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  1. McMillan, Libba Reed PhD, RN
  2. Elliott, Brenda PhD, RN, CNE
  3. Chargualaf, Katie A. PhD, RN, CMSRN


Approximately 4.7 million Veterans live in rural areas and face challenges receiving support and care for complex service-connected healthcare needs. The purpose of this qualitative descriptive study was to explore nurses' experiences caring for Veterans in rural home care/hospice settings. Semistructured interviews (N = 14) were conducted between August 2020 and March 2021. Content and thematic analysis resulted in three central themes: Mission readiness: Ensuring safe home environments, Partnering with Veterans: Knowing when to lead and when to follow, and It's my duty: Caring with purpose and honor. Study findings highlight the need for cultural competence in both rural and Veteran cultures. Implications for practice reinforce currently emerging national priorities, including personal safety considerations and need for further professional development associated with screening for firearms and gun safety. Other implications for home care/hospice agencies, as well as nursing education, are discussed.