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The nursing shortage in the USA is expected to reach 260,000 registered nurses (RNs) by 2025. The most profound shortages are expected in California and Florida, translating into 109,779 and 128,364 RN jobs, respectively. Despite a foreseen growth in nursing career opportunities nationwide, the supply of nurses will be insufficient to meet the corresponding demand. Capitalizing on prior education, experience, and skills of military clinical personnel to fill these jobs could significantly reduce the projected nursing shortage. Florida International University’s Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences is circumventing barriers to recruit, retain, and graduate transitioning veteran medics and corpsmen as Bachelor of Science in Nursing prepared RNs who reintegrate into the civilian workforce. The Veteran Bachelor of Science in Nursing (VBSN) program is in the form of a cooperative agreement between Florida International University and the US Health Resources and Services Administration. The VBSN program’s main objective is to build upon the unique leadership skills, clinical education, and training of military medics and corpsmen to ensure successful completion of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing curriculum. VBSN students, as veterans themselves, have unique knowledge and exposure to the specific health issues and needs of the veteran population overall. They are poised and best prepared to effectively care for the US population, particularly the current 22 million US veterans and 1.6 million Florida veterans. Additionally, the VBSN program will alleviate the challenges, such as the lack of recognition of military skills, unemployment, the substandard income, and homelessness that many former service members face after separation from the military.
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Keita MD, Diaz VJ, Miller AP, Olenick M, Simon SR. Transitioning from military medics to registered nurses. Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare. 2015;8:495-502. doi:10.2147/JMDH.S93254.
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