Cover Feature

V-CARE Program Benefits Veterans

Photo of Dan

Redshaw at work. [Photo: Courtesy of the Redshaw family] 

By AUDREY HOLTZMAN | College of Nursing

DAN REDSHAW'S MILITARY EXPERIENCE prepared him well for two demanding degree programs offered through USF’s College of Nursing. 

After completing his service as a Navy corpsman, Redshaw earned a bachelor’s degree through USF’s College of Public Health in 2014. He then became one of 10 active-duty and veteran students to enroll in the inaugural cohort of the Veteran to Bachelor of Science in Nursing V-CARE program at USF, earning that degree in 2015. 

The program was created in 2013 with grant support from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The USF College of Nursing was one of nine inaugural grant recipients that later expanded to over 30 schools across the country.  

The V-CARE program was created for service members who have completed training as Army or Air Force medics and Navy corpsmen. 

“This pathway is a highly selective program for military medics and corpsmen that builds upon their military health care education, training and experience, and provides a more efficient pathway and education ladder from veteran, to student, to baccalaureate-prepared nursing professional,” says Alicia Rossiter, MS ’96 and DNP ’15, who co-led the development of the program at USF and served as the director.  

Redshaw enlisted in the Navy’s National Call to Service program, committing to two years of active duty and two years of active reserve. He began his military journey stationed in Great Lakes, Illinois, where he completed basic training and attended hospital corpsman school. He then was stationed in Camp Pendleton, California, to complete Fleet Marine Force training and served as a field medical service technician with the 1st Marine Logistics Group before returning to his hometown of Rochester, New York, to complete his reserve duty.  

  “Dan’s experience as a medic fueled his passion to become a nurse and provided the foundation for his successful transition into the role of baccalaureate-prepared nurse,” Rossiter says. 

 “USF did a great job preparing us,” Redshaw says. “Our exposure and experience made it a seamless transition.”   

After earning his bachelor’s degree in nursing, he began working in Tampa General Hospital’s neuroscience intensive care unit as a critical care bedside nurse. 

 “The population of brain trauma patients is difficult because they look physically well, but they may not recover,” Redshaw says. And although Redshaw enjoyed caring for these patients, he began to explore other opportunities after hearing about anesthesia in nursing care.   

In August 2018, Redshaw applied for USF’s doctor of nursing practice in nurse anesthesiology program and connected with program director Michelle Canale, ’00 and DNP ’15, Life Member.    

“He demonstrated incredible self-discipline, internal motivation and resiliency, which undoubtedly served him well in his military career as well,” Canale says. “He was the kind of student that any nurse anesthesiology program director would want to have. He has become an amazing CRNA and we are so very proud of him!”   

While in the program, Redshaw continued at Tampa General Hospital, this time in the operating room, where he began his clinical rotation at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Here, Redshaw learned the resiliency required to work in the nursing field while adjusting to virtual education and care settings, as well as a shortage of personal protective equipment.

Dan and wife smiling at the camera
Photos of Redshaw family

Redshaw met his wife, Christine, while working at Tampa General Hospital. They welcomed their first baby in July. [Photos: Courtesy of the Redshaw family] 

He graduated from the nurse anesthesiology program last May and began his career as a certified registered nurse anesthetist at Tampa General Hospital in September. Through the program, he also met his wife, Christine ’20, who worked alongside Redshaw at Tampa General Hospital. They welcomed their first baby in July.   

“Set your eyes on your goal, and don’t give up until you get there,” Redshaw says.