Veteran strives to make an impact through nursing

Veteran strives to make an impact through nursing

Josh Snavely

Josh Snavely

Josh Snavely, spent six and half years in the U.S. Navy and spent some time as a hospital corpsman while he was on active duty. When he left the military, he knew he wanted to apply his experience as an EMT and immediately went to paramedic school.

He loved being a paramedic, but something was missing. As a paramedic, Snavely said he felt there was no real opportunity to grow into a leadership role or expand his clinical practice. Nursing was the obvious solution.

“I knew I wanted to advance my skills clinically and being in the military gave me the ability to deal with the pressures of being a nurse,” said Snavely, a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) student in the Adult Geriatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner track at the UW School of Nursing.

He is among a growing number of UW nursing students that are also veterans. Currently, about 37 students – or five percent – enrolled at the Seattle campus identify as veterans.

“The University of Washington provides a supportive environment for current service members and veterans in their academic pursuits,” said Dr. Hilaire Thompson, graduate program director and UW professor. “At the School of Nursing, we respect and value the service provided by all veterans, and the perspectives they bring to the program.”

Thompson said many clinical placement opportunities within the DNP program are within military and veteran’s health centers throughout Washington state, and UW School of Nursing graduates often choose to work in these settings.

“Veterans have life experiences that really benefit the nursing profession,” Snavely said. “We have been exposed to clinical situations and experiences that civilian nurses don’t encounter as often. There’s so much good a veteran can do as a nurse.”

For Snavely, being an acute care nurse practitioner is a great fit with his military experience, in part because he is comfortable providing urgent care for patient’s needs.

“It’s exciting to see results quickly in acute care,” he said.

Snavely was drawn to UW because of its great reputation, nationally known programs and tremendous influence in the Puget Sound, he said. He also enjoys the culture of strong collegiality and camaraderie.

“Professors treat students like equals and address us as colleagues,” he said. “They really respect us and how we want to learn more and advance our careers in nursing.”

Upon graduation in 2019, Snavely would like to be an ICU provider or neurovascular nurse practitioner.

“Most of all, I want to take what I’ve learned at UW to better patient’s lives,” he said.

Support students