Shianne Daniels was interested in earning a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) from a military friendly university, and her sister suggested she look at schools in Greensboro.
Her younger sister, India, is pursuing a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling at another Greensboro area university. She thought it would be great if Daniels was living nearby, so they could hang out together as they worked toward their degrees.
When Daniels did a search of military friendly universities in the area, UNC Greensboro popped up on Google. She then came across the School of Nursing’s Veteran Access Program (VAP), which provides medically-trained veterans and service members with specialized support to earn their BSN.
“It just lined up,” Daniels said. “Everything lined up.”
Daniels enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve in 2011, soon after earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology. The 32-year-old Watha native is now wrapping up her final semester at UNCG, which was named today as one of the nation’s top-10 “Military Friendly Schools” amongst Tier 2 research institutions.
Daniels is scheduled to earn her BSN in May, moving her one step closer to her longtime goal of someday working in healthcare. Along the way, she has received financial assistance from the U.S. military and support from her fellow VAP students.
“We are very tight-knit. So we are a mix of different branches. We have Air Force and Army. We have reserves and active duty, and then we also have a National Guard,” Daniels said. “And so I think it just helps us build rapport with one another and have a great support system.”
Daniels initially worked as a multichannel transmission systems operator-maintainer after she joined the Army Reserve at age 21. As a civilian, though, she worked as a rehabilitation technician and in the public school system as she considered her long-term career plans.
She said she thought about using her psychology degree to become a sports psychologist or a health psychologist. She decided two years ago that nursing would be her path into healthcare, and it has quickly become her passion.
Daniels found an Army Reserve unit in Virginia that she could join, giving her the opportunity to enroll in a 13-month program to become a licensed practical nurse. She then applied to UNCG to enter the BSN program as a VAP student.
“What struck me most when I first met Shianne was her beautiful smile and joyful presence. Now that we are masked, I miss that smile, but still see the smile in her eyes,” said Dr. Susan Letvak, the VAP director and the Eloise R. Lewis Excellence Professor in the School of Nursing. “She is a gift to the profession of nursing and the many lives she will touch as a Spartan nurse.”
Like other VAP students, Daniels had a pair of service members who were one year ahead of her in the program to mentor her throughout her first year in the School of Nursing.
Her mentors regularly checked to see how she was doing in her classes, her clinical rotations, and her personal life. They were available if she needed help dealing with stress or a difficult nursing course.
After graduation, Daniels said she wants to work as a registered nurse in a hospital’s emergency department.
“I think it helps me with the military side as far as training and learning critical thinking,” Daniels said of hopefully working in an emergency department. “If I were ever to go downrange and get deployed, I would think that I would have the skills doing it on the civilian side as an emergency nurse.”
For more information on UNCG’s commitment to military-affiliated students, please visit military.uncg.edu.
For the eleventh consecutive year, UNCG has been named a Military Friendly School by VIQTORY for excellence in supporting military-affiliated students.
UNCG is in the Top 10 nationally for Tier 2 research institutions (R2), and is one of just four UNC System institutions to receive this distinction.
Currently, UNCG serves more than 1,300 military-affiliated students – a number that includes service members, veterans, and their dependents. UNCG’s Office of Military-Affiliated Services, is a one-stop shop that provides programming, mentorship, resources, community, and support for future, current, and past military-affiliated students and their families.
Story by Alex Abrams, School of Nursing
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications