1. Jackson, Alma PhD, RN, COHN-S

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It seems lately I've run across students at various schools of nursing who do not seem to know about the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). More importantly, neither does the administration of the school. Not knowing this law does not preclude the school from being penalized for ignoring its responsibilities. In 2008, the US Department of Education passed a law that strengthens the readmission requirements for military service personnel in schools of higher education. While USERRA protects service members to return to their employment after their tour of duty, the Department of Education law mandates allowing the service member to return to school, where they left off, without penalty.1 In other words, their "spot" in the program is held. Depending on the program and leave, this rule often applies for up to 5 years; enforcement began in 2010.


This brings to mind the Joining Forces Campaign of Michele Obama and Dr Jill Biden. In April 2012, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing stood proud to take the pledge to honor veterans.2 The program provides education, employment, and wellness for military families through education of nursing students. At that time, 660 nursing schools signed up in all 50 states. In 2014, the Health Resources and Services Administration awarded generous grants to 20 schools that demonstrated innovative programs to support veterans, including credit for training such as medics, corpsmen, and emergency medical technicians.3


Why then do we still have schools of nursing that advertise they are military friendly but are not? Should their accreditation status be flagged for violating nonnursing regulations? Is an Occupational Safety and Health Administration or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission violation any different?


Submitted by: Alma Jackson, PhD, RN, COHN-S, News editor for Nurse Educator (




1. US Department of Education. Frequently asked questions: institutional readmission requirements for service members. 2015. Available at Accessed September 20, 2015. [Context Link]


2. American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Support joining forces. 2014. Available at Accessed September 20, 2015. [Context Link]


3. Health Resources and Services Administration. Health workforce. Helping veterans become nurses. 2014. Available at Accessed September 20, 2015. [Context Link]