It’s National Nurses Week, a salute to our VHA nurses, who provide high-quality, compassionate care to our Veterans every day.
At VHA, we are proud to celebrate the more than 100,000 nurses who work in our facilities across the country, 16 percent of whom are Veterans themselves.
Our VHA nurses deserve special recognition for the real difference they make in the lives of our Veterans and for the integral role they play in our health care system at VHA.
When Joyce Flayhan was eighteen years old, her father underwent a quadruple heart bypass.
“I had never seen my dad look vulnerable and I was scared. The nurse caring for him took the time to explain all the lines, tubes, his color change (he still had betadine paint visible) and his sedation (He looked like he might not be alive to me) and his expected recovery process.”
The nurse’s knowledge and caring inspired her and helped her realize that she could help patients and their loved ones through difficult times, assuring them that their loved ones were in safe, kind, and caring hands.
Joyce has been a nurse for 33 years, spending most of her career in the ICU.
“I have always been passionate about education, justice, and quality in healthcare.” She joined the Nursing Service at the VA Maryland Health Care system in 1999 and has been a VA nurse since 1985.
“I love to help people understand their disease, how choices impact recovery, how to prevent issues, and the amazing way the human body can adapt. I am truly amazed by the human body and spirit.”
Joyce wants Veterans to know they and their families are “ALWAYS our Number One priority. Nurses at the VA Maryland Health Care System are passionate about excellent care, and grateful for the opportunity to give back to those who have given so much for our way of life.
“My favorite part of my job is and always has been caring for patients.”
Kay Barnett-McCain loves caring for others. “This is my way of giving back. I became a nurse because I knew I had the gift of compassion and healing,”
A nurse for more than 30 years after graduating from the US Army 91Charlie program, she has been working at VA Maryland Health Care System since 2011. “What I like best about nursing is knowing the Veterans trust me to care for them. With what our Veterans have been through and many are still going through, they can be assured that I will give them 110% to manage their whole health.”
Kay’s favorite part of working at VA Maryland is educating Veterans on health issues and available medical benefits. She also likes educating Veterans on medical equipment, especially for use at home. She wants Veterans to know that she never gives up on a Veteran no matter how rocky the road is.
“In the end that Veteran could be our mother, father, sister, or brother. Care and passion must win in the end.”
When Jeremy DeJesus’ grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he became her primary caregiver. “My promise to her was that I will become a nurse one day and help heal people.”
A nurse for five years, Jeremy enjoys seeing a Veteran patient smile aftercare was completed. “I love taking care of people.”
He’s worked at the VA Maryland Health Care System for six months and enjoys enjoy “listening about their stories regarding their military duties.”
He wants Veterans to know that nurses, ” Improve their quality of life by listening to their wants, needs, and desires.”
Rosalia Scalia is a Public Affairs Specialist at the VA Maryland Health Care System