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The Department Of Veterans Affairs Nursing Academy (VANA): Forging Strategic Alliances With Schools Of Nursing To Address Nursing's Workforce Needs

Bowman CC, Johnson L, Cox M, Rick C, Dougherty M, Alt-White AC, Wyte T, Needleman J, Dobalian A. Nurs Outlook. 2011 Nov-Dec;59(6):299-307. doi: 10.1016/j.outlook.2011.04.006.

In 2007, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) established the VA Nursing Academy (VANA), a 5-year, $60-million pilot program funding 15 partnerships between schools of nursing and local VA health care facilities nationwide, to expand nursing faculty, enhance clinical faculty development, increase nursing student enrollment, and promote educational innovations. VA is an ideal setting for educating nursing students owing to a well-educated registered nurse staff, an array of traditional and nontraditional settings, a state-of-the-art computerized electronic health record system, and a unique patient population. Challenges related to the complex nature of VANA partnerships, conceptualized as strategic alliances created between disparate subunits, each embedded in a larger organization, require careful governance to ensure smooth implementation. To ensure the program's aims are met, a 6-year national evaluation has been funded to help identify which strategies best achieve VANA's goals. The speed of economic recovery and the resulting changes in the nursing workforce are important determinants of VANA's future.

Keywords: Partnerships; Clinical instruction; Veterans Affairs