Army veteran finds passion for nursing at USF
United States Army veteran, LaChiana Hamilton, MS, found hope at USF College of Nursing at a time when she felt lost. The college gave her the opportunity to find a new career path in nursing when she never thought she would.
Hamilton served the country for more than 11 years. But due to family reasons, she had to retire early.
“My goal was to serve for at least 20 years, but I was forced to retire after my son needed heart surgery,” Hamilton said. “I loved my son enough to walk away, but, professionally, the transition was a challenge.”
After retirement, Hamilton struggled to find a job. So, she decided to go back to school and become a nurse. She said, choosing USF College of Nursing to complete her graduate degrees, was the best decision she ever made.
“USF Nursing allowed me to feel whole again,” Hamilton said. “The college valued my capabilities as a U.S. Army veteran and allowed me to find a new purpose through an amazing, smooth educational experience. The college gave me the opportunity to enter the nursing profession and return to a life of service – just as meaningful as serving in the military.”
Now a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) student, Hamilton is thankful to USF Nursing’s faculty and staff for giving her the right tools to be successful in a rigorous graduate program.
“My experience at USF has been awe inspiring and fulfilling,” Hamilton said. “The college has given me the highest education and the best clinical practice to become a successful nurse practitioner. I am excited about the future and I am excited to serve.”
As a student, Hamilton has been a true example. In 2014, while completing her master’s degree at USF Nursing, she became a Tillman Military Scholar. She was one of three USF students and among 59 U.S. service veterans and military spouses who were named Tillman Scholars.
“Hamilton’s experience and training in the military has served her well,” said Alicia Rossiter, DNP, USF Nursing military liaison and program director for Veteran to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (VBSN) program. “She is a leader. She has a strong work ethic and sense of dedication. She has a bright future as an advanced practice nurse and I cannot wait to see where she ends up.”
As a DNP student, Hamilton’s concentration focuses in pediatrics. She expects to complete her DNP in Dec. 2016. After she graduates, her goal is to work in a military treatment facility to serve dependent military children.
“Military children have different circumstances,” Hamilton said. “These children live in fear when their parents are fighting wars. So, they need providers who understand their plight and offer services that meet their needs. I want to do that. I want to give back.”
USF Nursing has a history of embracing military service members, veterans and their families. College Factual even named USF Nursing the NO. 1 veteran-friendly nursing college in the country.
In the past five years, the college has created several initiatives such as Restore Lives to help develop education programs and research opportunities that help meet the needs of the military, veterans and their families.
USF Nursing also created the VBSN program, known as VCARE, designed to help veterans and service members, who have served as medics or corpsmen, earn a bachelor of science in nursing.
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Story written by Vjollca Hysenlika