Thanks to a $1.25 million federal grant, the military friendly University of South Florida (USF) will be offering veterans and service members the chance to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (BSN) through a program that specifically builds upon their medical experience gained during their military service.
The program, called “Creating Access to Registered Nurse Education for Veterans” or V-CARE, offers a more efficient career path from veteran to student to nursing professional. The USF College of Nursing was one of nine institutions across the nation that was awarded funding by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in an effort to aid those with previous military training and experience.
Beginning in the fall of 2014, the college plans to enroll 12 to 24 veteran students and then widen their student body to include 120 veterans over the next 4 years. Those involved with establishing V-CARE are confident the program will help address the significant shortage of registered nurses. According to the U.S. Registered Nurse Workforce Report Card and Shortage Forecast, the Sunshine State is projected to have the largest shortage in the Eastern U.S. by 2030, falling short by around 130,000 jobs.
V-CARE also hopes to address the underemployment of veterans. The USF College of Nursing has a lengthy history of supporting veterans and their family members by creating educational programs and partnerships that specifically meet the diverse and complex needs of the veteran population.
This latest program will build upon the established collaboration between the school and VA agencies with a focus on restoring lives by training a nursing workforce capable of assisting service members in overcoming psychological stress and other combat-related health issues. V-CARE is indicative of a long-standing commitment by the college to successfully transition those leaving active duty into civilian life.
USF is known as one of the best colleges in the country for students who are actively serving or are veterans of war. In fact, according to Military Times Magazine, USF ranks #4 among the nation’s most veteran-friendly four-year colleges. GI Jobs magazine recently placed USF in the top 15% of all universities, colleges and trade schools nationwide as a military friendly school.
Larry Braue, Ed.D, director of veteran services at USF recently stated, “USF is clearly one of the best colleges in the nation for students who are veterans or serving in the military. Our College of Nursing is building an educational ladder that will contribute to the success of USF’s student veterans by providing those rich in life experiences and military medical service with the opportunity to pursue their dream of becoming a nurse.”
V-CARE is another way USF plans to achieve their mission of continually envisioning and implementing the future of health.