How a Nursing Career with VA Changed a Former Combat Medic’s Life

How a Nursing Career with VA Changed a Former Combat Medic’s Life

Jeffrey Ballard, R.N. and Army Veteran, began his medical career as an emergency medical technician (EMT). After gaining experience as a paramedic and a licensed practical nurse (LPN), he became a registered nurse in the Emergency Department at a Level 1 Trauma Center. He was deployed to Afghanistan two years later as an infantry medic, where he sustained injuries in combat. Following a year and a half of surgeries and physical therapy back home, Ballard returned to emergency nursing, but his struggle with PTSD prompted his departure within a year.

Ballard received care at the Manchester VA Medical Center, and he decided to continue his nursing career there. “I wanted other Veterans to have the same comfort I experienced,” he said.

Today, Ballard has been working with the VA for nearly five years and serves in a program that helps elderly Veterans maintain their independence. Working alongside compassionate nurses and caring for combat Veterans like himself has helped Ballard rediscover his passion and flourish in his career. With his experience, he’s been able to better understand and build trust with Veterans in a way that generates comfort and healing for both parties. Recently, Ballard won the title “Red Sox Nurse Hero of 2018” and was invited to throw a game-opening pitch at the historic Fenway Park.

VA offers Veterans not only life-changing care but also life-changing careers. Join our team and discover the unique rewards that come from serving our nation’s heroes. To get started, search for opportunities near you and apply today.

This story was originally posted on VAntage Point. 

VA nurses are empowered to go above and beyond for their patients

VA nurses are empowered to go above and beyond for their patients

Stricken with kidney failure brought on by ALS – a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects voluntary muscle movements – Navy Veteran Richard Cole was told that his only option was relocating to a nursing home, where professionals could oversee his 24/7 health care needs. But he and his wife Yvette, who had no previous medical training, were determined to stop that from happening. So Yvette turned to the one person she thought might give them a fighting chance: her husband’s nurse, Pamela Wade.

Caring for Mr. Cole’s advanced ALS required hemodialysis, ventilators, and round-the-clock care, not typically-available options for in-home treatment. But after realizing how important it was to Richard that he go home, Nurse Wade began training his wife Yvette to care for her own husband on her own terms.

“There are certain criteria you have to pass to go home,” Wade said. “He didn’t fit any of them, but… I couldn’t say no.”

Two-and-a-half-years later, Yvette is still successfully managing her own husband’s treatment and the couple is doing great.

“Pam has been a godsend,” Yvette said. “I can’t say enough good things about her. I am just grateful she stepped in when she did.”

In working with the nation’s bravest patients, VA understands the great strength and toll that their service sometimes takes. That’s why we do everything we can to empower our nurses, doctors, technicians and administrators to adapt protocols and go ‘above and beyond,’ to care for our patients as much on their own terms as possible.

To explore open opportunities and your own empowered career with VA, visit www.vacareers.va.gov.

This story was originally posted on VAntage Point.

New RN to BSN Online Program at University of Cincinnati College of Nursing

New RN to BSN Online Program at University of Cincinnati College of Nursing

The University of Cincinnati College of Nursing and UC Health have partnered together to launch a new program for nurses working full-time who want to further their education. The RN to BSN Online Cohort Program will provide free tuition to a select group of UC Health nurses, who will be able to obtain a BSN through the UC College of Nursing over 12 months.

“We’re excited to see our partnership with UC Health get broader and stronger every day,” UC College of Nursing Dean Greer Glazer told the UC Health Media Room. “The UC College of Nursing has a long-standing reputation of educating nurse leaders, and we are honored to have the opportunity to educate a passionate, intelligent group of leaders to continue our legacy within the Academic Health Center.”

To qualify for the free tuition and 12-month program, nurses must be employed at least a year by UC Health and agree to continue working at UC Health for at least two years after completing the program. The UC Health nursing leadership will select students to participate over the next three years.

“Nurse leaders will consider an employee’s dedication to UC Health values, mission statement and vision, the recommendations from management and other nurse leadership, employment history with UC Health, work ethic and previous academic achievement,” UC Health communications consultant Elizabeth Bielman told The News Record.

The program consists of nine courses and allows students to choose between part-time and full-time, to accommodate their working schedules. Students will take three courses each fall, spring, and summer semester to finish their BSN degree within 12 months.

Clarence Pauley, UC Health senior vice president and chief human resources officer, shared with the UC Health Media Room: “This program embodies a critically important component of our tripartite mission of providing education, clinical research and the highest standard of patient care. UC Health strongly believes in investing in advancement and growth opportunities for its nurses, who are integral to the patient journey and to our organization.”

Night Shift Care Packages Gifted During Daylight Savings Time

Night Shift Care Packages Gifted During Daylight Savings Time

For the sixth year in a row, WGU Indiana delivered Night Shift Nurse Appreciation Kits to hospitals and healthcare facilities across Indiana for daylight savings time. These kits were provided to nurses who worked an extra hour during their usual, and already difficult, shifts.

“WGU Indiana is distributing the Night Shift Nurse Appreciation Kits for the sixth year, to honor the important and often unrecognized contributions of night shift nurses,” WGU Indiana Chancellor Allison Barber shared, prior to daylight savings time. This year, roughly 4,000 nurses in 127 hospitals and health care units across Indiana received these kits on their extra long shifts. Each kit contained treats, a thank you note, sleep masks and stress balls.

In addition to the usual work challenges that all nurses tackle, night shift nurses run into problems on the job that affect more than their careers. Having their circadian rhythm thrown off by their working hours, these night shift nurses are put at risk for fatigue and other health issues.

“From my work as a night shift nurse for 38 years, I recognize that night shift nurses don’t always receive the same recognition as employees who work during the day,” said Mary Lawson Carney, WGU Indiana State Director of Nursing, DNP, RN-BC, CCRN, CNE. “Night shift work has a significant impact on the physical, psychosocial and professional lives of nurses.”

The care packages also included information about the WGU Indiana Night Shift Nurse Scholarship. There are five $2,000 scholarships available to Indiana night shift nurses who are interested in advancing their education through WGU Indiana’s College of Health Professions.

Last year Dea Gillfillan, a night shift nurse and WGU Indiana student, was one of the five scholarship recipients and is grateful to the school for giving her opportunities to advance her education. “The flexibility of my online coursework with WGU has allowed me to study on my days off and the Night Shift Nurse Scholarship made my degree that much more affordable,” Gillfillan shared. 

To learn more about WGU Indiana and the Night Shift Nurse Scholarship, click here.

Herzing University Opens New Nursing Program on Birmingham Campus

Herzing University Opens New Nursing Program on Birmingham Campus

Herzing University recently opened a new Associate of Science in Nursing degree on its Birmingham campus to meet the growing need for registered nurses in Alabama. The two-year program will prepare students to take the National Council Licensing Examination for registered nurses exam (NCLEX-RN) and become a licensed registered nurse (RN).

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual job growth rate for RNs in Alabama is projected to reach more than 15 percent. The new degree program at Herzing is ideal for students who want to pursue a career in nursing, offering clinical education opportunities in high-fidelity simulation training labs with state-of-the-art technology.

Tommy Dennis, Birmingham Campus President at Herzing, tells Herzing.edu, “We’re launching this program in Birmingham because we’ve seen the demand for RNs first-hand at our campus career fairs and through our community partnerships. We’re proud to offer educational opportunities that fulfill a community need and make a positive difference in the lives of students.”

To learn more about the new Associate of Science in Nursing degree at Herzing University, visit here.

University of Rhode Island College of Nursing Graduates First Class of Online RN to BSN Students

University of Rhode Island College of Nursing Graduates First Class of Online RN to BSN Students

On Dec. 20, the University of Rhode Island (URI) College of Nursing graduated 20 students from its online RN to BSN program. These students are “pioneers of a sort” as they were the first to graduate from the program which is the only online RN to BSN program in the state offered by a public university.

After the release of a 2010 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report recommending that 80 percent of nurses nationwide hold bachelor’s degree by 2020, there has been an increase in RN to BSN programs across the country. The IOM report included research indicating that patients have better outcomes when cared for by a nurse with a bachelor’s degree.

RN to BSN programs are designed to accommodate professional nurses who want to pursue bachelor’s degrees while still working. URI’s online program complements the traditional face-to-face RN to BSN program by allowing students to participate on their own schedule. The program includes intense courses that are covered in 7 weeks rather than the usual 13 week semester. Students are required to complete six nursing courses, statistics, pharmacology, and a public health practicum.

URI’s online RN to BSN program started in Fall 2015 with 30 students and now enrolls over 450 students from all over the country. The program is expected to continue growing as another 35 graduate this coming May.

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