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The premier resource for hospital professionals from Relias Media, the trusted source for healthcare information and continuing education.

Veterans Get Extra Credit for Military Experience in This Nursing Program

Joy Daughtery Dickinson is executive editor of the Hospital Group of publications at AHC Media in Atlanta and long-time editor and writer of Same-Day Surgery. She has won nine national awards from the Specialized Information Publishers Association and the Association of Business Information & Media Companies for her blogging, news writing, and editing. She makes her home in southwest Georgia.

My nephew is a member of the U.S. Army Reserve and previously served in the Army National Guard, including a tour in Iraq. He has graduated from college and is looking into various career opportunities. We recently discussed how healthcare offers several promising prospects.

He was interested to hear about a new Veterans’ Bachelor of Science in Nursing (VBSN) program at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). The program helps U.S. military veterans transition into nursing by allowing up to 10 veterans per semester to receive academic credit for prior military training and experience. The program doesn’t stop there: It pairs each VBSN student with a mentor from the U.S. Veteran’s Initiative. Also, each VBSN student works with a case manager who helps them adjust to the demands of nursing school.

In 2013, UTHealth School of Nursing became a member of the national “Joining Forces” initiative to boost access to education for veterans as well as their families. The VBSN program grew out of that initiative. The program welcomed its first three VBSN students this semester, with one person each from the Navy, Army, and Air Force. They wear “veteran” patches on their scrubs.

The program is being launched with the help of a three-year federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration and a grant from the Vivian L. Smith Foundation.

The VBSN program is led by Bridgette R. Pullis, PhD, RN, associate professor of clinical nursing in the Department of Nursing Systems at the School of Nursing. Pullis says that in her clinical work, much of it at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, she sees how healing power is exhibited in “veteran-to-veteran connection in nursing care.”

“When a nursing student is caring for a veteran and the veteran finds out that the student is also a veteran, the air in the room changes, a common bond enables trust and hope,” she said.

We salute UTHealth and other hospitals and health systems reaching out to veterans. The veterans have put themselves on the line for us. Now it’s our turn to reach out and offer them a hand. (For more information on the VBSN program, click here. To keep up with hospital-related breaking news as it happens, follow us on Twitter @HospitalReport.)