Davenport links with Department of Defense health facility


Davenport University has a new ally in its efforts to provide education for veterans.

School officials and representatives from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Medical Education and Training Campus planned to unveil today an affiliation that will streamline a Veterans Bachelor of Science in Nursing program for METC graduates.

Lt. Col. David S. Johnston, director of strategic planning and partnerships for METC, will meet with DU administrators, faculty and staff members Oct. 26 and 27 to evaluate the compatibility of the university and the METC.

The METC is a state-of-the-art Department of Defense health care education campus based in San Antonio, Texas, and has more than 50 medical programs and 21,000 individuals graduating each year.

Dr. Karen Daley, dean of the College of Health Professions at Davenport, said in addition to the agreement that will affiliate the organizations, they will be evaluating an admission guarantee for METC graduates, as well.

“The great part about having (Johnston) here is we have an authority on veterans’ education and we are all going to sit down with him and think about how we can do this better,” Daley said late last week.

“How can we make sure we are taking the best care possible of the veterans and giving them the best opportunities with a shorter time to degree, honoring their experience, making sure they are not asked to complete courses for knowledge they already know.”

Davenport’s Veterans BSN degree is supported by a nearly $1.2 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, according to a press release.

The program is intended to assist veterans and inactive military service members with earning a BSN, passing the National Council Licensure Examination, and obtaining a nursing position in the health care field.

Since most veterans’ transcripts from military medical training don’t include academic credit, Daley said they had to start a program as freshmen taking fundamental nursing classes. The $1.2 million grant allowed Davenport to start a program granting academic credit for military experience.

“These gentlemen and young women are rescuing people on the battlefield, pulling them into a helicopter, doing their vital signs, saving their lives, and yet most nursing programs will put them in a course called ‘fundamentals’ where they learn how to take a blood pressure,” said Daley. “It is very insulting to the service members.”

As Davenport continued researching how to grant credit for military experience since no one would allow the university to look at the curriculum, Daley said they learned after speaking with veterans that the Army, Navy and Air Force had begun to organize their curriculum, and all medically military trained service members were being processed through the METC in Texas.

“Two of my VBSN staff members went down there in June and talked to Lt. Col. David Johnston, and he listened to what we were doing, listened to the plan and listened to our interest in veterans,” said Daley.

“He came back to us after the visit and said, ‘I would really like to work with Davenport.’”

Johnston’s role with the METC is ensuring the nearly 21,000 METC graduates each year who are interested in continuing their education are transferred to quality institutions, whether they enroll immediately after completion or upon returning from deployment, according to Daley.

“We began discussions on what that would look like and which programs would match. He sent us the entire curriculum — everything we ever wanted to see about the different programs. We have learned so much from this relationship already,” said Daley. “This is a wonderful opportunity to have an expert on site to make sure we are doing the best we possibly can for veterans.”

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