FSU receives federal grant to help veterans pursue nursing degrees

FSU's College of Nursing offers qualified
veterans options to earn a BSN.

Florida State University’s College of Nursing will receive almost $800,000 over the next three years to serve the educational needs of military veterans who aspire to pursue nursing careers.

Florida State was one of 11 institutions in the nation awarded a Nurse Education, Quality and Retention:Veterans’ Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing Program (VBSN) grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

HRSA’s objective is to increase the enrollment, progression and graduation of military veterans from baccalaureate nursing programs in an effort to expand the nursing workforce and improve employment opportunities for veterans in high-demand careers such as nursing.

“This funding will provide the college with the infrastructure support needed to assess and educate qualified veterans interested in pursuing a career in nursing,” said Judith McFetridge-Durdle, dean of FSU’s College of Nursing. “This grant will also strengthen the college’s position as a participant in Florida State’s veterans support initiatives and its goal to be the most veteran-friendly university in the nation.”

The grant will help College of Nursing faculty assess veteran eligibility for the VBSN program. The college offers two Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program options for qualified veterans. For those who do not have a degree they may be eligible to enroll in the four-year traditional BSN program. For veterans with a degree, they may be eligible for the one-year accelerated BSN degree program.

“This grant will allow the college to offer qualified veterans a pathway to licensure as a registered nurse,” said Associate Professor Jim Whyte, program director for the grant. “Based on my own naval career, I feel this program will allow us to capitalize on these highly skilled veterans and help them to expand their scope of practice at the BSN level.”

The grant also will fund a variety of activities such as mentoring and other forms of support, and is focused on preparing the faculty to address the needs of veterans, especially those with extensive combat experience in the wars over the past decade.

“Florida State is committed to the success of our veterans and their post service transition into our society as resilient, effective leaders,” said Billy Francis, director of FSU’s Student Veterans Center. “This program grant is a union of civilian-veteran understanding that will propel veterans into exciting futures.”

Florida State will receive $265,581 annually from July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2018, through the grant.