School of Nursing Receives Grant to Recruit and Retain Veterans

$1 million from U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration will provide support services for veterans in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

Veterans BSN
Nursing student Cindy Cruzan, a U.S. Navy veteran, works in the School of Nursing's Skills and Simulation Laboratory.
November 11, 2014

By Lauren Ingeno

The George Washington University School of Nursing (SON) has received $1 million from the U.S Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for a project that is designed to reduce barriers for veterans who wish to become nurses.

The funding will help to recruit veterans into the school’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) program, an intensive, full-time program based at GW’s Virginia Science and Technology Campus (VSTC). The grant also will provide support services for veteran nursing students at the VSTC, such as tailored academic advising, counseling and tutoring.

In addition, SON will award academic credit for any medical training the veterans may have received in the military.

“GW’s Veterans B.S.N. offers a curricular road map tailored to each student based on prior military training and college-level coursework,” said Billinda Tebbenhoff, School of Nursing associate dean for undergraduate studies.

Nursing is expected to be one of the nation’s fastest growing careers, with an estimated 19 percent increase in the labor force by 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ employment projections. The new transition program reflects the growing national demand for health care services, said SON Interim Senior Associate Dean Mary Jean Schumann, the project’s principal investigator.

Dr. Schumann said that veterans possess many valuable skills that position them well for entry into nursing. But often they are unsure about how to put those skills to good use.

“The United States has a history of not doing very well by our returning veterans. Some find it difficult to find a job that allows them to utilize the skills they’ve acquired while overseas,” Dr. Schumann said. “The beauty of this program is that is gives them the opportunity to get credit for what they’ve already acquired. We are going to help them figure out what they already know.”

This fall, GW was designated as a 2015 “Military Friendly School” in G.I. Jobs magazine for the sixth consecutive year, an honor bestowed to the top 15 percent of colleges and universities that are doing the most for military and veteran students.

While GW has a number of programs and resources to support veterans, it can be difficult for nursing students to access those services since they are taking courses in Ashburn, Va., 35 miles away from the Foggy Bottom Campus. Having specially tailored resources, like counseling services, on site at the VSTC will help ease veterans’ transition from combat to a nursing career, Dr. Schumann said.

Not only will the program help to attract and retain veterans to the university, but also it will help nursing faculty to pinpoint the services that will be most effective at GW and beyond.

“HRSA’s intent is to support the transition of veterans into the nursing workforce, but they really have charged us with trying to identify what are the best practices for that transition,” Dr. Schumann said. “Everybody makes assumptions and makes guesses, but we will really try to study which ones work.”

Veterans who are interested in the accelerated B.S.N. program can contact SON admissions counselor Peter Hart at [email protected] or call the SON Admissions Office at 571-553-0138. Mr. Hart is available to meet with prospective students to help determine how their military training and prior coursework can transfer into the nursing degree program.

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