By Sarah Van Vorst, program manager for VBSN in the School of Nursing at Excelsior College
Excelsior College has just celebrated the completion of its first year of a three-year grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to assist qualified military veterans earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. This grant initiative called Mission Transition has the goal of enriching the current bachelor’s level nursing program by embracing the unique needs of veterans and offers student support in the way of a veteran to veteran mentor.
Mentorship is provided by Patricia Klimkewicz, PhD, RN who is Excelsior College nursing faculty as well as an active member of the Navy Reserves. As a fellow veteran she is able to relate to the multi-level challenges that our veterans and active military face while advancing their college degrees. Mission Transition is currently serving 94 veteran students enrolled in the bachelor’s degree in nursing program. The mentor is assisting them in assimilating from active duty to civilian student as well as aiding in their professional and educational development.
These veteran students will also benefit from having their own academic advisors, both in the School of Nursing and Center for Military Education. This is to provide a consistent resource for the many questions that arise concerning benefits and academic progression. For those that are graduating, there are numerous resources available through the college’s Career Center which offers such services as cover letter and resume critique and EC Joblinks.
Another goal of Mission Transition is to enhance the existing curriculum which will benefit both students and faculty. These course changes will better integrate not only veteran experiences but all student experiences. The result will foster personal reflection and academic growth.
Lastly, under this project Excelsior College’s instructional faculty are encouraged to enroll in FAC 120 which is a course that explores military culture and veteran challenges. This course is offered to all faculty so they can familiarize themselves with the college resources that are available to the military and veteran student and how to better support them while progressing through their courses.
To find out more information about the Mission Transition project and the bachelor’s degree in nursing, visit our webpage: http://www.excelsior.edu/programs/nursing/bachelors/vbsn-supporting-veterans-pursuing-your-rn-to-bs-in-nursing