As of February, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) had more than 800 nursing job openings at various levels on their virtual job board, and more than 100 of them were in California. Additionally, USA Today obtained information that shows that, as of June 25, 2015, there were nearly 12,000 full- and part-time nurse vacancies nationally due to a combination of stiff competition and overall industry demand. The healthcare sector has seen an increased need for nurses over the years; the difference is that a disproportionate number of VA nursing vacancies are left unfilled.
Nurses of all Levels
The VA has a transparent ladder system consisting of five tiers of progression, from entry-level Nurse I to executive Nurse V. The entry-level requirement for the VA is an associate degree in nursing. Moving up the career ladder requires a combination of experience and education, specifically a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). These health systems require master’s and doctoral degrees to reach the highest levels. The VA encourages nurses to improve on four pillars prior to advancement: practice, professional development, collaboration and scientific inquiry. To progress at the VA, nurses must show improvement in all areas and demonstrate the ability to perform at the next level.
Benefits of Working for the VA
The VA touts an ability to offer an unparalleled work/life balance for healthcare professionals, guaranteeing fewer than 60 hours a week and offering a robust package of benefits, annual leave and vacation days. Recently, the VA petitioned Congress for additional funds in an effort to raise salaries with the hope of reducing attrition and attracting additional nurses and physicians.
A Lifetime of Learning
Continuing education takes center stage at the VA, with the organization sponsoring multiple scholarships, tuition reimbursement options and means for loan forgiveness–all in the effort to help their nurses move up the career ladder and retain talent. Thanks to all the education benefits, it is possible to enter the VA with an associate degree and retire with a doctorate in nursing. As nurses progress in their careers, they gain years of experience working with executives to create an organizational mission, advocate for ethical practice on behalf of the public and staff, and develop resource strategies for improved system efficiency.
Learn about the CSUSM online RN to BSN program.
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