Veterans Get Help Pursuing Nursing Careers
Nov 11, 2013, 9:00 AM
More than 1,000 veterans will obtain undergraduate degrees in nursing over the next four years with the help of a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration. The grant was announced earlier this fall.
The multi-million-dollar effort, known as the Veterans’ Bachelor of Science in Nursing (VBSN) program, will allow veterans to build on their combat medical skills and experience and receive academic credit for prior military training and experience. The program provides funding to nine institutions to recruit veterans and prepare VBSN undergraduates for practice and employment in local communities, and also develop career ladders that include academic and social supports, career counseling, mentors, and linkages with veteran service organizations and community health systems.
Participating institutions include three in Florida: Jacksonville University, Florida International University, and the University of South Florida; two in Virginia: Hampton University and Shenandoah University; as well as the University of Texas at Arlington, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Davenport University in Michigan, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).
The VBSN program “recognizes the valuable skills and experience of our veterans, while addressing the nation’s nursing workforce needs,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a news release. “The education and training they receive helps qualify them for civilian nursing positions, while expanding Americans’ access to high-quality care.”
UAB recently announced that its VBSN program goals include increasing enrollment and retention rates of veterans, especially those from rural and underserved communities, and graduating eight students each year of the four-year grant.
“There are many veterans who served in the medical corps and have so much to offer patients, especially other veterans in both veteran and traditional hospital settings,” said Rhonda McLain, DSN, assistant professor and program director.
This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.