SU to help veterans enter nursing field

Posted: September 19, 2013

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — Veterans looking to transition into the nursing workforce will soon find help at Shenandoah University.

In January, the university will start enrolling veterans who have received medical training during their military service into the Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing.

With the help of a $1.2 million grant over the next four years, SU will identify these veterans, find ways for them to earn credit for their past training, and help them transition into the civilian workforce as a four-year bachelor degree-prepared nurse.

“They don’t have to start all over again,” said Associate Dean for Academics Pamela Cangelosi, who will direct the project.

Cangelosi said that more and more medically trained personnel are returning from service and that SU can help them capitalize on their experience while also providing relief to an expected nursing shortage in the future.

“It’s a win-win for both parties,” she said.

SU is one of nine institutions in the country to participate in the cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

According to a 2010 study, 1,500 veterans a year separate from service in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area, said Jenny Bousquet, director of grant support and foundation relations at SU.

Nursing faculty member and retired Air Force Nurse Corps Maj. Sherry Rawls-Bryce will serve as academic adviser for the veterans. She will teach a course that helps them transition into the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program and a course that will prepare them for licensure exams and transitioning into professional nursing.

Two additional nursing faculty members who have past military experience will also help with the veterans.

The $1.2 million will go toward implementing the new program. The GI Bill will fund veterans’ tuition.

SU expects to recruit more than 175 veterans with prior medical experience into its BSN program and to graduate approximately 80 students during the next four years, according to a Wednesday press release.

HRSA has fully funded the project in the amount of $312,025 in the first year and has recommended support in subsequent years of the project for a total of $1,228,486, according to the release.

After four years, the project could be sustained.

— Contact Rebecca Layne at rlayne@winchesterstar.com