Implementation of a Nursing Veterans' Initiative to Transform Education (INVITE)
- Need: To support rural veterans pursuing a career in nursing.
- Intervention: The INVITE program improved the curriculum and reworked admission requirements to better support veteran students' experiences in the College of St. Scholastica undergraduate nursing program.
- Results: The number of veterans pursuing nursing has more than doubled since program implementation, and all students have reported an increased interest in serving rural communities.
According to the College of St. Scholastica article Training for Veterans, there are about 33,000 veterans living in and around the area of Duluth, Minnesota. A new program helps veterans pursue nursing careers and provides needed care to veterans and other rural patients.
The College of St. Scholastica created a program called Implementation of a Nursing Veterans' Initiative to Transform Education (INVITE). INVITE reshapes the school's nursing curriculum by converting rural veterans' military experiences and skills into course credit when appropriate, initiating a cohort model (a group of students who progress through a program together) for clinical and lab experiences, and making sure all nursing students and faculty learn about rural and veterans' health issues.
Program coordinators partnered with the University of Minnesota Duluth ROTC program and the 148th Fighter Wing – Minnesota National Guard to help ROTC nursing students succeed in both the ROTC and nursing programs. The INVITE program received a 2016-2018 Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Health Workforce grant.
The INVITE program:
- Revised admission requirements for veterans going into undergraduate nursing
- Created a cohort model that incorporates and reflects students' military experiences
- Established a study space/meeting room called the INVITE room, with technology that facilitates collaboration and telehealth in addition to the College's Veteran Resource Center
- Revised the nursing curriculum so that all students learn about veterans' health
- Employs faculty with military experience to provide clinical experiences, advisement, and academic support to students
- Initiated a college-wide education video series for all faculty and staff, highlighting veteran community and rural veteran population health
While completing the Veteran to B.S. in Nursing degree, students complete fieldwork (both in-person and telehealth patient care) at St. Luke's in Duluth, Community Memorial Hospital in rural Cloquet, and the Minnesota Veterans Home in rural Silver Bay.
Under the INVITE program, the number of veteran students participating in nursing programs has increased over twofold, and all students have reported an increased interest in serving rural communities. Additionally, the program currently has a 100% retention rate of veterans completing their degree and passing the NCLEX-RN board exam. To date, 20 veterans have graduated from the program, and many are working in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The faculty and staff at the college embraced and supported this program from the beginning as did many community veteran organizations. The biggest barrier is making sure there are enough faculty with veteran experiences to advise and support the expanding student population.
Students continue to report that the most helpful aspects of this initiative are the cohort model, the INVITE room, and faculty support.
Contact InformationGreg White, Assistant Professor
The College of St. Scholastica School of Nursing
Health workforce education and training
May 15, 2018
Date updated or reviewed
June 8, 2020
Suggested citation: Rural Health Information Hub, 2020. Implementation of a Nursing Veterans' Initiative to Transform Education (INVITE) [online]. Rural Health Information Hub. Available at: https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/project-examples/1008 [Accessed 24 October 2020]
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