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School of Nursing and Atlanta VA Medical Center awarded $4 million

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Jasmine Hoffman

Emory University's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing and the Atlanta VA Medical Center (VAMC) are teaming up to train nurses for the specialized field of veteran health care. The VA Health System is anticipating a nursing shortage because of the increasing demand for health care for aging and returning veterans and a projected wave of nurse retirements.

Emory is one of six nursing schools nationwide selected for the VA Nursing Academic Partnership program through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The new partnership will provide $4 million to fund 10 additional faculty positions at the School of Nursing and increase Emory's undergraduate nursing class by 100 students over a five-year period.

"We are honored to partner with the Atlanta VA Medical Center to offer this outstanding program, which will benefit America's veteran heroes and Emory nursing students," said Linda McCauley, dean of Emory's School of Nursing. "The more nursing students we can prepare to be VA nurse leaders, the more quickly we can grow the VA nursing workforce and continue to provide care for an increasing number of veterans while offsetting the effects of the projected nursing shortage."

Sandy Leake, Atlanta VAMC's chief nursing officer said, "We are thrilled to enter into this innovative partnership with our longstanding nursing school affiliate, the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University. We are deeply committed to meeting the growing needs of our veterans. This mutually beneficial partnership will significantly enhance our ability to recruit top-notch nurses and to continue providing the highest quality nursing care anywhere; care that our veterans have earned, deserve and are entitled to."

Students admitted to Emory under this partnership will be part of a 2-year cohort focused on veteran care. The students will participate in clinical rotations at the Atlanta VAMC, where they will gain clinical experience caring for American veterans. They will engage in specialized training in mental health, traumatic brain injury care, home-based health care, palliative care, women's health, homeless care and more.

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the nursing shortage is projected to grow to 1 million registered nurses by 2025. The VA — which is the largest employer of nurses in the U.S. — is launching academic partnerships to recruit more nurses to veteran health care.

Other nursing programs selected for this partnership include Arizona State University, Marquette University, New Mexico University, Oregon Health & Science University, and the University of Minnesota.

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