The Stony Brook (N.Y.) University School of Nursing enrolled eight military veterans as candidates for a new baccalaureate program designed for veterans or reservists who want to become nurses. The school enrolled five men and three women, ranging in age from 28 to 47, for the current term.
The candidates include a Purple Heart recipient, a medic, a field pharmacist, an Army Medical Mental Health Specialist and two West Point graduates. Six have served in the U.S. Army and two in the Air Force. All had some military medical training.
We see this academic program as a win-win situation for veterans and for Stony Brook Nursing, Lee Anne Xippolitos, RN, PhD, CARN, CS, NPP, CNAA, BC, dean of the school, said in a news release. Stony Brook has a long-standing commitment to recruit and educate nurses from diverse populations, and veterans are a highly diverse group of individuals with significant experience and commitment to excellence and service.
The first candidate accepted was Jason Kokoszka, 36, of North Bellmore, N.Y. Kokoszka was a recipient of the Purple Heart when he was wounded in Iraq in 2004 serving as a U.S. Army Ranger.
We were trained to stop bleeding, insert IVs and administer care to fallen soldiers on the battlefield, Kokoszka said in the release. I had that experience and when I came home and watched nurses care for my father, who suffered from brain cancer for five years, I became more inspired and believed I could become a nurse.
The program is supported by a four-year, $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration. The Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention: Veterans Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing Program builds on combat medical skills and experience and provides support in the transition from soldier to student. Stony Brook is expected to educate 80 veterans by 2016.