2020 marks the start of a special initiative at VA: Year of the Nurse.

Every day, our 100,000-strong VA nursing corps provides exceptional service to Veterans. To honor nurses and nursing careers throughout the year, VA Careers is sharing profiles, stories and employment opportunities that you can also share with your community and networks.

Celebrate nurses

On Jan. 30, 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated 2020 the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife” in honor of the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale.

“We join our partner organizations in commemorating this momentous year by recognizing the exceptional service VA nurses provide to Veterans — at intake, at the bedside, during case management and throughout their lives,” said Darren Sherrard, Associate Director for Recruitment Marketing at VA. (Click the VA Year of the Nurse logo on the VA Careers nursing website in the coming weeks to find #YON2020 promotional social graphics, banners and flyers.)

Ask almost any VA nurse or nurse leader how they feel about their career and they’ll tell you that it’s more than a job, it’s a mission.

“As a nurse, we’re going to have good days and bad days,” says Nurse Manager Sarah Lueger, who serves Veterans at the VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System in a video. “But there’s no better feeling than caring for the Veteran. It’s a way for me to give back to them for what they’ve done for us.”

Make a difference

Lueger is part of the nation’s largest nursing corps. VA nurses touch Veterans’ lives 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

VA nurses provide support for Veterans at risk of homelessness, Veterans in crisis and Veterans who just need someone to talk to. They learn the history of war to assist a Veteran diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder or conduct research to improve nursing practices. Every day, they impact the more than 9 million Veterans enrolled in VA care.

All of this work adds up to better care for Veterans. “When you look at the quality outcomes for our health system, VA nurses make such a strong contribution to improving the health of our Veterans,” says Beth Taylor, Chief Nursing Officer, Veterans Health Administration.

Find opportunities to grow and lead

We offer our nurses almost limitless opportunities to lead and grow. Nurses at VA are part of a Veteran’s treatment team, serve on leadership boards and contribute to interdisciplinary collaborations to improve patient outcomes.

“Within our healthcare system, there’s different departments and there’s different opportunities that, once you’re here, you can really find that niche and there really is a place, I feel like, for everyone,” adds Topeka VA Inpatient Acute Psychiatry Nurse Manager Karalie Gantz in another video.

At all of our 1,255 sites of care, nurses have a voice at the table. VA nursing staff often weigh in alongside physicians and leadership to improve nursing care at their facility.

But we also empower our nurses by encouraging them to accelerate their healthcare career training and skill set through several scholarship opportunities available to nurses both before and after they embark on a career path at VA.

Enjoy work-life balance and robust benefits

Here at VA, we also offer an unbeatable roster of benefits that encourages work-life balance. If you’re hired under Title 38, you can enjoy 39 days of paid time off each year — and you start enjoying them right away. Our nurses also receive premium-support group health insurance, life insurance and, in some cases, transit support. Nurses have access to the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS), a three-tier retirement plan composed of Social Security, FERS basic benefits and the Thrift Savings Plan.

With one active license, work at a VA by the beach, in a city or in the countryside. Your benefits travel with you. Apply for an open position at VA facilities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and the Philippines. And if you transfer to a new location, you won’t lose benefits or accumulated paid leave. Other perks that come with choosing a VA career as a nurse include:

  • Flexible work schedules and shifts.
  • Diversity and inclusion programs.
  • Leadership development and mentoring programs.
  • Career training and enhancement opportunities.
  • Dining options and a tax-free retail store.
  • A smoke/drug-free workplace.

VA nurses take their mission to heart, advocating for Veterans and making sure they get the care they need, when they need it. But that doesn’t mean they can’t have fun along the way.

“They make me laugh every single day,” Lueger says of the Veterans she serves.

Choose VA today 

Join VA Careers this Year of the Nurse as we take special notice of Lueger, Gantz, Taylor and the many thousands of VA nurses around the country pursuing careers with the purpose of caring for those who’ve served our nation.

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Published on Jan. 14, 2020

Estimated reading time is 4.3 min.

Views to date: 292


  1. R Ring January 25, 2020 at 4:47 pm

    VA nurses are a notch above the rest. Maybe not always perfect, but they strive for it daily.
    Whether an RN 1,2,3,4 or an LVN/LPN gs3 -7, it takes a special nurse to work with vets. It’s not always about the money.

  2. Joseph A Ferrara January 23, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    I. also have had wonderful care and treatment from the VA. Everyone always thanks me for my service and everyone makes me feel important to them!
    O am now receiving additional care thru the community program via Tricare
    Thank you Va I
    probably wound’t be here at 88 years of age without you!!!

  3. Steve Sinatra January 16, 2020 at 8:19 am

    The education requirement for VA nurses is ridiculous. My wife is a GS-13 nurse manager (RN) and refuses to take a $30K pay cut to work at the VA…all because she doesn’t have a 4-year degree. She was ready to move to the VA to become the interventional radiology nurse manager at Audie Murphy in San Antonio, but the pay cut was ridiculous. This needs to be changed in order to retain or find quality RNs. A 4-year degree doesn’t make you a quality nurse…caring for patients and being a quality employee does.

    Steve Sinatra, USAF MSgt (ret)
    Helotes, TX

    • Alice Deare January 23, 2020 at 4:52 pm

      All nurses should strive for at least a baccalaureate degree. I am a VA nurse for 25 years. We have lots of nurses in college while working to advance their degrees. How can you have a masters degree nurse work for an ADN 2 year nurse? Other private hospitals require more too. Sounds like she found a place that needed her. Standards are not high enough I think. I am also a veteran receiving care by these quality VA nurses.

      • Eric Grubbs January 28, 2020 at 3:25 pm

        Regarding the question “How can you have a master’s degree nurse work for an ADN 2 year nurse?” When that ADN 2 year nurse has worked in several areas of Nursing Care for 10+ years, scheduled shifts, overseen floors, and other supervisory and management positions. Many master’s degree nurses I know have more time in the classroom than at a bedside. Quality time in service should be as valuable as, if not more, than any piece of paper. I have worked in higher education for three decades and have developed the belief that formal education only encourage more education, not better work.

    • Ali Deare January 23, 2020 at 5:26 pm

      All nurses should strive for advanced degrees. 2 year ADN degrees work well with work-a-bees but leadership positions need more education. I am a veteran and have worked at the VA as a nurse over 15 years and appreciate the education requirements. Degree levels do matter as no one wants a 2 year degree nurse to be the manager over an advanced degree nurse. If anyone wants the job then get the degree or get in the VA and get the nurse scholarship. Lots of options for those that want to work and put forth the effort.

  4. Jimmy Strange January 15, 2020 at 11:28 pm

    To the Veterans Health administration,

    I am very happy with the care that I receive through the VA and I want to say thank you. I fell ill and consequently became disabled in the fall of 1996 I would have been an Iraqi Freedom warrior. Though, I didn’t start receiving care through the VA until 2000. With issues over the years, I have had to take advantage of many medical treatments and services through the VAHCS. I have had to seek medical treatments at Veterans hospitals in different states as well. In all my encounters of nurses and doctors that I have seen, I feel that I have been treated more than fairly but with optimism and genuine care. I heard something somewhere where ” a hero saves one life- a nurse saves over one- hundred”. I agree. I believe that the VA healthcare system provides a “safety net” for me as well. In my recent encounters, even the Mission Act with community care is seemless in my opinion. I feel positive about my care and confident for a better VA from history to tomorrow to future to come. Thank you!

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