ArticleTHE NURSING ASSISTANT TO LICENSED PRACTICAL NURSE PROGRAM: A COLLABORATIVE CAREER LADDER EXPERIENCEGarcia, Rebecca M. MSN, RN; Sublett, Cynthia DNSc, RN; Pettee, Elinor J. MSN, RN, C; Knox, JoAn BSN, RNAuthor Information Rebecca M. Garcia, MSN, RN, is Associate Director for Patient Care Services at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Battle Creek, MI. Cynthia Sublett, DNSc, RN, is Staff Registered Nurse at Hospice of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH. Elinor J. Pettee, MSN, RN,C, is Chief, Learning Resources Service at Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Battle Creek, MI. JoAn Knox, BSN, RN, is Nurse Manager at Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Battle Creek, MI. Address for reprints: Elinor J. Pettee, MSN, RN,C, Chief, Learning Resources Service, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 5500 Armstrong Road, Battle Creek, MI 49015 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). Journal for Nurses in Staff Development (JNSD): September-October 2003 - Volume 19 - Issue 5 - p 231-234 Buy AbstractIn Brief The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is committed to providing cost-effective, quality care to veterans. Given an aging veteran population and common, multiple co-morbid illnesses, the needs of the typical patient cared for within the VA system are complex. Thus, caregivers meeting these needs require additional nursing education. To ensure the staff will have the skills necessary to care for patients experiencing more complex illnesses, the Battle Creek VA Medical Center (VAMC) designed a program giving experienced nursing assistants the opportunity to enroll in a nursing program leading to practical nurse licensure. The Nursing Assistant to Licensed Practical Nurse Program has been established by developing a collaborative agreement with an affiliating educational institution, defining the selection criteria, helping to prepare funding requests, developing a mentoring program, coordinating with Human Resources and Fiscal Services, and outlining the service obligation. After the first year of this program, the VAMC and the academic institution consider it a successful collaborative effort. The authors describe a program developed to provide experienced nursing assistants with the opportunity to receive practical nurse licensure. © 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.