Posted on Nov 16, 2012

Nations Nursing Leaders Join Forces to Restore Lives of Veterans in event hosted by USF Nursing

Nations Nursing Leaders Join Forces to Restore Lives of Veterans in event hosted by USF Nursing

On Tuesday November 14, 2012, downtown Tampa was the site of some uncommon activity as nurse leaders from around the nation zeroed in on the USF Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation for the first annual JOINING FORCES TO RESTORE LIVES: Nursing Education and Research in Veterans Health. Approximately 120 participants from across the nation met to Join Forces to focus on nursing education and research designed to meet the needs of veterans, service members and their families.

This conference is part of USF’s commitment to support the Joining Forces campaign as a national nursing leader. Joining Forces is a national initiative to support and honor America’s service members and their families. More than 150 state and national nursing organizations and over 600 nursing schools committed to educate our nation’s three million nurses to meet the unique health needs of service members, veterans, and their families.

The conference began as master of ceremonies Constance Visovsky, PhD, RN, ACNP-BC, Associate Dean, Student Affairs and Community Engagement introduced the USF Naval ROTC Color Guard as they brought the crowd to their feet for the Presentation of Colors and the national anthem. The color guard were presented with special USF College of Nursing Restore Lives challenge coins by Dianne Morrison-Beedy, PhD, RN, WHNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP, FAAN, Senior Associate Vice President, USF Health, Dean, College of Nursing in recognition of their service to the country.

USF Naval ROTC Color Guard members and Dean Dianne Morrison-Beedy

Dr. Visovsky then introduced  Dean Morrison-Beedy who opened the conference with a rousing speech reminding all that they gathered to support our nation’s military, veteran’s and their families through nursing education and research.

“Today, we have an amazing program with 45 presenters from 13 states and participants from across the nation,” said Dean Morrison-Beedy. “You are an amazing and dedicated group of nurse scientists, researchers and educators!”

Dean Morrison-Beedy recognized some of the many dignitaries attending including: Dr. James Harris, Deputy Chief Nursing Officer, Office of Nursing Services, Department of Veterans Affairs;  Lt. General Martin Steele, Executive Director, USF Military Partnerships; Laureen Doloresco, Associate Director, Patient Care & Nursing Services, James A. Haley VA Hospital; Lt. Commander Brian Hower, Chief of Community Outreach, U.S. Special Operations Command Care Coalition; Lt. Colonel Katryna Deary, Deputy Director of Operations, U.S. Special Operations Command Care Coalition; Lisa Reese, Champion of the College of Nursing, 2012; Ms. Georgeanne McRaven, Ms. Kathy Maguire, and Lt. Colonel Lisa Teegarden, Command Psychologist and Behavioral Health PM, Preservation of the Force and Family Task Force at U.S. Special Operations Command.

(left to right) Dianne Morrison-Beedy and Georgeanne McRaven

(left to right) Dianne Morrison-Beedy, James Harris, Constance Visovsky

Dean Morrison-Beedy conveyed a special welcome from Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, CEO, USF Health Dean, Morsani College of Medicine who could not attend the event.

“I am really impressed to have so many of the nations’ nursing leaders here as part of the first annual Joining Forces to Restore Lives Conference developed by our USF College of Nursing,” said Dr. Klasko. “The work you do today to better prepare over 3 million nurses across the country to care for military, veterans and their families, is vitally important to our community and the nation.”

Dean Morrison-Beedy also briefly expanded on the many initiatives and collaborations at the USF College of Nursing that have made USF a national leader in veteran’s health issues through innovative education programs such as the USF College of Nursing Introduction  to Military and Veterans course, Nurse Anesthesia and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs; ground-breaking research with dramatic results like our ART study, great potential  with students like our three inaugural Jonas Veterans Healthcare Scholars; out of the box partnerships such as our longstanding relationship with the James A. Haley VA Hospital and the VA Nurse Academy, and partnering with MacDill Air Force Base and Tampa General Hospital in providing simulation experiences through the Nurse Transition Program; and  building a veteran friendly college culture with a Nursing Military Liaison [Ms. Alicia Rossiter], and establishing the RETSORE LIVES at USF Nursing initiative with the help of 2012 College Champion Lisa Reese.

(left to right) Laron Nelson, PhD, RN, NP, Assistant Dean, Global and Community Affairs and Lisa Reese, 2012 USF College of Nursing Champion

Dean Morrison-Beedy introduced the Keynote speaker, James L. Harris, DSN, APRN-BC, MBA, CNL, FAAN, Deputy Chief Nursing Officer, Office of Nursing Services, Department of Veterans Affairs. Dr. Harris spoke on Linking Nursing Education and Research to Joining Forces Initiatives. Dr. Harris engaged the audience with an energetic presentation on the Veteran’s Affairs Health System, and how they cope with the complexity of the needs of veterans and their families, on a daily basis. He also indicated that the Joining Forces to Restore Lives conference was on target by collaborating to develop programs to educate the nations nurses, and to develop new therapies for treating veteran health issues. The VA Health System currently only services about 8 million of the nations’ 23 million veterans.

Dr. James Harris, Deputy Chief Nursing Officer, US  Department of Veterans Affairs

There was an action-packed agenda with three concurrent education/research oral presentation sessions and 21 poster presenters covering topics like Educating Undergraduate Nursing Students in Veteran’s Care, Military Sexual Trauma, Veteran’s Health as a Nursing Specialty, Research in Combat and Deployment Issues, and Hot Topics in Veteran’ s Health Education and Research.

(left to right) Lucille Raia, Associate Chief, Nursing Education and Loreen Doloresco, Director, Patient Care/Nursing Services at James A Haley VA Hospital

Participants were treated to exhibits by the Wounded Warrior Project, Mac Dill Air Force Base, Yogani Studios – Exalted Warrior Foundation, All Children’s Hospital and Tampa General Hospital.

After a full day, Dr. Visovsky wrapped up the conference with thanks to everyone. She stressed that, as much as everyone learned at the conference from national experts in nursing education and research, this is only the beginning and that there is more happening nationally in veterans’ healthcare every day.

Constance Visovsky, USF College of Nursing

“As nurses we will respond as we always do,” said Dr. Visovsky. “with determination, innovation, passion and teamwork to ensure that our nation’s military, veterans and their families receive the best care we can give.”

She eloquently gave the participants a call to action.

“Let’s keep the discussion going throughout the year, and continue to share our success and discoveries. Encourage your colleagues back home to do the same, and challenge them to be here next year when we will be Joining Forces to Restore Lives again.”

The USF College of Nursing would like to recognize our corporate partners who helped support this conference: Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses, American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, American Legion Auxiliary Dunedin Memorial Unit 275, Beaux Arts Group, Kaplan Publishing, Michigan Council of Nurse Practitioners, Pro Copy, Pearson, RICOH, and United Services Automobile Association.

For additional photos of the event please visit our Photo Gallery.


Through ‘RESTORE LIVES: Education and Research to Rehabilitate and Restore the Lives of Veterans, Service Members, and their Families,’ USF College of Nursing faculty develop life enhancing treatments through nursing research, and educate nurses with the knowledge and skills specific to the needs of treating veterans and service members with innovative solutions, and conduct research specific to veteran and military health issues through training nursing leaders within military, and educating nurses at all levels in the special needs of the military, veterans and their families. For more information on RESTORE LIVES or the other priorities  at the USF College of Nursing visit