Working for the United States Department of Veteran Affairs (also known as the VA) as a nurse can be very rewarding. It’s not only rewarding because of the yearly salary or benefits, but also because you are helping the people that fought for our country and our freedom. Below are some of the great opportunities for nurses that work for the VA, as well as some of the perks that come with these career opportunities.
Nurses that work in a VA hospital practice and provide all of the services provided in a normal hospital, but the results and work are much more rewarding. You are only required to possess one active, unrestricted state license to work in any VA hospital in the U.S., the District of Columbia, and other U.S. territories.
When working as a nurse, your degree only allows you to work in certain states, but those restrictions differ from those of the VA nurses. Not only do you provide services to military veterans, but also to the family members of these veterans that risked their lives to serve our country.
Nurses, as well as physicians, and healthcare providers that work for the VHA (Veterans Health Administration) provide all levels and types of treatment, from acute to long term care. You may also get the opportunity to teach or demonstrate certain healthcare services to students in the nursing field or other healthcare fields.
The VA is the largest employer of nurses in the United States due to the fact that they currently employ more than 61,000 nurses, which includes RNs, APNs, LPNs, and LVNs. The experience of working as a nurse in a VA facility is unlike any other that you may have experienced, or will experience in the future.
VA nurses are very dedicated to their patients; they will even sit at their patient’s bedside and will work in outpatient facilities with the rest of the patient care team to make sure they deliver quality care. They also work together to continue improving their current care delivery and their methods of care for their patients.
Several benefits come with the nature of nursing careers within the VA. The first of those many benefits is paid vacation and personal time off. VA employees can earn anywhere from 13 to 26 days of paid time off per year. Employees of the VA also earn 13 days of sick leave and 10 Federal paid holidays per year.
The VA also allows you to choose a health insurance plan from one of their many options. These health insurance plans also include exceptional dental and vision plans, and a partial amount of the premiums are paid by the Federal Government.
Along with health insurance plans, VA employees are also provided life insurance through the Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program. This program allows you to choose from several affordable coverage and benefit amounts. The VA also pays one-third of your basic life insurance premium. These are only some of the exceptional benefits that Government and VA employees are given.
Retirement Plan & Salary:
The Government has their own version of a 401(k) that is provided to the employees of the VA, which is called the Thrift Savings Plan. This plan allows you to save up for your retirement and the Government automatically takes 1% of your salary and adds it into your Thrift Savings Plan. They also add this amount with matching contributions up to a total amount of 5% to be put into your retirement savings plan.
This is only one of the retirement plan options that are available to those who work for the Government and the VA. The VA offers very competitive salaries compared to those of private sectors. The average salary of a VA nurse varies depending on the location of the VA facility they are employed at. This is due to the fact that the VA nurses are paid accordingly to the Locality Pay System (LPS). However, they do ensure that their salary rates are very competitive with those of other nurses’ salaries in the local area of that facility.
As you can see, working as a nurse or healthcare provider for the VA is very beneficial to its employees. So, if you want to have a career that allows you to choose where you want to work and live, and that provides you with a variety of excellent benefits with great pay rates and competitive salaries, then this is the perfect career for you. This would also be a great position for you to take on if you love helping people, especially those who have risked their lives to fight for our country, our lives, and our freedom.
Samantha Brown is a medical writer earning an online mba in healthcare management.