Military nurse

4 Ways Veterans Continue to Grow via Messiah Online MSN or DNP

Leadership. Teamwork. Results.

As a veteran, you’re known for this and so much more.

As a nurse, you’re known for your calm under crisis, valuable medical skills and reliability.

Those skills will be with you for life.

After leaving service, it may seem like there are fewer objectives, less commitment to a shared goal, or things may seem less linear than they used to.

If you’re looking for a way to step back into a path with intentional choices revolving around a common mission, pursuing an advanced degree in nursing may be a solid fit.

At Messiah University, a faith-based school in the northeast, we can offer you both the advanced intellectual training you need and the flexibility that works in your day-to-day life. Our Master of Science in Nursing program and Doctor of Nursing Practice options are fully online.

“In the military, you cultivate a lot of leadership skills, making you look for the next achievement,” says Dr. Brenda Elliott, assistant professor of nursing at Messiah. “It was instilled in me to always be looking ahead to my next goal,” the veteran says, and, for a nurse, the options as an educator or clinical nurse leader married those goals of using skills and continuing on a path to make a difference.

Nursing Roles Available

Not only can veterans use their military training and leadership skills to pursue an advanced degree; there will be jobs available.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 175,000 nursing jobs will be newly available each year through 2029, to meet the growing needs of an aging population in the U.S. Employment opportunities are projected to grow at one of the fastest rates of any occupation. The Institute of Medicine calls for a doubling in nurses with doctoral degrees to help manage both the educational training of future nurses and clinical workforce needs.

Veterans can link their experience and the job market together to help set them on a path toward advanced practice goals and serving others, both hallmarks of military service. Other hallmarks of military service relevant to pursue an advanced nursing degree include:


The empathy and character you’ve developed and the service mission you have oriented yourself around in your career will blend seamlessly with an advanced nursing degree program and career.

Nurses are known for their combination of supportive bedside manner and professional skills. It takes a specific skill set to project the confidence needed to answer complex questions and provide valuable patient care, while also maintaining resilience when faced with any number of patients, family, or other challenging situations. Veterans are built on resilience. They know how to face challenging situations and thrive.


An advanced degree will require intense critical thinking, problem-solving, and the ability to adjust yourself to manage issues as they arise. A veteran’s military training in mental agility and making judgment calls transfer well into advanced nursing education. A nurse never stops learning and deepening their experience, and intellect will help support that quality.

Getting to the end of a task is not always linear, especially when teaching students or interacting with patients and families. Knowing how to read a situation and prioritize the nuance, juggle tasks, and relational communication are all key parts of a nurse’s role.


A strong leader continually develops the team around them. Whether it’s creating an atmosphere of transparency and mentorship or creating opportunities for others to learn, veterans can take their development leadership aptitude to create an environment that is serving patients, students, and other clinical staff.

“I see a lot of veterans seeking out roles with autonomy, such as nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, and in emergency care,” Elliott says. “These roles require a lot of critical thinking and are practice focused.”

Leading by example, communicating, and building trust are all fundamental ingredients to a nursing career. Whether it’s a patient in a scary situation, family members trying to understand what’s going on, medical team members working together in patient care, or serving the next generation in academia, the leadership veteran brings to a nursing field is invaluable.

Spiritual Connection

From using your military training to having access to online learning for advanced nursing education, Messiah can be a quality choice. But what really sets the school apart is our faith-based lens.

Our curriculum, our faculty, and our support staff align with educating through a servant-leadership approach, integrating the lessons of the Bible into the applications of our mission. Our mission is to educate men and women with character in preparation for lives of service, leadership, and reconciliation in church and society. We serve – and educate, and lead – because God calls us to Jesus as our ultimate example of acting with compassion, respect, and love.

Use Your Military Benefits

As a veteran, you can also take advantage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, with the possibility of full tuition paid for over 36 months of education, including tuition, fees, and a monthly stipend for books and living expenses.

The bill can be used to help someone with a nursing career pay for licenses and certifications, as you make the transition into a professional role.

The Department of Veterans Affairs also has a scholarship program for veterans enrolled in STEM-based programs, including nursing degrees, which can provide grants for up to another nine months of education benefits.

Enlist in a New Career

Your discipline, resilience, and empathy as a veteran can blend seamlessly into an advanced nursing degree program at Messiah. With a fully online curriculum, faith-based education, and clinical placement assistance, you can use the benefits of the GI bill to help you embark upon the next step in your journey.

“Those goal-oriented skills, leading a team, help translate to veterans wanting to do more, be more,” Elliott says. “The programs at Messiah are places where you can be part of a team and lead.”

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