As an Assistant Professor in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at Jefferson College of Health Sciences, James Miller teaches courses for the Accelerated and Traditional BSN programs. In fall 2015, he took on an additional role as the College’s Veterans Retention Advisor for the new Veterans Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (VBSN) program.
The role of Veterans Retention Advisor has special meaning for Miller since he is himself a veteran.
Miller spent 10 years serving in the U.S. Army, the Army Reserves and the National Guard. As a Combat Medic, Medical Specialist, and Nursing, he served in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm; in Afghanistan, post 911, where he was attached to the U.S. Army’s 111th Infantry Regiment, 1st Battalion, as part of the Medical Department Detachment team; at the Brooke Army Medical Center Trauma Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas; at the Carl R. Darnell Army Medical Center at Fort Hood, Texas; and as part of the 996 Medical Company in Glendale, Arizona. He also served as a medical training course instructor for the Army and contracted out to conduct medical instruction to the Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.
Miller credits both his military experience and his medical training with preparing him for teaching healthcare.
“Medicine and teaching is intriguing to me,” says Miller. “I can help someone get better and educate those to help getting others get better. It clicked for me, and I am getting to apply it with honor.”
The Army gave him experience in clinical assessments and care, advanced field and Air-Evac trauma care, emergency medical care, performing mild surgeries, suturing and intubations.
“The more medical and trauma care I did, the more I felt at ease, the more I could help, and the less stress I encountered. I felt I was doing so much for them, that I didn’t let it get to me,” says Miller. “The Army made me more mature, more structured, more knowledgeable, and more life-driven. I realized that there was so much more to live for, than letting life pass you by, when you see so much destruction and death.”
After discharge, he returned to school to pursue his Bachelor of Science degree, where he experienced firsthand the challenges of a veteran transitioning to civilian higher education. In an atmosphere where his military training and experiences did not count toward his degree, with no support system, and no commander to turn to for help, he felt isolated.
The Jefferson College Veterans Bachelor of Science in Nursing (VBSN) program will assist veterans with enrollment, progression and graduation as they earn their baccalaureate nursing degrees. The VBSN program modifies existing nursing curricula and support services to address the unique needs of veterans. Mr. Miller’s goal is “to help veterans, I’ve been there before,” he said, describing the transition between the military and civilian worlds as tough.
Through his VBSN position, Miller will be able to put his prior experiences to use. “As the Veteran Retention Advisor, I will support, guide, retain, and lead a smooth transitional pathway for our veteran students, from start to finish, enhancing their career as a graduate of the VBSN program.”
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