Saturday July 4th 2015

Better prepared for veterans’ care

A Florida university is working with the Miami Veterans Affairs Healthcare System (MVAHS) to strengthen the educational preparation of nurses caring for veterans as well as to create an effective nurse residency program.

With more than $8 million in federal funding, the Florida International University (FIU) Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences and the Miami VA system will implement the Veterans Affairs Nursing Academic Partnership (VANAP).

“The VANAP program will promote innovation in nursing education and practice and enable substantive change in how VA facilities and nursing schools everywhere can work together to treat and care for this unique patient population,” said Ora L. Strickland, PhD, DSc (Hon), RN, FAAN, dean of the FIU Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences and a Florida Nurses Association member.

FIU is one of three universities nationwide selected by the United States Veterans Affairs Office of Academic Affiliation to launch this five-year program. Beginning in the 2014-2015 academic year, it will serve to promote recruitment and retention of VA nurses, increase enrollment in the undergraduate nursing program, develop interprofessional education and promote skills specific to military health concerns.

Over the course of the VANAP program, the partnership will leverage academic and clinical resources to thread the entire baccalaureate nursing curriculum with a focus on the care and management of health problems impacting military veterans, active service members and their families. These include post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, suicide and other mental health issues, chemical exposure, major traumatic limb loss and rehabilitation.

In addition, the partners will create a post-baccalaureate nurse residency program at the Miami VA Healthcare System as well as obtain accreditation for it. This nurse residency program is aimed at nurse recruitment and retention for the VA hospital system, which is always in need of highly qualified and dedicated nurses.

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