SON Launches Initiative for Military-Affiliated Students

The UNC School of Nursing recently launched an initiative for veteran and active-duty military students aimed at creating a smooth transition into the School’s academic programs. A welcome and networking luncheon for students with military experience served to kick things off during fall orientation. Faculty and staff with military backgrounds joined the students, who were informed of available support services within the School and at UNC, and were introduced to the School’s Military Advisory Committee, which was formed in 2014 to guide this initiative.

The School currently enrolls 30 military-affiliated students across its degree programs—about 5% of the total student population—and hopes to attract more.

“What better way to increase the diversity and leadership in the nursing workforce than to focus on our current and former military veterans. Students who come to us from the military have received intensive leadership training and they bring those skills along with diverse experiences, backgrounds and perspectives to the School,” says Dr. Pamela Johnson Rowsey, PhD, RN, Associate Professor and former military reservist who coordinates the initiative.

The Military Advisory Committee, a cross-section of School of Nursing personnel, alumni and students with varied military backgrounds, offers valuable insight into the different educational tracks current and former service members take to enter nursing school, as well as the wide variety of experiences military students bring with them.

“These students are richly diverse in all ways and that holds real appeal for us. Many of them come to nursing as a second career while others are extending their nursing career through a more advanced degree program. We want to ensure all are successful,” says Kathy Moore, MSN, RN, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, who, with Dr. Johnson Rowsey, spearheaded the initiative. “Their experiences enhance our educational atmosphere, and we hope to learn from them as much as they learn from the faculty, staff and peer students.”

The School is developing a website detailing the support services and networking opportunities available for its military students, and aims to expand its outreach to include students who are spouses or partners of those in the military, as well.

For more information, please contact Dr. Pamela Johnson Rowsey at pjrowsey@unc.edu.