The College is in the second year of its Implementation of a Nursing Veterans' Initiative to Transform Education (INVITE) program, which has the potential to change the participants' lives as well as healthcare for veterans in the region.
The program is led by Project Director and Dean of the School of Nursing Dr. Julie Anderson, and Department Chair and Project Manager Dr. Paula Byrne. Serving as lead faculty is Dr. Susan Connor PhD, MSN, BSN, RN, an associate professor of nursing, who retired from the Air Force in 2004 as a Lieutenant Colonel. She works with Assistant Professor Greg White BSN, RN, PHN, CCRN, Veteran Clinical Liaison, and Recruiting/Retention Specialist Jeff Pearson.
Essentia Health and the Silver Bay Veterans Home serve as the clinical sites where INVITE students learn direct and virtual telehealth patient care skills.
A proponent of high-tech learning, White offers virtual office hours to students through Adobe Connect. Veteran nursing students are able to gather in a dedicated space on the Duluth campus, a room in the Science Center complete with big-screen monitors for teleconferencing with Veteran Healthcare Facilities, Veteran Support Agencies, and Veteran Colleagues.
The INVITE program values military veterans' experience and gives them appropriate course credit without diminishing the rigor of their academic experience, White said.
The program's cohort approach binds a set of eight students together for the entirety of their time at St. Scholastica. "They have their tribe, their family that stays together," White said. This structure builds camaraderie in a way that's very similar to the military experience.