Nursing Students: Paid VA Nurse Residency

Nursing Students: Paid VA Nurse Residency

Paid Nurse Residency at the VA, Part of the VALOR Program

Nursing school is hard, passing the NCLEX is not easy, and working as a nurse is as challenging as it is rewarding. What might be the most difficult years of nursing are the transition years between student nurse and competent nurse.

Better Prepared to Transition From Student to Competent Nurse

The VA Learning Opportunities Residency (VALOR) program supports nurses during these transition years. The program bolsters the training of nursing school by offering additional time to hone clinical skills that are critically important to a successful nursing career. In an interview for the VA, Jessica Crabtree explained that her participation in the VALOR program prepared her as a nursing student for a seamless transition into a full-time nursing role.

Who is eligible for VALOR?

Glenda Fuller, a VALOR program specialist, explained in the Veterans Affairs & Military Medicine Outlook Spring 2020 that nursing students in accredited baccalaureate nursing programs who have completed their junior year and have earned at least a 3.0 GPA are eligible for the program. This unique residency program involves an 800 hour paid internship in a VA healthcare setting.

Where are VALOR programs available?

VALOR program specialist Glenda Fuller further explained that 124 VA-approved healthcare facilities participate in the VALOR program. Most of these facilities are located in urban settings and the programs receive far more applications than available residency slots, two major challenges of the program Fuller added in the same interview.

Search your local VA health care facility website to find out if a VALOR program is available in your area. The application involves navigating USAJOBs.

[Related: 5 Insider Tips for Navigating USAJOBS]

What are the benefits of participating in the VALOR program?

In addition to her positive experience in the program, Jessica Crabtree continues to benefit from VALOR and her nursing career with the VA.

  • Benefits
  • Job Security
  • Student Loan Assistance
  • Career Advancement
  • Continuing Education Opportunities
  • Work in a Nation-Wide system

Crabtree’s positive experience is shared with 98% of VALOR participants, according to program specialist Glenda Fuller in the Veterans Affairs & Military Medicine Outlook Spring 2020.

What does the VALOR program involve?

VALOR is a recruitment program for VA hospitals with great educational and financial benefits for nursing students. According to a 2014 article in the Federal Practitioner, students write personal reflections and participate in frequent debriefing discussions. Additional experiences include working with other disciplines, observing home health visits, experience in different hospital units, evidence-based projects, and earning certifications like advanced cardiac life support (ACLS), the same article outlines.

Why work at the VA?  Top 10 Reasons to Work at the VA

The VA nursing careers website lists the top 10 reasons to work at the VA. These include:

  • The culture is driven by the values of integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect, and excellence
  • The VA is the largest health care system: over 1,200 facilities
  • Work with cutting-edge and growing technology
  • Support in the form of scholarship programs, tuition reimbursement and student loan repayment programs, and a long list of education and training programs
  • Work-life balance through generous paid days off, sick days, and paid federal holidays
  • High-quality benefits
  • Work on a team of medical professionals focused on caring for veterans
  • Practice nursing in any VA facility with just one license

 

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About the author

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Chelsea Bostelman is a registered nurse who stays busy with freelance writing, exploring Europe, and working on a graduate degree in nursing. She founded the Stuttgart Nurse Journal Club to provide underemployed nurses with free continuing education opportunities. A 10-year military spouse, she and her family spend their free time hiking, biking, and eating in southern Germany.