Veterans/Military/Military Family Members
The VUSN values our Veterans, Military and Military Family Member students. We want you to feel welcome and to reach out to us if you need assistance or have questions about your academic journey.
Here are some of the VUSN efforts to support you in achieving your academic goals.
- Flexible programs of study in many nursing specialties that facilitate part time or full time study.
- The use of on-line learning technology to support students who are located away from Nashville, yet want to pursue an advanced degree in nursing.
- Faculty members with recent and relevant military experience, to include combat experience, who are available to mentor and coach students as they progress through their education journey and transition to practice.
- Robust relationship with a large co-located Veteran's Administration Medical Center and regional healthcare system for clinical placements and management learning opportunities.
- Full support of GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon programs.
- Scholarship opportunities for students who choose to pursue scholarly work and research on Veterans health care needs.
- Formal partnership with the nearest Military Healthcare System at Fort Campbell, KY. (Just a one hour drive from Nashville)
- Program to evaluate previous military experience and education in order to assess for translation/constructive credit towards advanced education.
- Formal partnership with the Air Force Academy to support follow-on nursing education for Academy graduates. Future partnership with the United States Military Academy and United States Naval Academy are in development.
- Specific outreach efforts by the School of Nursing to collaborate with local military recruiters and the local ROTC programs.
- Specific outreach efforts by the School of Nursing to host an annual Veterans Day event to honor Veterans.
- Collaborative effort with local health care systems to facilitate post- graduation hiring opportunities in the area.
- School of Nursing leadership and faculty involvement in local, regional and national Veterans advocacy.
- Process to create clinical and management practicum coursework opportunities with health care systems around the country in order to support learning objectives where the student resides.
Tips on transitioning from the military environment to the academic environment:
- Make good use of the military transition program and tools. There are many resources available to you while you are still serving to help you transition to civilian life. There are also many resources available via your State’s Department of Veterans Affairs website. The site for Tennessee is located at: http://www.state.tn.us/veteran/vetjobs.shtml. There is also a site specifically for women Veterans in TN located at: http://www.state.tn.us/veteran/womensvets.shtml
- Consider whether you want to attend school full or part time. This choice will help you manage the stress of change that is associated with transition.
- Take advantage of the University’s resources such as academic services, tutoring, and counseling.
- Be aware that others may not agree with you or understand your service in the military. Opinions on the war and the military vary and it is your decision on whether you want to discuss your service or to answer questions regarding your service.
- Continue your fitness and exercise routines. Get plenty of rest, exercise, and eat right as these good habits will help keep you strong physically and mentally.
- Learn to recognize your own signs of stress and seek assistance before feeling overwhelmed.
- Learn more about good study habits and study habits that work for you. You may want to seek out a study partner or develop a study routine that helps you focus on coursework without distractions.
Kelly A. Wolgast, COL, U.S. Army (Ret)
DNP, MSS, RN, FACHE
Work Phone: 615.343.4491
Office Location: Vanderbilt University School of Nursing at Scarritt Place, 1024-C 18th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37212
Dr. Wolgast is an Assistant Professor in the MSN in Healthcare Leadership. Prior to arriving at Vanderbilt in August 2011, she served 26 years on Active Duty in the United States Army as an Army Nurse and retired as a Colonel. Her experiences include earning the Bronze Star for combat experience as Deputy Commander and Chief Nurse in Afghanistan, a deployment in support of Hurricane Katrina relief operations in New Orleans, serving as a Hospital Commander, and serving as the Senior Nurse Executive of the US Army Medical Command. Kelly has many years of executive nursing and healthcare leadership experience and has a strong background in Medical-Surgical Nursing. Kelly earned her Baccalaureate degree in Nursing from Penn State University, a Masters of Science in Nursing (Administration and Education) from Vanderbilt University, a Masters in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College, and a Doctorate in Nursing Practice (Executive Nurse Leadership) from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.