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Understanding the Experiences of Nursing Student Veterans

Shellenbarger, Teresa; Decker, Julie L.

doi: 10.1097/01.NEP.0000000000000499

AIM The aim of this study was to understand the experiences of veterans enrolled in prelicensure nursing programs.

BACKGROUND As the number of veterans enrolling in higher education continues to remain high, nurse faculty working with veteran students are faced with the challenge of meeting their unique educational needs and assisting them as they transition to professional nursing roles.

METHOD A hermeneutic phenomenological study was conducted to understand the experiences of veterans enrolled in prelicensure nursing programs.

RESULTS Findings from interviews with nine veteran nursing students revealed four themes: maneuvering through the mental mind shift, battling conflicting forces, avoiding landmines, and accepting support.

CONCLUSION Based upon these findings, recommendations are presented for nursing programs and faculty to use to support students.

About the Authors Teresa Shellenbarger, PhD, RN, CNE, ANEF, is distinguished university professor, Department of Nursing and Allied Health Professions, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pennsylvania. Julie Decker, DNP, RN, is an assistant teaching professor of nursing, Department of Nursing, Penn State Altoona, Altoona, Pennsylvania. For more information, contact Dr. Shellenbarger at

The authors have declared no conflict of interest.

Online date: May 20, 2019

© 2019 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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