Discover eight great advantages of working for the largest employer of nurses in the U.S.
The Veterans Health Administration, known as the VHA, serves those who have served in battle. You might be surprised to learn that the VHA is the largest employer of nurses in the U.S., employing more than 113,000 nurses. Those nurses treated 6,752,638 patients in 2022.1
More VHA nurses are needed. The VHA projects it will need to hire 77,500 nurses over the next five years because many current nurses are about to reach retirement age.1 Explore eight great benefits of becoming a VHA nurse.
- You can work in the U.S., Guam, American Samoa, the Philippines or Puerto Rico. With one U.S. nursing license, you can work at any of the 1,300 VHA locations.2
- Paid time off. VHA employees, including nurses, receive 13 sick days and up to 26 paid vacation days each year. There’s no limit to how much sick time you can accumulate. Additionally, the VHA provides 11 paid federal holidays annually.2
- You can gain valuable leadership skills. If you’re interested in a nurse leadership position, the VHA provides leadership skills development. For instance, in 2022 the American Organization for Nursing Leadership provided virtual Nurse Manager Institute sessions to prepare more than 300 nurses at the VHA for nurse manager roles.1
- You can take advantage of two retirement plans. The VHA offers a Thrift Savings Plan, similar to a 401K, which you can roll over into a 401K when you leave the VHA. The VHA also offers a pension program for those who make a career of working for the federal government.3
- You’ll be working with heroes. The mission of the VHA is to care for those “who shall have borne the battle” and their families. Many VHA nurses are inspired by their patients, who willingly put their lives on the line for our country.2
- You can work in a variety of nursing specialties and settings. Nursing opportunities abound in such areas as oncology, traumatic brain injury, cardiology, spinal cord injury and palliative care. You could also work in long-term care, mental health, acute care or outpatient clinics.
- The VHA is battling burnout. There is great joy in nursing – but there is also a great deal of physical and emotional stress, which can lead to burnout. The VHA recognized that and established a task force known as REBOOT: Reduce Employee Burnout and Optimize Organizational Thriving. REBOOT is working to create a workplace that empowers each nurse to find joy and fulfillment as they provide excellent care to veterans. The VHA has also implemented “Mindful Mondays” to encourage nurses to start their week with 15 minutes of relaxation, mindful breathing and guided visualization.1
- You could be eligible for tuition reimbursement, scholarships or loan forgiveness. The VHA provides several scholarships to help future nurses get the education they need (read more about one of those opportunities below). Additionally, the VHA offers tuition reimbursement programs. Nurses who have federal student loans could also be eligible for the national Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program if they are employed by the VHA.2
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs now offers the Health Professional Scholarship Program (HPSP). The HPSP covers not only tuition and required fees but also provides a monthly stipend. Students and prospective students who are U.S. citizens are welcome to apply for this scholarship. Applicants must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher in one of the following Chamberlain programs:
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
- Master of Science in Nursing
- Master of Science in Nursing Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (MSN-PMHNP)
- Master of Social Work
- Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) (must be a veteran)
Scholarship recipients are required to work for a Veterans Affairs healthcare facility after graduation. Nurses must meet a 12-month residency and a 2.5-year service obligation, and physician assistants must complete a two-year service obligation. During this time, you’ll gain valuable work experience – and you might decide to make working for the VHA your career. If you wish to learn more, you might wish to review the Department of Veterans Affairs HPSP FAQ site.
Is caring for veterans your calling? A career working for the Veterans Health Administration could be for you. With a degree from Chamberlain and a passion for advancing health, you’ll be prepared to make an impact. Serving those who served could be your opportunity to belong to something greater.
Chamberlain University, an accredited institution, offers bachelor's, master's, doctoral and certificate programs in nursing and healthcare professions. With a growing network of campuses and robust online programs, Chamberlain continues to build on more than 130 years of excellence in preparing extraordinary healthcare professionals.
Chamberlain University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (www.hlcommission.org), an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, master’s degree program in nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice program, and post graduate APRN certificate programs at Chamberlain University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (https://www.aacnnursing.org/CCNE).
By Chamberlain University
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