Looking for the next step in your nursing career? Set yourself up for success with VA’s Registered Nurse Transition-To-Practice (RNTTP) Residency Program. Hear from a recent graduate and current registered nurse (RN) about her experience within this 12-month developmental training program.

Learn from a recent graduate

Julia Maestas is an RN in the medical-surgical unit of Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center in Albuquerque, N.M. As a recent graduate of the RNTTP Residency Program, Maestas believes that it sets new nurses up for success and helps them gain confidence in the role.

“I think it’s a great program, I really do,” she said. “I find that as a new nurse, you have so many questions. A lot of the things covered in TTP (Transition-To-Practice) are things you wouldn’t normally think to ask.”

Maestas touts the importance of the support the residency program provides new nurses. She said that students in the program get that essential extra time to learn. The program supports the nursing students’ learning and development as they transition into competent, full-practicing VA nurses.

The unique course curriculum covers Veteran-centric content such as the many benefits and services Veterans have through VA. Maestas recounts learning about social work opportunities, patient advocate services and more.

“TTP really helped me realize all the resources we have for the patients and how to advocate for them and give them that information,” Maestas said.

Some of the most impactful elements of Maestas’ experience with the RNTTP Residency Program were the lasting relationships she built. The support system she cultivated during that time aids in her success as a nurse. Maestas’ relationship with the head of her program, Deb Pappler, is so meaningful that Maestas in turn enjoys teaching the newer nurses and serving as a helpful resource for them.

“Deb is a big advocate that TTPs can come to her if they have issues,” Maestas said. Maestas is available to the newer nurses and serves as a source of information for them.

“I have a fresher perspective for new nurses,” she said. “When you’re brand new, you have all these questions. I try to give them all of the information and have them come to me if they need to.”

Maestas has family ties to the military, as her father served in the Marine Corps and her brother was in the Army. She feels giving back to the Veterans bridges a connection to her father and brother. She loves working with Veterans and feels it is a “privilege” to serve them.

“It’s an honor to serve people and be a nurse to people who gave us their time. Now I get to give back to them,” Maestas said. “I really enjoy our Veterans. It seems like the Veterans are very grateful.”

She wanted to work for VA not only for the connection to her family and her desire to give back, but because a career with VA comes with unique benefits and career opportunities, such as competitive pay, education support, plentiful time off and more.

One thing in the residency program that Maestas finds valuable is that her Preceptors taught her how to write effective self-evaluations to help her earn promotions and raises throughout her career.

As for the next steps in Maestas’ nursing career, she will work toward a bachelor’s degree in January 2022. After that, her ideal position would incorporate both education and patient care/floorwork.

Find out more about the program

If you’re interested in learning more about the RNTTP Residency Program, subscribe to this email list, as additional program details will be coming in early 2022. Until then, you can find out more about the program on the VA nursing page.

By VA Careers

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Published on Dec. 22, 2021

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  1. JOHN C. WILSON January 8, 2022 at 5:35 pm


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