New nurses can say good-bye to first-job jitters knowing they’ll have a year of dedicated time to train, learn and grow through VA’s nurse residency program.

Instead of typical on-the-job training, participants in the program have 100% protected training time for 12 months. Hundreds of nurses at more than 100 residency programs across the nation go through the program each year.

The only nursing traineeship model of its kind, our Office of Academic Affiliations (OAA) Nurse Residency Program is designed to help newly licensed registered nurses (RNs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) prepare to address the unique health care needs of Veterans.

“What benefited me the most from doing the OAA RN residency was the ability to ease myself into practice at a controlled pace while simultaneously learning additional skills,” said residency graduate Nathaniel Cline, BSN, RN, who is now a surgical intensive care unit nurse at Birmingham VA Medical Center.

Ease the transition

The program is “a bridge from a solid academic foundation to clinical practice, and it allows new nurses to focus on identifying their strengths and weaknesses, and enhance their skills and knowledge,” said Director of Nursing Education Jemma Ayvazian, DNP, ANP-BC, AOCNP.

Graduates leave the program as competent, confident health care professionals with the “knowledge and skills to successfully practice in today’s complex, fast-paced health care environment,” Ayvazian said.

Though it’s not required, most decide to stay at VA when their residency is complete.

Now a medical/hematology/oncology nurse at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center, Kelsey Greuel, BSN, RN, not only stayed on at VA, but quickly moved into leadership roles. She now serves as Nurse Executive Council RN co-chair.

“The OAA RN residency program provided me with the tools and experiences I needed to become a well-rounded nurse, find my passion in nursing and introduced me to lifelong friends,” she said.

Supportive atmosphere

Outside their residency, nurses will find a culture of support and camaraderie throughout VA. The residency program wasn’t in place when Ayvazian began her nursing career, but helpful mentors at VA were there to guide her.

“VA has the most diverse and dedicated team of health professionals, and I am honored and proud to serve shoulder-to-shoulder with them,” she said.

At VA, nurses are a key part of health care teams united by a common mission – serving the nation’s heroes.

“I never considered working anywhere else. Working at VA is more than just a place of employment for me; it has a deeper purpose and meaning,” said Ayvazian, who is married to a service-connected disabled Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran.

Work at VA

Ease your transition into your first job with VA’s nursing residency program.

Learn about the benefits of a VA Career as a Physician.It’s all about the Veterans: Why physicians choose VA
Learn about how VA celebrates service on Memorial Day.Honor those who have borne the battle at VA

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