The Veterans Affairs Department said it plans to partner with a dozen nursing schools over the next three years to house the test grounds for a new nursing academy.
Under the initiative, qualified nursing schools will provide faculty appointments to VA clinical nurse experts, who will then teach, train and mentor enrolled students. The programs will likely be tailored toward the special needs of the veteran population, though the overall curriculums will have a focus on performance and quality improvement as well as the implementation of evidence-based practices.
VA nurses who participate wont draw a salary from the schools, but instead will continue to be paid by the VA, with some receiving bonus payments for their involvement in the program.
The VA already provides clinical education to nearly 100,000 health professionals each year, including students from more than 60 nursing schools. But the latest statistics hint that more needs to be done. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has said that more than 42,000 qualified applicants were turned away from nursing schools last year because of insufficient faculty, clinical sites, classroom space or clinical mentors.
The VA said it hopes that the effort will help the agency recruit and retain its clinical workforce. Up to four partnerships are expected this year, with more expected over the next several academic years. -- by Matthew DoBias