A second act of service
Veteran, faculty alumnus finds passion in his second career
By Jessica Binkley
School of Nursing alumnus and current faculty member Wesley Richardson, PhD, MSN, RN, CNL, comes from a long line of veterans, with many members of his family serving in the military since World War II. After serving the country in the U.S. Army, Richardson now serves his fellow veterans as a nurse, fueled by a passion for teaching, mentoring and patient care.
Richardson earned his master’s from the School of Nursing at UT Health San Antonio in 2004 and then went on to earn his PhD in nursing in 2011. He is now a faculty member in the School of Nursing, and his clinical specialty is post-anesthesia care.
In his second career as a nurse and teacher, Richardson leverages his drive to serve the community with his passion for quality care to inspire and educate nursing students.
“Positively impacting students gives me the most joy,” Richardson said. “I have had the opportunity to teach and coach hundreds of student nurses, and my proudest moments occur when I see them thriving in their nursing practice. I take stock of the emails or phone calls from prior students from across the country seeking advice or sharing a career milestone.”
As a program coordinator for the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, Richardson helps prepare nursing students to become U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs registered nurses through the VA Student Trainee Experience Program (VA STEP), formerly named VALOR. The program, which is offered through the VA, is currently in its seventh cohort.
“The program is going strong,” he said. “We have had much success with implementing the program, and we are proud of our outcomes. VA STEP is an essential pipeline for South Texas Veterans Health Care System to recruit student nurses passionate about providing care to our nation’s veterans. As a veteran and a nurse, I appreciate the opportunity to positively impact veterans’ care. It is an honor to be able to give back.”