HRSA program helps veterans pursue nursing careers

( The U.S Department of Health and Human Services has announced a new program to help military medics and other veterans with healthcare experience or training pursue nursing careers.

The program is designed to help veterans earn BSNs by “building on their unique skills and abilities,” according to an HHS news release.

Administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of HHS, the Veterans’ Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program will fund up to nine cooperative agreements of up to $350,000 a year. Funding of $3 million is expected to be awarded by the end of fiscal year 2013 (Sept. 30).

Program funding will go to accredited schools of nursing to increase veterans’ enrollment in and completion of baccalaureate nursing programs, and to explore ways to award academic credit for prior military healthcare experience or training. The institutions also will train faculty to provide mentorships and other supportive services.

The program “recognizes the skills, experience and sacrifices of our veterans, while helping to grow our nursing workforce,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in the news release. “It helps veterans formalize their skills to get jobs, while strengthening Americans’ access to care.”

“Through this innovative program, veterans with valuable medical expertise can now help fill the ranks of nurses across the nation,” said HRSA Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, RN, PhD.

The program is described as an important step forward in addressing needs identified in the White House report, “The Fast Track to Civilian Employment: Streamlining Credentialing and Licensing for Service Members, Veterans, and Their Spouses,” which was issued in February.