The University of Minnesota’s School of Nursing and the Minneapolis VA Health Care System are teaming up to train nurses on the health care needs veterans often have.

A $5.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced last month made the partnership possible. The money will allow the school and the Minneapolis VA to add 10 faculty members to coordinate the program and work with the students selected.

“We saw this as a wonderful opportunity to provide a great learning experience for our students, as well as being able to increase the number of … nurses not only for the state but also to assist the VA with having nurses who are prepared to care for veterans,” said Christine Mueller, associate dean for academic programs in the School of Nursing.

The partnership will train 100 additional nurses over the next five years in veterans’ health care issues such as depression, multiple trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder. The school admitted a record-setting 148 sophomores into its bachelor’s degree program for this fall, thanks to the grant.

Twenty students each year will participate in the department’s Nurse Academic Partnership. They will get much of their clinical experiences at the Minneapolis VA.

“They’re going to get some rich experiences working with nurses and other health care professionals in a team-based approach,” Mueller said.

Students also learn through simulated-learning scenarios. Now more will focus on the care of veterans, and all students will benefit from the partnership, she said.

The U was one of six schools chosen for the partnership. Also selected were: Marquette University in Milwaukee, Arizona State University, Emory University in Atlanta, New Mexico University and Oregon Health and Science University.

“Our veterans have provided an unbelievable service to our country,” Mueller said. “Some of the things that they come back with we want to be sure our students are prepared to provide nursing care for.”