School of Nursing

VA Scholar Program

The Oregon Veteran Affairs Nursing Academic Partnership (VANAP)

The Oregon Veteran Affairs Nursing Academic Partnership (VANAP) is an innovative education and practice collaboration between VA facilities and the OHSU School of nursing that will ensure quality Veteran care now and in the future. VA facilities will partner with OHSU School of Nursing campuses located in Portland to strengthen academic and clinical relationships and opportunities. VANAP seeks to address a growing population of Veterans with unique and complex care needs who are served within multiple, diverse care settings. Specifically, VANAP intends to promote the safe and effective care of Veterans within and across community healthcare settings by expanding the workforce of BSN-prepared nurses able to provide quality Veteran-centric care that improves patient outcomes and reduces cost of care.

What does the program mean for students?

Students designated as VA Scholars will experience the following:

  1. Honor and prestige of VANAP affiliation and participation in a select student cohort.
  2. Unique clinical experiences with significant time in residence in VA settings throughout the nursing program of study.
  3. Learning opportunities within dedicated education units (DEUs) or inter-professional Patient Aligned Care Teams (PACTS) in specific VA settings where available.
  4. Deep immersion in Veteran-centric topics with a focus on the unique health care needs of Veterans.
  5. Guided instruction by clinical content experts, experienced faculty, and VA nursing staff.
  6. Exposure to a variety of newly emerging nursing roles, including those in transitional care and care coordination.
  7. Special recognitions, celebrations, events and educational offerings exclusive to VANAP students
  8. Opportunity to apply for VA Student Nurse Technician (SNT) positions as available including the VALOR program where offered within the VA. Learn more about the VALOR program
  9. Marketability in terms of employment when applying to any VA or non-VA healthcare facility. Specifically within VA facilities, SNTs and VA Scholar graduates will have priority for hire into open nursing positions.
  10. If hired by the VA post-licensure, VANAP graduates will also become eligible to apply and participate in several VA-specific programs (as applicable/where available) including, but not limited to: VA Post-Baccalaureate Nurse Residency Pilot; Employee Debt Reduction Program (EDRP); VHA Registered Nursing (RN) Transition-to-Practice Program (on-site or virtual programs), VA Scholarship programs for advanced nursing degrees.
VA clinic at OHSU

Expectations of a VANAP student:

It is expected that successful applicants commit to their school of nursing campus and the VANAP program for the duration of their nursing education and comply with the vision, mission and values of VA Medical Centers and facilities.

What do students say about their clinical experiences in VA settings?

Current VA scholars have consistently reported positive learning experiences in these settings.
Here are a few student comments:

"I feel that as a VA Scholar, I get so much more one-on-one experience with my clinical faculty and Clinical Teaching Associate (CTA). I really appreciate that individual attention. I also appreciate the enrichment opportunities available in the VANAP program."

"I was really impressed with how the VA staff was so willing to help us in our clinical experience and help us learn about patient care. They were open to us! I was really happy to see a work environment where the staff loved their work and their co-workers. All the Veterans I interacted with during my clinical rotations were very satisfied with their care at the VA and I realized how much the staff genuinely cared for their patient population."

"I love the faculty that I have been working with. They are all wonderful. I enjoy working with Veterans and learning more about their specific needs. The Clinical Teaching Associate (CTA) that I was assigned to during my acute care rotation was exceptional. She was very kind and helpful and I truly enjoyed learning from her."


You must be a current sophomore level student enrolled in the 3 year baccalaureate program.  Information about VANAP and the application process will be provided to this group early in fall term. VA Scholar designation is determined via the application process.


Deborah Messecar
VANAP Director - OHSU School of Nursing

Michele Cooper, R.N., M.S., B.C.
VANAP Director - VA Medical Center