Salt Lake VA Will Be New Nursing Academy Site

Salt Lake VA Will Be New Nursing Academy Site

Aug 7, 2007 6:00 PM

Four Universities Partner with VA in Nursing Initiative

SALT LAKE --The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has selected the University of Utah College of Nursing for a special partnership with the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System as part of a new VA Nursing Academy.

The partnership comes as part of a new initiative that teams the VA's world-class health care system with four of the country's finest nursing schools.

"The expanded role of VA in the education of nurses will ensure the Department has the nurses needed to continue our world-class health care for veterans," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson. "Our strengthened partnerships with these four great nursing schools will enhance the faculty and clinical resources needed to educate nurses."

The VA Salt Lake City Health Care System and the University of Utah College of Nursing already have a long education and training relationship. The George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center has been a practicum and training site for nurses at all levels of education for more than 30 years. "The VA Nursing Academy is a natural extension of the strong training relationship that already exists between the VA and the University," said James R. Floyd, director of the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System.

"The Salt Lake VA Nursing Academy distinction will take our partnership to the next level of collaboration as we address the nursing faculty shortage together and enrich the educational experiences for our students," said Maureen R. Keefe, R.N., Ph.D., dean of the University of Utah College of Nursing.

The four VA-nursing partnerships were selected from among 42 applications. Additional VA-nursing school partnerships will be selected in 2008 and 2009, for a total of 12 partnerships in the five-year pilot program.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has reported that more than 42,000 qualified applicants were turned away from nursing schools in 2006 because of insufficient numbers of faculty, clinical sites, classroom space and clinical mentors. VA currently provides clinical education for approximately 100,000 health professional trainees annually, including students from more than 600 schools of nursing.

The other nursing schools selected to take part in the new program are:

* University of Florida in Gainesville;

* San Diego State University; and

* Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn.

The VA Nursing Academy was recently established to address the nationwide shortage of nurses while ensuring that veterans continue to receive world-class care and services.

The Academy's "Enhancing Academic Partnerships" pilot program enables competitively selected VA-nursing school partnerships to expand the number of nursing faculty, enhance the professional and scholarly development of nurses, increase student enrollment by about 1,000 students and promote innovations in nursing education.

Further information about the pilot program can be obtained from the VA's Office of Academic Affiliations Web site at www.va.gov/oaa.

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Media contacts:

Maureen Keefe, R.N., Ph.D., dean of the University of Utah College of Nursing,

(801) 581-8262

Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Public Affairs, (202) 273-6000

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