Your post hit a serious nerve with me.
I graduated from a regionally accredited (Western Board of Governors and approved by the California Board of Nursing) ADN program. Shortly after graduation, I moved from California to Georgia and applied to all the hospitals in the area including the VA. I was extended a job offer by the VA, went through the pre-employment physical, UDS and everything required.
I received an awkward phone call requesting to know how my degree was accredited. To make a very long story short, I provided all the required documentation regarding accreditation only to be told that "your degree is not accredited". The VA, at the time I applied, required NLN or CCNE accreditation in order for your degree to be recognized by the VA system. My point to the VA was that my degree is indeed accredited-just not by either NLN or CCNE.
I was shaken to my core by the VA not recognizing my degree and RETRACTING their offer for employment. Why?? My whole adult life has been spent within the military health care system-as a consumer. My spouse is now a veteran. At the time I was told my degree was not good enough to work for the VA, we had spent 22 years in service to the country. Not only is my spouse a veteran, but most of my family are as well. My point? I KNOW the military health care system, I know the unique needs of veterans, and active duty members and to be told that I (and my degree) were not good enough to care for our national treasures, was devastating.
I sought to gain understanding of how this could be the stance of the local VA system. I requested and was granted a meeting with the Chief Nurse Officer of the local VA. She looked me in the eyes and told me, "I can't take a chance on you and your (subpar) education". It was the final straw in the coffin of any VA career I had hoped to have. I left her office broken, dismayed and more angry than I think I had ever been, up to that point.
In retrospect, I understand that she was just relaying their policy. I however, sincerely disagree with this policy.
I moved on and was hired on as an Emergency Department nurse at a Magnet facility. I am still an Emergency Department nurse-going on six years.
The Lord had other plans and it turned out to be a blessing that i was not hired on at the VA…Their mistreatment of veterans and delay in treatment became national news within months of finding me unfit to care for people just like my spouse and family members-simply because my degree was not accredited by their required agencies. I am grateful that the practices that caused the VA to become national news, are being addressed-they have a long way to go, but it is being addressed.
When I searched for RN to BSN programs, the first requirement I imposed on any program was accreditation by CCNE. I am happy to say that I completed my BSN in March of this year and the sky is the limit of where I can go from here.
My advice is to apply places other than the VA. If your heart or goal is to eventually work at a VA, plug away at your accredited BSN-but do not wait to get experience. Get working experience while you work on your BSN. If I can get hired at a Magnet Designated facility with an ADN, you can too. By the way, I was 40 when I graduated with my ADN so I was also fighting against ageism in the hiring process. You CAN get hired. Network and gain your certifications. Before I graduated with my ADN, our class proactively all were certified in ACLS, PALS and BLS.
Anyway, I wish you the best in starting your career.