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  • By Pacific island Times News Staff

UOG nursing program gets another 8 years of accreditation

The nursing program at the University of Guam has been granted another eight years of accreditation following its review by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. UOG’s School of Nursing & Health Sciences received the notification letter on Aug. 8, which cited the program’s partnerships with community health care organizations as one of its biggest strengths.

“This demonstrates the quality of education we have at UOG,” said Margaret Hattori-Uchima, Dean of the School of Nursing & Health Science. “ACEN requires a high standard for education, and through the accreditation process, we have been able to develop and maintain a quality nursing education program.”

The program has been accredited since 1996. The school has longstanding partnerships with all three of the island’s hospitals, several other major health care providers, and several government of Guam agencies through which the nursing students do their clinicals.

“We cannot provide a comprehensive and holistic nursing education program without these partners,” Hattori-Uchima said. “Clinical practice is vital to a competent nurse, and these partners provide that experience.”

The partnership is mutually beneficial for the health care facilities as well.

“Hospital leaders have a vested interest in narrowing the educational practice gap, and academic leaders want their graduates to be the employee of choice,” said Zennia Pecina, Nursing Director at the Guam Memorial Hospital. “Our long-time partnership with UOG has been successful in producing high-caliber graduate nurses.”

Faculty, staff, and students of the University of Guam School of Nursing & Health Sciences celebrate the nursing program’s reaccreditation. Faculty and staff pictured are (front center, from left) Associate Professor Ana Joy Mendez; (behind Mendez) Nursing Instructor James Finch; (holding “G”) Margaret Hattori-Uchima, Dean of the School of Nursing & Health Sciences; Associate Professor Kathryn Wood; Nursing Instructor Jennifer J. Turner; Nursing Instructor Rosielyn B. Babauta; Nursing Instructor Veronica Alave; (behind Alave) Graduate Teaching Assistant Aubrianna Perez; Administrative Assistant Jocelyn Aguon; Program Coordinator Jonathan Nguyen; and Assistant Professor Annamma Varghese.

Photo courtesy of the University of Guam

In the past three years, UOG’s partnerships have grown to include Guam Regional Medical City, the Latte Stone Nurses Association, and the University of Santo Tomas Alumni Association of Guam. The latter two provide scholarships to the students.

The accreditation letter also cited “extraordinary” financial support for the program. Hattori-Uchima said the program receives strong fiscal support from the UOG administration, federal grants, and the community, including an annual contribution from TakeCare Insurance Co., tuition assistance and stipends from the UOG Endowment Foundation and UOG Financial Aid Office, and financial support from private entities.

“The faculty of the School of Nursing & Health Sciences has done an incredible job connecting UOG’s nursing students with real-world experiences and seeking out additional resources for their success,” said UOG President Thomas W. Krise. “This accreditation gives national recognition for the commitment to our students and sets the standard for the future of the program. UOG’s superb nursing graduates are key to the health outcomes of Guam and the region.”

The last two graduating classes of UOG’s nursing program passed the standardized nursing licensure exam, the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), with a 100% first-time pass rate, surpassing the national average of 90 percent.

UOG has conferred an average of 25 bachelor’s degrees every year since its last accreditation in 2010, making it one of the University’s largest academic programs by volume of graduates.

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