrees include:

  • CNA, Certified Nurse Aide or Nursing Assistant (8-12 weeks)
  • LPN, Licensed Practical Nurse (1-1 ½  years)
  • RN, Registered Nurse (2-5 years)
  • APRN, Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (Master level)
    • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
    • Nurse-Midwife
    • Nurse Practitioner (NP)
    • Nurse-Anesthetist
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • Ph.D. (Doctorate level)

CNAs, sometimes called hospital attendants, work under the direct supervision of an RN and assist with the routine daily care of patients, making beds and maintaining patients’ environments; helping patients eat, bathe, dress, and walk; responding to patients’ calls for assistance; collecting samples for testing; taking vital signs; and transporting patients.

LPNs, sometimes called licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), work under the supervision of an RN and provide bedside care, such as taking vital signs, feeding and bathing patients, dressing wounds, changing intravenous fluids (IVs), preparing patients for medical examinations, collecting samples for testing, and assisting physicians or nurses in those examinations. LPNs also carry out
-up and rehabilitation. RNs also supervise staff. RNs work in all areas of health care – a variety of administrative chores.

RNs are vital members of the health care team. They are responsible for providing direct patient care and for carrying out treatments ordered by physicians. They take medical histories, help perform diagnostic tests and analyze results, administer treatments and medications, assist physicians with medical procedures, educate and provide support for patients and their families, and help with patient followfamily medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, surgery, geriatrics, and so on. Consequently, there are many different types of nurses as well: private duty nurses, operating room nurses, critical-care nurses, office nurses (who work for physicians, dental surgeons, etc.), school nurses, community health nurses, occupational health nurses, public health nurses, nurse educators, and so on.

Advanced degrees. RNs who have completed Bachelor degrees can earn advanced degrees at the Master or Doctorate levels, which bring increased opportunities, responsibilities, and higher salaries. Advanced degrees also allow RNs to work as Nurse Administrators or Nurse Educators. APRNs (Advanced Practice Registered Nurses) are highly trained nurses specializing in one of four areas: CNS, Nurse-Midwife, NP, or Nurse-Anesthetist. Advanced degrees are usually required for college teaching and research.

CNSs (Clinical Nurse Specialists) complete advanced training in specific areas of expertise: cancer, cardiac, neonatal, mental health, etc. CNSs also train and mentor nursing students, perform research, practice in a clinical setting, and provide consultation and management. The advanced education requirements of a clinical nurse specialist better equip them to diagnose and provide treatment for a wide range of illnesses.

Nurse-Midwives, or midwives, care for women throughout pregnancy, labor, delivery, and post-delivery. They also provide routine gynecological care and counseling on family planning. Midwives serve only carefully screened women whose pregnancies are unlikely to present complications and work closely with obstetricians and other specialists to provide a wide net of support for their patients. Midwives focus on maintaining the well-being of mother and child and educate patients on nutrition, exercise, breastfeeding, childcare, and family care. Midwives are usually in private practice but are often affiliated with a hospital.

NPs (Nurse Practitioners) handle a wide range of activities, including taking medical histories, conducting physical exams, diagnosing and treating common injuries and illnesses. NPs order and interpret laboratory tests, advise patients, and perform routine procedures such as injections, immunizations, and wound care. The duties of a NP are similar to those of a Physician Assistant, but NPs are more autonomous, working independently or cooperatively with physicians.

Nurse-Anesthetists administer anesthesia to patients under the general supervision of an anesthesiologist, who is a physician. Nurse-anesthetists differ from anesthesiology assistants in that assistants work under the direct supervision of an anesthesiologist whereas nurse-anesthetists work independently. They select and administer the appropriate anesthetic and dosage for each procedure and monitor patients under anesthesia. They may also assist in the surgical, obstetric, or dental procedure.

DNPs (Doctor of Nursing Practice) are prepared in “curricula that build on traditional Master’s programs. It is an alternative to research-focused doctoral programs. These nurses are well-equipped to fully implement the science developed by nurse researchers prepared in PhD, DNSc, and other research-focused nursing doctorates.” DNP programs were created because at many institutions, “advanced practice registered nurses were prepared in master’s-degree programs that often carry a credit load equivalent to doctoral degrees in other health professions.”

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing) degree holders focus on generating the knowledge base of nursing discipline through teaching or conducting clinical research. Doctoral programs prepare students for positions as nursing faculty members, leaders in application of technology to nursing education and clinical care, leaders in healthcare systems, and scientists who contribute to the body of nursing knowledge through their research.

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Nursing Programs in Hawaiʻi

A wide variety of nursing programs are available in Hawai‘i. UHM offers nursing degrees at the Bachelors, Masters, and Doctorate levels, and for students interested in nursing that have a non-nursing Bachelors degrees can apply to the Masters Entry Program in Nursing (MEPN). It is a three-year intensive program that culminates in APRN degrees. UHM has discontinued its RN-to-BSN program.


Nurse Aide or Nursing Assistant

Kapiʻolani Community College
Kauaʻi Community College
Maui Community College

Licensed Practical Nurse

Hawaiʻi Community College
Kapiʻolani Community College
Kauaʻi Community College
Maui College

Registered Nurse (Associate Degree in Nursing)

Hawaiʻi Community College
Kapiʻolani Community College
Kauaʻi Community College
Maui College

Registered Nurse (Bachelor of Science in Nursing)

Chaminade University
Hawaiʻi Pacific University
University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Master of Science in Nursing

Hawaiʻi Pacific University
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
DNP Doctor of Nursing Practice University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
PhD Doctorate in Nursing University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

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Pathways to a Nursing Degree

In Hawai‘i, there are 11 pathways to a nursing degree.

  • High School Direct Entry to BSN
  • BSN
  • RN to BSN
  • RN to MSN
  • MEPN
  • MSN to PMC (certificate)
  • MSN to Ph.D in Nursing
  • MSN to DNP
  • PMC (certificate) to Ph.D
  • PMC (certificate) to DNP

These are two of them:

UHM's School of Nursing has recently entered into the Hawai‘i State Nursing Consortium with Kaua‘i Community College, Maui College, and Kapi‘olani Community College starting Fall 2012. Note: Each program has its own specific admissions requirements. Upon completing the ASN program at Kaua‘i or Maui, the student is guaranteed admission to UHMSON to complete the final year of the BSN program via distance learning.

UHMSON has also recently started a new High School Direct Entry Program for academically talented high school seniors interested in pursuing a career nursing. This program provides entry into the nursing program upon admission to UH Mānoa. For more information, refer to the brochure or website:

All RNs, whether at the Associate or Bachelor level, take the same licensing test, work in the same jobs, and receive similar salaries. The main differences with RNs with BS degrees are

  • are more competitive for hiring and promotion,
  • are more flexible in being reassigned,
  • are more eligible for administrative positions,
  • can change specialties more readily,
  • have background in research,
  • are eligible to work in the military, and
  • are eligible to pursue advanced degrees.

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Prerequisite for Admission

Most importantly, remember that requirements vary from school to school, so it is important to identify as early as possible, which schools you hope to attend. Some nursing schools accept students directly from high school; others accept students at the sophomore or junior level; others accept students only after they have completed a set number of credits or course prerequisites. Below is a list of prerequisites commonly required by nursing schools:

PHYL 141/141 Lab Human Anatomy and Physiology I
PHYL 142/142 Lab Human Anatomy and Physiology II
MICR 130/140 Lab General Microbiology
CHEM 151 Survey of Chemistry
PHRM 203 General Pharmacology
Various General Education or “Core” Requirements

Additional requirements may include courses in biology, certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), cultural anthropology, English composition, history, human development, medical terminology, nutrition, or statistics. UHM’s Pre-Health and Pre-Law Advising Center (PAC) offers a recommended academic plan for pre-nursing majors.

For UHM’s School of Nursing, a grade of "C" (not C-, Credit/No Credit, Pass/Fail) or higher is required in all prerequisite courses. Any combination of 16 or more prerequisite credits listed below must be satisfactorily completed at the time of application, of which must include 1 PHYL lecture/lab & 1 other science lecture course (i.e. *DP course or MICR 130). Applicants must also be currently enrolled in all remaining prerequisites at the time of application to be considered. UHM’s School of Nursing’s prerequisites are listed below:

PHYL 141/141Lab and 142/142Lab
Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II
MICR 130
General Microbiology
1 FW course
(e.g. ENG 100)
1 FS course
(e.g. MATH 100)
1 FG course
(e.g. HIST 151)
2 DS courses
(e.g. PSY 100, FAMR 230)
1 DP course
(e.g. CHEM 151, GEO 101, ASTR 110, PHYS 101)

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What makes a strong candidate?

Admission committees for RN nursing programs are looking for students who have

  • completed all the prerequisites,
  • a high GPA for the nursing prerequisites,
  • a high overall grade point average (GPA), and
  • a strong score on the entrance exam (e.g., NLN).

Some nursing programs also look for relevant healthcare experience.

Almost all nursing programs require a minimum grade point average (GPA), usually between 2.5 and 3.0. The published national average for a GPA cutoff is 2.8. Some programs, however, are "impacted," which means they receive far more applications than they can accept. Students accepted into impacted programs usually have a much higher GPA than the published cutoff. We recommend you contact the Admissions Offices of programs you plan to apply to, and request information about the GPAs (cumulative and prerequisite) for the most recently admitted class.

UHM’s School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene accepts students through a competitive application process. Pre-nursing students should talk to an academic advisor before deciding whether to repeat courses. For admission to UHM’s School of Nursing, students may only repeat a maximum of six (6) prerequisite credits; only the most recent grade is used to calculate the prerequisite GPA.

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Researching Schools

There are over 1,000 nursing programs in the United States at the baccalaureate and masters levels, each one unique in its mission, philosophy, criteria, and strengths.  Applicants can research schools using the All Nursing Schools Website or using Peterson’s Nursing Programs book. 

Although there are resources that “rank” schools, the rankings are rarely pertinent for individual applicants or specific programs. More important is whether there is a good match between applicant and school.
To find schools that are good a fit for you (PAC peer advisors can help with this process):

  1. Assess your individual strengths and weaknesses, your professional interests, learning style, and personality;
  2. Start by considering all schools, which usually includes all 1000+ schools;
  3. Create your “Long List” by omitting the schools that do not match your professional interests, learning style, and personality;
  4. Once you have your NLN/NET/TEAS scores, create your “Short List” by categorizing the schools into “Reach,” “Match,” and “Safety,” ranking the schools by preference, and finally choosing how many schools to apply to.

If possible, visit the schools to see their facilities, talk to Admissions Directors, and chat with students.

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Entrance Exam

Almost all nursing programs require applicants to take any one of the following standardized tests: National League of Nursing Pre-Admission Examination (NLN , or NLN PAX), Nursing Entrance Test (NET), Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS or ATI-TEAS).

Preparation: Preparation consists of completing general education courses, becoming familiar with the test, and reviewing verbal and math skills.

NLN Summary:  The NLN assesses basic skills underlying not one specific field, but all fields of study.  Specifically, tested areas include verbal, math, and science.  The test requires ~4 hours to complete, and entails ~214 multiple-choice questions.  The NLN is administered in a computer-based and paper-based format.

NLN Scoring:  As of Summer 2011, the score report will show a “Relative Performance” column, which UH Mānoa’s School of Nursing will look at when evaluating students for admission. The minimum score for UH Mānoa is the 50th percentile in each section.
Other nursing programs may have different requirements. For those who took the test before Summer 2011, the score report will be a raw score, composite score, percentile, and percentile norms. Percentiles range from 0-99 and composite scores range from 0-200. UH Manoa’s School of Nursing will use the percentile in the “ALL” column. Other nursing programs may look at other scores.

TEAS Summary:  The TEAS assesses basic skills underlying not one specific field, but all fields of study.  Specifically, tested areas include verbal, math, and science.  The test requires ~3.5 hours to complete, and entails ~170 multiple-choice questions.  The TEAS is administered in a computer-based and paper-based format.

TEAS Scoring:  
Composite scores are computed in each of the four weighted areas; 13 sub-scores assess specific content comprehension. Students will receive comprehensive score reports to detail individual performance.
Students do not “pass” or “fail” the TEAS V exam. Minimum score requirements are set by the admissions offices of individual nursing programs. Students should verify the minimum percent requirements at their desired schools before submitting their TEAS V transcript.

Official Test Preparation Material:
Review Guide for RN Pre-Entrance Exam

Click here for the NLN-PAX Breakdown

Many Hawaii nursing programs employ the ATI-TEAS (Assessment Technologies Institute - Test of Essential Academic Skills) pre-nursing entrance exam, not the NLN-PAX. The ATI-TEAS tests basic skills for nursing students, up to 12th grade level achievement material. Please see below for detailed information regarding this exam:

Click here for the ATI-TEAS (V) Breakdown

Note: Pre-nursing exam requirements vary even within the UH consortium. The following refrence sheet details which exams are necessary for each Hawaii nursing program. Note that registration procedures and fees for both pre-nursing exams vary greatly by testing center.

Click here for the Hawaii Nursing Entrance Exam Reference Sheet

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The Application Process

There are three general steps in applying to nursing programs: the primary application, the secondary application, and the interview.

1.  Primary applications must be filed with the Nursing Centralized Application Service (NursingCAS), which is a centralized application system.  Once the application is complete, NursingCAS forwards it to whichever schools the student has designated.

2.  Secondary applications are specific to individual schools, and are sent to applicants after receiving the NursingCAS application.  Some but not all schools screen applicants before requesting secondary applications.  Secondary applications commonly request additional information, essays, and letters of recommendation.

3.  Interviews: Not all, but a few programs may require an interview.  Applicants are responsible for all costs incurred while interviewing, including airfare, lodging, ground transportation, professional attire, and meals.

Note: When applying to nursing programs, check to see whether they participate in the Nursing Centralized Application Service (NursingCAS) or not. For programs that do not use NursingCAS, students will need to contact the programs Admissions Offices directly for information on applying and for the application forms. Contact information for all U.S. and Canadian nursing programs can be found in Peterson’s Nursing Programs 2011.

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  • The more you know about the school, the better your chances of being accepted.
  • Most application questions can be answered by reading the instructions found on the NursingCAS website.
  • Contact individual schools' Admissions Offices to find out how they handle:
    • Advanced Placement (AP) credits
    • International Baccalaureate (IB) credits
    • College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) credits
    • military credits
    • courses taken at a community college
    • non-U.S. coursework
    • courses taken for credit/no credit instead of a grade
    • residency issues
    • time limits on prerequisite science courses


Contact Information

Students interested in UHM’s School of Nursing should attend an informational session; a schedule of sessions is available on its website: For general advising, contact PAC at (808) 956-4045, after having attended an informational session.

School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene
Webster 201
2528 McCarthy Mall
Honolulu, HI 96822

Telephone: (808) 956-8939

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Additional Resources

UHMānoa’s Pre-Health/Pre-Law Advising Center (PAC) has reference books, lists of volunteer opportunities, academic planning worksheets, and one-on-one advising by peers who can help you prepare for and apply to nursing programs.

American Nursing Association (ANA)
American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)
National League of Nursing (NLN)
National League of Nursing Pre-Admission Exam

The International Honor Society in Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau
Hawaii chapter: Gamma Psi Chapter-at-Large
National Student Nurses' Association (NSNA)
All Nursing Schools Website
Nursing School Degrees
National Council of State Boards of Nursing
Hawaii State Licensing Board

Chaminade Nursing Program

Hawaii Pacific University Nursing Program
UHM School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene
Hawaii Community College Nursing Program
UH Hilo Nursing Program
Kapiolani Community College Nursing Program
Kauai Community College Nursing Program
Maui College Nursing Program
Preparing for Graduate School by the Honors Program


NEW Nursing Admission Examination Dates Posted

The UH Mānoa School of Nursing offers Nursing Entrance Test (NET) and National League for Nursing Pre-Admission Examination (NLN-PAX).

  • Students applying for admission to the UHM School of Nursing must take the NLN-PAX. (UHM Nursing program will not accept the NET)

Test Dates and Registration Information

Administered at UH - Manoa

  • February 14, 2013
  • February 15, 2013
  • February 22, 2013
  • March 14, 2013
  • March 15, 2013
  • March 22, 2013
  • April 18, 2013
  • April 19, 2013
  • April 26, 2013
  • May 2, 2013

Please visit the NLN website to register. Registration End date will be 2 weeks prior to test date.

All tests will be administered in Webster 205 from 9:00am - 1:00pm. 

No Longer Administered at Kapiolani Community College
Effective March 2012, KCC will administer and accept only the Assessment Technology Institute’s Test of Essential Academic Skills (ATI-TEAS) Exam, Version 5.0


UHM Nursing Prerequisite Change!

  • Prerequisite changes
    • The General Elective requirement (3 credits) has been removed from the application requirements
      • Students may still need general elective credits to meet the 120 minimum Manoa graduation requirement
    • The MICR 140L has been removed from the application requirements
      • This course will not be required in the program

For the most current list of prerequisites, please click on the following:

BSN Info Sheet and Application



UH Mānoa BSN Nursing Info. Sessions & Application Forms

To all students who are interested in applying to the UH Mānoa School of Nursing, there will be upcoming Info. Sessions held at Webster Hall 201A, Conference Room:

    Thursday January 17, 2pm
    Monday January 28, 2pm
    Wednesday February 13, 10am
    Tuesday February 26, 2pm
    Monday March 4, 3pm
    Tuesday March 12, 3pm
    Tuesday April 2, 2pm
    Wednesday April 17, 10am

Please attend one of the above School of Nursing Informational Sessions prior to coming into the PAC office for advising. In addition, you can access the BSN Info. Sheet and BSN Application forms listed below:

BSN Info Sheet and Application



UH Mānoa MEPN Nursing Info. Sessions

To all students who are interested in applying to the UH Mānoa Masters Entry Program in Nursing (MEPN), there will be upcoming Info. Sessions:

    Tuesday, July 24th, 4:30-6:30 pm (Webster #115)
    Tuesday, August 28th, 4:30-6:30 pm (Webster #203)
    Tuesday, September 25th, 4:30-6:30 pm (Webster #203)
    Tuesday, October 23rd, 4:30-6:30 pm (Webster #203)
    Tuesday, November 13th, 4:30-6:30 pm (Webster #203)

Due to limited space, please RSVP by e-mailing no later than noon the Friday previous to the session you would like to attend.



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