VA has an exceptionally talented team of outstanding employees. We would like you to meet them, continuing this week with our regular feature on VA’s Top Nurses.

Heather Frank believes “Our Veterans deserve and have earned the best health care in the world and I have the honor to be a part of it.”

A VA nurse for 8-½ years, Frank was named one of Iowa’s Top 100 Nurses for 2016.

An honor she well deserves according to her supervisor Amy Dawson: “Heather Frank is an exceptional Clinical Nurse Leader and an asset to VA Central Iowa. Her expertise and leadership skills give our staff the opportunity for professional and personal growth second to none.” Dawson is the Acting Associate Director for Patient Care Services and Nurse Executive.

Frank, chair of the local Evidence Based Practice Committee, implemented a Sepsis Protocol which identifies sepsis earlier and saves Veterans’ lives. She works full time in the ICU as the Clinical Nurse Leader.

VA nurses Heather Frank (L) and Jill Jefferson along with Simulator SAM during ICU simulation training at the VA medical center in Des Moines, Iowa.

Heather Frank

Heather and husband Mike, an Army Veteran, and their three children enjoy hiking and camping and trying “new adventures.” Heather is active at the gym, loves kickboxing and mentoring others in their pursuit of fitness.

She received her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Grand View College and her Masters of Science- Innovative Leadership and Masters of Science in Nursing from Grand View University. She also obtained Clinical Nurse Leader certification in 2015 and Critical Care Registered Nurse Certification in 2016.

In addition to her award as one of 100 Great Iowa Nurses, Frank was the VA Central Iowa Health Care System winner of the Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Nursing.

Frank says, “Working at VA Central Iowa Health Care System allows me the opportunity to serve and honor those Veterans who have served selflessly for our country.”

Helped Honor Vietnam Veterans

Her dedication resulted in a unique experience for some Veteran patients at the VA Central Iowa Health Care System.

She remembers: “A Veteran I was caring for talked about an event that was scheduled that coming weekend, an event he had looked forward to attending but now would not be able to because of health issues that necessitated hospitalization.

“Operation LZ” was a grand commemorative ceremony for Vietnam Veterans as recognition for their service and a Welcome Home for the Veterans that served. Since this Veteran was unable to attend, I contacted “Operation LZ” in hopes they would be willing to send some brochures but quickly discovered that Bill Clark from “Operation LZ” was willing to travel to our medical center to honor this Veteran and any others who would be interested.

“There was some laughter, there were some tears.”

“I helped coordinate Bill’s visit and sought out every Vietnam Veteran within the facility to ask if they would like to meet Bill and be recognized. I had the honor and privilege to escort Bill around the facility, together honoring nearly 40 Veterans, providing each Veteran with the “Operation LZ” medallion of honor.

“Some of the Veterans told stories of their experiences, others graciously accepted the medallion in silence. There was some laughter, there were some tears. It truly was an amazing experience to honor those Veterans who served.”

Heather Frank, one of VA’s Top Nurses.

About the author: Kristi Catrenich is a Public Affairs Officer at the Des Moines VAMC

Share this story

Published on Oct. 18, 2016

Estimated reading time is 2.8 min.

Views to date: 84

More Stories

  • Do you have “text neck?” or pain in your head and neck? This acupressure for head and neck pain can help.

  • Significant progress has been made toward identifying, preventing, and helping those who experience domestic violence, but there is still work to be done.

  • 2022 VHA Shark Tank competition finalists will present their pitches at the Innovation Experience in October.