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Discovering a New Purpose

Veterans’ Transition to Nursing Education

Patterson, Barbara J.; Elliott, Brenda; Chargualaf, Katie A.

doi: 10.1097/01.NEP.0000000000000538

With the downsizing of military forces and the support of GI Bill benefits, a growing number of veterans are returning to college. Using a qualitative descriptive approach, the researchers sought to understand the transition experiences of 11 veterans enrolled in baccalaureate nursing programs. Data suggest the transition process is challenging, marked by significant change in structure and culture from one context to the next. Veterans return to school to learn and seek meaning and purpose in the pursuit of a nursing degree. Faculty understanding of military culture is a first step in guiding the student veteran to success in nursing education.

About the Authors Barbara Patterson, PhD, RN, ANEF, is distinguished professor and associate dean for scholarship & inquiry, Widener University School of Nursing, Chester, Pennsylvania. BrendaElliott, PhD, RN, CNE, is adjunct faculty, Wilson College Department of Nursing, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. KatieA.Chargualaf, PhD, RN, CMSRN, is an assistant professor, University of South Carolina Aiken School of Nursing, Aiken, South Carolina. Financial support for this project was awarded by the Army Nurse Corps Association. For more information, contact Dr. Patterson at

The authors have declared no conflict of interest.

Online date: June 20, 2019

© 2019 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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