A new academic-clinical partnership with the Veterans Administration Medical Center (VA) offers nurse practitioner students and new graduate primary care nurse practitioner residents an introduction to the complex care needs of the veteran population.

The VA Nursing Academic-Practice Partnership in Graduate Education (VANAP-GE) was initiated to increase the number of providers who are prepared to provide expert health care for veterans in the community and within the VA health care system.

Students involved in the partnership complete 350-400 hours of clinical practice, working together with nurse practitioners, physicians, physician mental health practitioners, and physical and occupational therapists in the VA outpatient primary care clinic, home-based primary care and mental health and specialty clinics.

Care for veterans may include treating disabilities, substance use disorders and post-traumatic stress, chronic respiratory illnesses, mental health conditions and women’s health, in addition to providing routine primary care.

“Patient care spans the ages from young adult through geriatrics,” said nursing professor Carol Buck-Rolland, who co-directs the VANAP-GE program with VA nurse practitioner Eileen Murphy. “The students have many unique experiences at the VA settings that they may not be involved with in other primary care clinical rotations.”

The students also share their experiences with their graduate nursing peers during class.

“Veterans are different than other patients because of the experiences they have had, exposures overseas and post-traumatic stress. This informs their care,” said Alyssa Turley, DNP ’18, who currently participates in the VANAP-GE nurse practitioner residency. “I’m now following patients that I knew as a student, which provides great continuity of care.”

The two-year VANAP-GE Partnership with UVM is supported financially by the VA Office of Academic Affiliations (OAA).


Janet Lynn Essman Franz
Alyssa Turley (left) and Heejung Charron participated in clinical rotations at the VA as students. Now they are NP residents at the VA clinic in Burlington, Vermont.