Nurses enjoy the freedom to have many options for where they want to spend their careers. For those wishing to serve their country and the people who put their lives on the line to defend it, becoming a Veterans Administration nurse is a good career fit.
VA nurses work as part of medical teams providing healthcare for more than 9 million of the nation’s veterans. The work runs the gamut of healthcare services, including preventative care, general and emergency surgery, and primary medical care.
Nurses with an associate degree meet the minimum requirement to work in the VA. However, the Veterans Administration strongly encourages them to complete their Bachelor of Science in Nursing as quickly as possible. Earning a BSN degree gives nurses the advanced knowledge and skills they need to secure a rewarding career within the VA healthcare system.
Benefits of Working for the VA
In addition to the service they provide for the country, VA nurses also enjoy many advantages working for the federal government. They include the following:
The Nation’s Largest Healthcare System
The VA operates 1,700 hospitals, clinics, community centers, counseling centers, and other facilities, making it the country’s largest healthcare system. The VA focuses on evidence-based, patient-focused care and is considered a clinical innovation and surgical quality leader.
The Veterans Administration also works with innovative technology. Long before the pandemic drove thousands into using telehealth, the VA already had 700,000 veterans using telehealth to access their healthcare services.
Nurses play a central role in everything the VA does. According to the VA, “Nurses are at the heart of our world-class, patient-centered standard of care. Day in and day out, they go the extra mile to make a lasting difference in the lives of our veterans and their families.”
The VA gives all employees a license allowing them to work at any VA location nationwide. Employees can transfer to new locations with no loss of benefits. The VA posts openings on a central website called USA Jobs.
Training and Education
The VA provides an impressive amount of education and training support to nurses, offering more than 7,000 training programs in partnerships with more than 1,800 schools.
To help nurses continue lifelong learning, the VA offers scholarships, tuition reimbursement, and loan repayment programs. VA nurses with federal student loans may also qualify for the national loan forgiveness program.
Also, VA nurses have 24/7 access to online courses and training options designed to advance their careers. VA nurses also have access to internal training programs, and the VA Learning University offers customized training to those aspiring to leadership positions.
Working for the federal government offers many benefits that can help nurses avoid job burnout. For example, VA nurses get predictable, flexible schedules that can accommodate their personal schedules. Some VA facilities have childcare facilities, and many have fitness centers. Employees get 26 paid days off per year, 13 sick days, and 10 paid federal holidays.
For a VA nurse serving as reservists and National Guard members, the VA offers up to 15 days a year of military leave support.
VA nurses also get to choose from a variety of healthcare and life insurance options. Nurses are also covered by the Federal Government Retirement System and Thrift Savings Plan.
These rank among some of the most important reasons why you should consider becoming a VA nurse. The job carries benefits that go beyond what many employers offer. And it gives nurses the chance to provide care for those who have put their own lives on the line in defense of their country.