Culture of innovation: VA nurses receive excellence awards

Six VA staffers who went above and beyond the call of duty have received Excellence in Nursing awards from the VA Secretary


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Six VA staffers who went above and beyond the call of duty have received Excellence in Nursing awards from the VA Secretary.

In honor of Nurses Month, we’d like to congratulate the deserving winners of these awards.

  • Registered Nurse: Maria VanHart, RN, CEN. A strong role model for her colleagues, VanHart handles high acuity and critical care assignments in the emergency department and serves as charge nurse, triage nurse and COVID-19 screener. She also is a member of the rapid response and code blue teams and a unit peer leader for safe patient handling equipment.
  • Registered Nurse Expanded Role: Victoria Church, RN, MS, CNS-BC. Church has worked as a clinical nurse specialist for medical/surgical, cardiac telemetry since November 2003. She also is making a difference at the national level by chairing the national Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization Acute Care Delivery Council and leading the integration of IV infusion technology as part of the conversion to the Cerner platform.
  • Licensed Practical Nurse: Nicole Snow, LPN. Snow works as the clinical associate on a Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT), where she assists with delivery of preventive care, care coordination and chronic disease management. Thanks to her one-on-one work with hypertensive patients, her PACT has been able to reduce the number of patients with elevated blood pressure.
  • Health Care Tech: Jonathan Lowman, HT. This Veteran and former EMT works in the emergency room at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System. With support from the VA Innovators Network, he has worked to improve prevention of fall-related injuries at home, developing a pilot program that gives fall prevention kits to high-risk Veterans who visit the emergency department.
  • Nurse Executive: Kelly Irving, MSN, RN. Under Irving’s leadership, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center was able to continue providing high quality patient care, while protecting staff, patients and family members during COVID-19. More than 80 staff members consisting of temporary nurses, full-time employees and retired annuitants were hired to ensure adequate coverage. She also serves as chair of the medical center’s Nursing Leadership Council and has implemented multiple strategies to improve nursing satisfaction.
  • Director: John Rohrer, MHA. Rohrer supported hiring an evidence-based practice clinical nurse leader – the first position of its kind – and a nurse scientist to mentor and facilitate best practice initiatives and projects. With Rohrer’s support, over 70 projects related to quality and safety in nursing are ongoing at any given time at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital. He always ensures nurses have a seat at the table and has selected them to play a key role in the facility’s journey to becoming a High Reliability Organization.

Endless opportunities

Like these award winners, you’ll find plenty of chances to inspire, innovate and lead as a nurse at VA.

We are the largest employer of nurses in the nation, with more than 112,000 nurses serving across disciplines and in all varieties of care settings throughout the health care system.

You’ll be a valued member of the integrated care teams that collaborate to help millions of Veterans feel better, faster. Each day, you’ll help make lasting improvements in the quality of care.

We’ll encourage you to make progress in your career and develop professionally through cross training, mentoring and education assistance programs. There are plenty of chances to lead as a nurse at VA, including working as a transfer coordinator, Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) care manager, community care coordinator, clinical nurse leader and more.

We seek new and groundbreaking health care concepts from employees at all levels – like Lowman’s idea to reduce outpatient falls. At VA, you’ll be a key part of a culture of innovation that’s constantly looking for ways to improve the quality of care that we can offer to Veterans.

Work at VA

We’re always seeking to welcome new nurses to our nationwide team. Bring your leadership skills and innovative ideas to a rewarding career at VA.

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VA Careers