New Nursing Academy

TAMPA -

The nation's nursing shortage is not due to a lack of interested students. Instead, part of it is because there aren't enough teachers at nursing colleges like the one at the University of South Florida. But, a new collaboration is changing that.

The initiative is called the VA Nursing Academy. There are only 11 like it in the nation. It's a partnership between the University of South Florida and James A Haley VA Hospital.

A $3.5 million VA grant allows VA medical personnel to teach part time at USF. Sandra Janzen is a VA nursing executive at Haley.

'We also think it's going to increase recruitment and retention of VA nurses,' Janzen says.

The expanded nursing faculty also means 100 more nursing students will be accepted over the next four years. That's roughly a 17 percent annual increase in enrollment. Carey Ledee is in the first class VA Nursing Academy class at USF.

'I was put on a waiting list at USF and got my acceptance letter about three or four weeks before school started.' Ledee said. 'I was very excited.'

The nursing students also are eligible for $10,000 in scholarships from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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