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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Alabama univeristy to parter with VA for nurse training

The University of Alabama is now one of the nursing schools nationwide to partner with the Department of Veterans Affairs to expand the VA Nursing Academy.

"The expanded role of the Department of Veterans Affairs in the education of nurses will ensure the department has the nurses needed to continue our world-class health care for Veterans," said Dr. Linda D. Johnson, director of VA Nursing Academy. "The VA Nursing Academy expands the teaching faculty, improves recruitment and retention, and creates new educational and research opportunities."

The VA Nursing Academy is a virtual five-year pilot program with central administration in Washington. It expands learning opportunities for nursing students at VA facilities, funds faculty development of VA staff for additional faculty positions to competitively selected school partners, according the VA. The five-year, $59 million program began in 2007.

The other four nursing schools are:
--Western Carolina University, Asheville, N.C.
--University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu
--Pace University, Manhattan and Brooklyn, N.Y.
--Waynesburg University, Pittsburgh.

VA Nursing Academy already includes 10 partnerships: the VA medical center in Gainesville, Fla., with the University of Florida; the VA medical center in San Diego with San Diego State University; the VA medical center in Salt Lake City with the University of Utah; the VA medical center in West Haven, Conn., with Fairfield University in Connecticut; the VA medical center in Charleston, S.C., with the Medical University of South Carolina; the Hines, Ill., VA medical center with Loyola University of Chicago; the VA Michigan Consortia (Detroit and Saginaw) with the University of Detroit Mercy and Saginaw Valley State University; the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center with the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences; the VA medical center in Providence, R.I., and Rhode Island College; and the VA medical center in Tampa, Fla., and the University of South Florida.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has reported that in 2007 more than 36,000 qualified applicants were turned away from entry-level baccalaureate degree programs in nursing schools because of insufficient numbers of faculty, clinical sites, classroom space and clinical mentors. VA currently provides clinical education for approximately 100,000 health professional trainees annually, including students from more than 600 schools of nursing.

VA Nursing Academy enables competitively selected VA-nursing school partnerships to expand the number of nursing faculty, enhance the professional and scholarly development of nurses, increase student enrollment by about 1,000 students and promote innovations in nursing education.

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I grew up in the military. Mom was an Air Force nurse for a few years, dad was a navigator on B-52s, among other things. One grandfather served in World War II, uncle is retired Navy, other grandfather and great-uncle served in Korea and a cousin is currently serving in the Marine Corps. Currently, I'm the military reporter for the Great Falls Tribune in Montana. Previously, 


As a military kids, we moved all over. As an adult, I've traveled all over and moved for work. But now, I'm putting down roots in Montana with my boyfriend. We just bought a house and are slowly but surely making it our home. We have more land that we know what to do with at the moment. Now we're getting a garden started, tearing down walls and having loads of fun at what we call the Homestead.

In a part life, I did PR for the guy who built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, social media for the National Museum of Health and Medicine, before that, edited two military technology magazines for a publishing group in the DC area and before that, I was the military reporter (among other things) at the Montgomery Advertiser, covering Maxwell Air Force Base, the Alabama National Guard, veterans and anything else military related in the area. And in between all of that, I leave town, preferably the country, whenever possible. It all started when I spent a semester in New Zealand.

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