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Florida Veterans Healthcare Center Designated "Preferred Training Facility" by Department of Veteran Affairs

Bay Pines VA Healthcare System (VAHCS) in St. Petersburg, Florida, has earned designation as a preferred place for future healthcare professionals to learn and train, based on a national survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Academic Affiliations. The system maintains more than 220 academic affiliation agreements with institutions of higher learning across the country, including National University of Health Sciences (NUHS).

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National University and Bay Pines have been affiliated since 2014 when National University interns became the first to bring chiropractic care to veterans as part of their clinical internships and hospital rotations. In return, NUHS interns from both Illinois and Florida locations have the opportunity to work at the Bay Pines facility and gain experience working with a different population that they may normally not see in an NUHS clinic.

The annual Learners' Perception Survey (LPS) is a standardized, scientifically validated instrument that has been designed by the VA to measure the perceptions of health profession trainees (students, interns, residents, and fellows) about their clinical training experience during a rotation at a VA healthcare system facility.

In addition to training-oriented questions, the survey also asked respondents if they would choose VA training experience again. Ninety-eight percent of respondents who trained within the Bay Pines VAHCS indicated that they would return for the experience.

"Providing an environment for trainees in which they learn how to deliver high quality care as part of a team is essential for meeting the healthcare needs of our nation both now and in the future," says Dr. Henry Park, Deputy Chief of Staff and Associate Chief of Staff of Education, Bay Pines VAHCS.

Two National University alumni who trained at Bay Pines fully agree. Dr. Eric Brennan (NUHS 2014) says: "It allowed me to see cases that I will probably never see again. It was amazing to work in a hospital setting where all the doctors, no matter the specialty, were there for one cause: the veterans."

Dr. Jennifer Gantzer (NUHS 2014) also took advantage of the Bay Pines rotation and appreciated being able to practice alongside MDs with patients who often had multiple conditions and complex medical needs. She also felt the rotations at Bay Pines helped MDs to appreciate the chiropractic profession. "We need to show MDs that we are professionals that can offer valuable expertise, not just compete with them. Doing so helps us gain a more global view for our profession and integrate ourselves in mainstream health care as equals."

"We are grateful to have this unique experience for our NUHS interns to be able to participate in rotations at this first-class Bay Pines VA facility. This opportunity gives students experience with working on a variety of conditions that our veterans are faced with and the ability to communicate patient care treatment plans with other healthcare professionals that are also focused on providing patients with evidenced-based treatment options." Says Dr. Daniel Strauss, dean of the College of Professional Studies, National University of Health Sciences - Florida.



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