Military Veterans Transitioning to the Student Role in Civilian Nursing Programs

Monday, 30 October 2017

Roberta Rolland, PhD, RN, FNP1
Alicia Rossiter, DNP, ARNP, FNP, PPCNP-BC, FAANP2
Dianne Morrison-Beedy, PhD2
(1)College of Nursing, Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY, USA
(2)College of Nursing, University of South Florida College of Nursing, Tampa, FL, USA

Military medics and corpsmen have skills and qualities in focus with the nursing profession. Many skills and certificates from the Military are not transferred to job opportunities in the civilian sector however; nursing has many opportunities whether in the service or the civilian sector (D’Aoust, Rossiter, & Clochesy, 2016). Military Veterans earning a degree in nursing will impact the nursing shortage in the Military and the civilian sector. A career in nursing will benefit Military needs and services and help provide job opportunities once returning to the civilian workforce.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recognized the necessity to address the unique needs of the Military obtaining nursing degrees. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grants were awarded to schools of nursing to develop and support Veteran’s Bachelors of Science Degree in Nursing (VBSN) programs. Funds were first awarded in 2013 to nine schools of nursing throughout the United States. Currently programs are underway in select schools of nursing. Program development and improvement is ongoing process. For this reason, it would benefit to explore the experiences of Military Veterans in the VBSN programs.

The primary objective of the study was to gain understanding of Military Veterans transitioning to the role of a nursing student in a civilan nursing program. Secondary objectives are to identify obstacles and barriers, add to the current development of Veteran’s Bachelors of Science Degree in Nursing (VBSN) programs, and promote and enhance successful completion and minimize attrition for Military Veterans pursuing a VBSN.

Literature to date primarily highlights academic and operational factors of Military Veterans transitioning to civilian nursing programs (Allen, Armstrong, Saladiner, Hamilton, & Conrad, 2014; Morrison-Beedy, Passmore, & D’Aoust, 2015). Although some personal aspects are acknowledged, the personal experience has not been deeply explored. A qualitative research design using a phenomenological approach may best capture unforeseen obstacles and barriers.

Data collection is scheduled for Spring 2017. Participants will be Military Veterans currently enrolled in or recently graduated from a VBSN program. Data will be collected using focus groups and semi-structured interviews. A moderator will facilitate the focus groups while a second researcher takes notes. Sessions will be digitally recorded and transcribed verbetim. Analysis will follow a descriptive phenomenological approach as guided by Giorgi (2009). Themes will be confirmed and a review of literature will follow to further explain the findings. The timeliness if dissemination is essential to benefit the ongoing development of VBSN programs and support the success of Military Veterans enrolled in civilian nursing programs.