Louisiana Increasing Opportunities for Nurse Veterans in Primary Care (LION VIP CARE) is a HRSA* grant-funded project providing opportunities for veteran and active military undergraduate nursing students to develop primary care nursing competencies. Veteran and military undergraduate nursing students have a unique skill set, valuable work experience, and a demonstrated commitment to public service. In addition, military experience instills the value of leadership, teamwork, discipline, reliability, and detail orientation. All of these qualities are transferrable and valuable to civilian nursing careers, especially in primary care settings. As more and more veterans leave active military service, many are returning to live in rural areas and increasingly seeking primary care services outside the VA healthcare system. It is important for primary care providers to understand the unique needs of veterans and demonstrate military cultural competence. Nursing students participating in the program complete longitudinal clinical training experiences focused on underserved and rural populations in southeast Louisiana, and work one-on-one with primary care RN preceptors in a variety of clinical settings. Through ongoing interactions with a student success coach, clinical partnership liaison, and veteran academic advisor, student participants are supported in achieving their educational goals. Students receive a financial stipend while enrolled in clinical nursing courses. The project also supports professional development of current RNs and other healthcare professionals by offering continuing education workshops on primary care nursing competencies, primary care RN roles and scope of practice, and the health needs of veterans, including chronic disease prevention and control, mental health, and substance use disorders, as well as military cultural competence. The goals of the 3-year project are to: 1) enhance current undergraduate nursing curriculum to strengthen community-based primary care competencies and training opportunities; 2) recruit, support, retain, and graduate veteran/military undergraduate nursing students committed to practicing in community-based primary care settings in rural and medically underserved areas; 3) provide professional development training to students, nurses, and other healthcare professionals in primary care nursing competencies, needs of veterans (including chronic disease prevention and control and mental health and substance use disorders), and military culture; and, 4) increase employment of veteran/military undergraduate nursing students in community-based primary care settings in rural and medically underserved areas following graduation. Conference attendees participating in this poster session will be able to: 1) describe the rationale for training veteran and military undergraduate nursing students in primary care in rural underserved areas; 2) identify the structural components of the LION VIP CARE project, and, 3) understand the overall goals of the 3-year project.
*The LION VIP CARE project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1.2 million dollars with 0% financed with non-governmental sources. The contents of this abstract are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the US government.