June 26, 2019 – Florida is home to approximately 1.5 million military veterans and has the third largest veteran population in the United States. Now, veterans will care for other veterans with a project designed to train veteran nursing students to provide primary care services to veterans in rural and underserved communities. 
Researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing have received a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services, to form a primary care workforce of practicing registered nurses who understand the unique needs of military veterans, and are practice ready and willing to serve rural and underserved communities. 
The project, “Caring-based Academic Partnerships in Excellence: Veteran RNs in Primary Care (CAPE-V),” is designed to educate and provide clinical training for bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) students in primary care and to provide professional development to practicing registered nurses (RNs) in primary care. The program will enrich the BSN curriculum and student clinical experiences in the areas of primary care, unique population health needs of veterans, mental health and substance use disorders, value added care, telehealth, and health information technology. 
“Our CAPE-V project is a ‘win-win’ for nursing students who are veterans, practicing registered nurses, and for the veterans who we will ultimately serve in rural and underserved communities,” said Beth King, Ph.D., project director and an assistant professor in FAU’s College of Nursing who has years of experience educating veteran nursing students. “Our goal is to create healthier communities, and with this grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, we will be able to create an outstanding workforce of specially-trained registered nurses.”  
The goals of CAPE-V are to recruit, educate, and financially support a culturally diverse group of veteran students for FAU’s College of Nursing BSN program (RN-BSN, accelerated, and second degree part-time BSN tracks), who are primary care oriented and willing and ready to work with underserved and rural populations. The project team will establish partnerships with three veteran organizations and one new innovative academic clinical partner. 
The project team will continue linkages with four of its existing academic practice partners serving rural and underserved populations for longitudinal clinical training experiences of veteran undergraduate nursing students in primary care settings. Collaborators include the West Palm Beach Veteran Affairs Medical Center primary care clinics, Health Care District of Palm Beach County’s C. L. Brumback Primary Care Clinics, Community Health of South Florida, Inc., Holy Cross Hospital, and FAU’s Community Health Center, operated by the college. 
King and collaborators will implement an innovative, caring-based, evidence informed professional development program in primary care for practicing RNs, RN preceptors, and faculty to address military culture and the unique needs of veterans, prevention and management of chronic disease, mental health and substance use disorders. Using best practices, the team will establish a veteran centric mentorship program grounded in caring to address the unique needs of veteran students, enhancement of student well-being, facilitation of successful program progression, and employment in primary care settings serving rural and/or underserved populations. 
Collaborators of the project are Marilyn Ray, Ph.D., emeritus professor in FAU’s College of Nursing and a retired colonel in the U. S. Air Force; Kathi Harvey, D.N.P., an assistant professor in FAU’s College of Nursing who is an experienced primary care clinician providing care to medically underserved populations; and Matthew Patterson, MBA, an Iraq war veteran. M. A. Potter, D.N.P., a colonel in the U. S. Air Force, who is an expert in veteran primary care and military leadership will serve as a consultant on the project. 
With this award, BSN veteran students will receive stipends, enriched curricula, and a 180-hour clinical immersion experience in a community-based primary care setting. In addition, RNs working in primary care and faculty in FAU’s College of Nursing will receive professional development training focused on veterans and primary care.
“Nurses who have served in the military themselves are uniquely positioned to care for other veterans and truly understand their specific needs,” said Marlaine Smith, Ph.D., dean of FAU’s College of Nursing. “This important grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will ensure that Dr. King, her collaborators, and all of our academic partners continue their exceptional work to provide primary care services to our veterans.”  
This project is supported by HRSA of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1.5 million. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.
About the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing: 
FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing is nationally and internationally known for its excellence and philosophy of caring science. The college is ranked No.1 in online graduate nursing programs in Florida and No. 23 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. In 2017, with a 100 percent pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN®), FAU BSN graduates, first-time test takers, ranked among the highest (No.1) in Florida and the United States. FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). For more information, visit
About Florida Atlantic University: 
Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of critical areas that form the basis of its strategic plan: Healthy aging, biotech, coastal and marine issues, neuroscience, regenerative medicine, informatics, lifespan and the environment. These areas provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit