UT Arlington Helps Nursing Shortage and Military Vets With Fed-Funded Program
To help military veterans train for civilian jobs and help address a coming nursing shortage, the UT Arlington College of Nursing will use nearly $300,000 in federal grant money to develop a Veterans Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.
In August, the Department of Health and Human Services stated that it would give $291,000 to the University of Texas Arlington for this new bachelor’s degree program.
Of the 33,000 who currently are enrolled at the university, about 2600 are veterans from the military. Of all of those, about 850 have declared that they intend to apply to the nursing school, according to a UT Arlington spokesperson.
Nursing students will have the ability to earn a degree in only 15 months via a new version of an accelerated university program that allows nursing students to do their coursework online and to do their clinical work at nearby health care centers.
Military veterans can avoid taking many entry level classes based upon their past education and the training that they got in the military. This will allow them to learn more advanced skills and to better develop their leadership abilities.
The program believes that many of these people, due to both their military experience and training, should be able to more quickly qualify for a role of leadership in nursing, and the school wants to help them to get an early start.
The university will do a comparison of training materials from the military to the coursework at the college. It will utilize its virtual Hospital called Smart Hospital with very life like patent simulators, which are used to test students on what they know.
UT Arlington has the biggest public nursing program in the US, and is one of the nine schools in the country that is receiving the funds.
According to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the Veteran’s BSN program is going to recognize the needed skills and experiences of veterans, and also address the work force needs of the country. The training and education they get will help them to qualify for many nursing jobs, and also will help to expand access to healthcare in the US.
At UT Arlington, leaders in the College of Nursing are wanting to enroll 10 veterans by this time in 2014. They will work with the Veterans Affairs North TX Health Care System for required clinical training. The college also is going to be working with the Veteran’s Assistance Center to recruit students, which opened its doors this summer.
Many veterans who do not know what they want to do with their careers end up going to this center to figure out how to best assimilate into the modern workforce. The school will work with military veterans to see if the program in nursing can be a good fit for them. UT is hoping that it can come up with a model that can be used at other universities.
One of the big goals of the program is to have a better grasp of the needs for returning military veterans. By having these professionals do clinicals in the veteran’s health system, this should really have a synergistic effect.
According to the American Nurses Association, the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the nursing profession is still at the top of the list in terms of employment growth. Also, ANA notes that the median age of nurses currently is 46, and at least 50% of the workforce of nurses is getting near retirement.
The nursing shortage in the US (see chart above) also is exacerbated by the fact that there are large numbers of people over 65 and there will be millions more in the coming years. Also, recent health care reforms mean that more people will be coming into the health care system soon. All of this together means there will be a high demand for nursing in Texas and Nationwide in the coming years, and a serious shortage.
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