This announcement solicits applications for the Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention (NEPQR) - Veteran’s Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (VBSN) Program. For FY 2014, the Division of Nursing (DN) will solicit three-year cooperative agreements that propose to develop and implement innovative career ladder programs that will increase the enrollment, progression, and graduation of veterans in Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs. The VBSN program supports HRSA’s strategic plan to improve access to quality health care and services; strengthen, the nation’s healthcare workforce; build healthy communities; and improve health equity. Awarded VBSN applications will complement the collaborative efforts of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Department of Defense (DoD), and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) that seek to:
Reduce barriers that prevent veterans from transitioning into nursing careers;
Develop BSN career ladder programs targeted to the unique needs of veterans;
Explore innovative educational models to award academic credit for prior health career experience/training or other relevant military training;
Improve employment opportunities for veterans through high demand careers training, and
Address the growing national demand for BSN prepared Registered Nurses
The intermediate program goals are to facilitate the transition of veterans into the field of professional nursing, while building upon skills, knowledge, and training acquired during their military service in order to increase employment opportunities. Sub-goals include increasing and diversifying the health workforce, and ensuring that healthcare providers are trained to provide high quality care that is culturally and linguistically aligned with the communities they will serve.
The VBSN project will: (1) provide program participants with the opportunity to receive academic credit for prior military medical training and experience, (2) provide participants with knowledge, skills, and support(s) needed to successfully matriculate through innovative BSN career ladder training programs, and (3) prepare program participants for the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX- RN). The methods for awarding credit may include challenge or competency exams and other innovative methods as applicable.
Under the VBSN program, applicants are expected to prepare veterans to enter the professional nursing field through evidenced-based pathways that will increase veterans’ enrollment, advancement, graduation, employment and retention within the field of nursing. It is anticipated that VBSN projects will:
Incorporate career ladder development for veterans into an existing BSN program;
Develop programs and/or methods to assess veteran competencies that are eligible for awarding of nursing academic credit. Potential credits may be based on veteran’s leadership skills and/or prior health care training and experience;
Address physical, emotional, and environmental issues that may be unique to veterans that could potentially impact learning, negatively interfere with program completion, and deter gainful employment in nursing after graduation;
Include faculty development activities to enhance faculty understanding of military culture and teaching strategies that address the unique needs of veterans both in and outside of the classroom (e.g., understanding scope of practice limitations in a civilian environment, education continuance plans in case of deployment, etc.); and
Include mentorship and other supportive services (including outreach to veteran’s organizations) that address the unique challenges that veterans face when transitioning to civilian life.