Four year degree

In 1966, a two-year associate of science degree nursing program began at the College of Guam, the predecessor of the University of Guam. It has since evolved into the current four-year bachelor of science in nursing program. All but three of the twenty-seven entering students were from Guam. Then, in 1982, a second-step bachelor of science in nursing program, designed for nursing graduates of diploma or associate degree programs, was added. This led to the development of the four-year bachelor of science in nursing program.

The four-year nursing program began in 1988 and first received national US–accreditation by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, Inc (NLNAC) in 1995. The program was re-accredited in 2002 and again in 2010 for a full eight years. It has a rigorous curriculum and a small complement of full-time faculty to anchor specialty areas such as adult health, family health, psychiatric mental health, community health and research.

The students and faculty represent the cultural diversity that exists in Guam and the region. General education requirements can be obtained at the University of Guam, which is an accredited institution. Financial aid is available to nursing students and all nursing students are assigned an academic advisor. The second-step alternative academic track is still available for registered nurses who wish to obtain a bachelor of science in nursing degree.

The graduates of the program are prepared to take the national registered nurse licensing examination known as NCLEX-RN. First time pass rate for Guam graduates exceeds the seventy-five percent benchmark of Guam and NLNAC. While in the program, students also have the option of testing for nurse aid certification after completing their sophomore year and testing for practical nurse licensure after completing their junior year.

Enrollment in the nursing program is increasing. In 2008 there were more than 450 students in the program. Of these, about 330 are taking pre-requisite/general education courses and more than 100 are taking nursing program courses. In recent years graduating classes have numbered twenty-five to twenty-seven students. Approximately eighty percent of the graduates remain on Guam to work.

Beginning in 2006, in an effort to further provide nursing education options for students, an associate degree in Nursing (ADN) was offered. With this option students can complete three years of nursing program courses with eligibility to take the national registered nurse licensing examination.

The nursing program mission also includes community and educational services to Guam and the region. During the academic year students and faculty participate in health screenings at various community sites and, through the students’ own student organization, support other community causes such as the Drive for Justice, the Salvation Army Christmas Food Drive, and Homeless Coalition.

The faculty and students engage in research and scholarly activities to establish and increase the database of health, nursing and educational needs. Some examples are survey of handwashing practices among elementary age students, screening of delayed positive results of tuberculin testing in adults, analysis of the predictors of success in the nursing program, and presentation of research projects to the membership of the Guam Nurses Association, the UOG College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) conference, and the National Student Nurses Association conference.

By Karen Cruz, RN, MPH, Sally Tsuda, RN, MSN and Maria Salomon, RN, DNS