University of Minnesota and Minneapolis VA Awarded $5.3 Million to Educate More Nurses

Partnership will yield 100 additional bachelor’s degree-prepared nurses over five years

Barb Schlaefer, University of Minnesota School of Nursing – 612-626-9079
Ralph Heussner, Veterans’ Administration Minneapolis – 612 467-3012

June 26, 2013

This fall, the University of Minnesota School of Nursing will admit its largest class of undergraduate nursing students in history, with 148 sophomores entering its bachelor’s degree program – 20 more than in any previous year. This expansion is possible due to a $5.3 million competitive award from the federal Department of Veterans Affairs to the Minneapolis VA Health Care System announced this month. 

The grant enables the VA and the University of Minnesota to partner on preparing bachelor’s degree nurses for the workforce who can provide high quality, coordinated care to America’s veterans.

“We are incredibly excited to be part of this program,” said Helen Pearlman, nurse executive at the Minneapolis Veterans Administration Health Care System. “About 20 VAs around the country offered proposals; we are one of only six to receive the award. "The experience at the VA will be unique and unlike any other hospital in the Twin Cities."

University of Minnesota students who choose to participate in the Veterans Administration Nurse Academic Partnership will spend much of the last two years of their four-year bachelor’s degree nursing program in clinical service and study at the Minneapolis VA. Students will have unique opportunities to participate in interprofessional healthcare teams in the care of veterans.

Students will be exposed to the wide range of services offered to veterans and gain an understanding of unique veteran health care needs. As a one of the largest clinical teaching facilities in Minnesota, the VA offers learning opportunities in multiple trauma, long-term rehabilitation, home health, telemetry, spinal cord injury, psychiatric mental health and chronic pain treatment.

“Each year, we are not able to admit many outstanding, well-qualified applicants to our Bachelor of Science in Nursing program primarily due to the limited capacity for student clinical placements in the community,” said Connie White Delaney, Dean of the School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota. “This partnership with the VA enables us to educate more bachelor’s degree nurses effectively while increasing the knowledge and understanding our students and faculty have of the unique health challenges facing veterans and their families.

Funding will be used to support 10 additional faculty who will be fully devoted to the education of these students and engaged both at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing and the Minneapolis VA.

About the Minneapolis Veterans Administration healthcare System
The Minneapolis VA Health Care System serves more than 100,000 unique patients at the medical center in Minneapolis and 11 clinics in Minnesota and eastern Wisconsin. It serves as a regional tertiary care center for VA hospitals in the Upper Midwest.

About the School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota
The University of Minnesota School of Nursing is ranked among the nation’s top nursing schools. It is a leader in nursing research and produces 55 percent of the faculty in Minnesota’s public and private nursing schools, advanced practice nurses and nurses who can assume leadership positions. It is the oldest continuously-operated, university-based school of nursing in the nation. The School of Nursing is one of six schools and colleges in the Academic Health Center, one of the most comprehensive facilities for health professionals in the nation, fostering interdisciplinary study, research and education.

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