Chronicles of a VA APRN Resident

Specialties Advanced Nursing Q/A

Updated:   Published

I interviewed today and was offered one of six resident positions. I lost it. The panel laughed and said my reaction was the best one so far. ?

I was asked nine questions. They were along the lines of "Tell me about yourself; How will you contribute to VA care; Flexibility and describe a time when it was required; Career goals; Rate yourself 0 - 10 in the following aspects, etc.". I was sweating the whole time, but displayed a cool (I think) exterior.

It starts towards the end of September, so plenty of time for me to go over all my material from school and beef up my knowledge so I don't look like a total dunce.

I will periodically update this thread with all my trials and tribulations for those who are interested in applying for a spot in the future and want to know what the year will look like.

terrylynn23 said:

It's been dragging for me lately. I am one of 2 in the first PMHNP residency here and while it has potential, it needs a lot of improvement. One irritating note is that I've been basically promised a job from day one but the promise is from people who really have no influence on that. There are no jobs for me at this location ☹️

So sorry to hear about your experience right now.  I would expect w/ the VA, there would be way more PMHNP jobs than people who could actually fill them!  You always hear how veterans need mental health services all the time.

Are you able to relocate elsewhere, just to get your foot in the door?  I always think that, with the VA, it's just a matter of getting your foot in the door somewhere and then after, there may be more possibility to relocate where you really want to be.  

Well, I'm certainly crossing my fingers for you, but hopefully something might pop up within the next few months.  I suppose the one good thing is, now you have one year's experience under your belt, so this will definitely be in your favor when looking for a new job, even if it's not with the VA.

Overall, do you feel you've become a better and more confident provider?

Specializes in hospice, HH, LTC, ER,OR.

Nothing has changed. Still no specialty rotations and at this point I don't care to do any. They state its jobs available but you have to sell yourself, but to who? Its not one job posted for my location. They attempted to send us to the nursing home but it was a disaster and way to far away to drive to. I didn't want to have a negative light on this experience but if anyone asked me if I would recommend the residency, I would say no.

prettymica said:

Nothing has changed. Still no specialty rotations and at this point I don't care to do any. They state its jobs available but you have to sell yourself, but to who? Its not one job posted for my location. They attempted to send us to the nursing home but it was a disaster and way to far away to drive to. I didn't want to have a negative light on this experience but if anyone asked me if I would recommend the residency, I would say no.

So sorry this has not turned out to be a fulfilling experience.  It really does seem it depends on the location and who runs the program whether things run smoothly or not.

Are you able to relocate?  Even if it's just to get your foot in the door?

Specializes in hospice, HH, LTC, ER,OR.
Mergirlc said:

So sorry this has not turned out to be a fulfilling experience.  It really does seem it depends on the location and who runs the program whether things run smoothly or not.

Are you able to relocate?  Even if it's just to get your foot in the door?

No. That's not an option for me. I do have a job lined up outside of the VA. So that's something to look forward to!

Specializes in MSN-FNP.

I have an interview for the VA in Orlando this week and I'm super nervous and don't like interviews. What kinds of questions do they ask and any tips on how to answer them? 

Mergirlc said:

Just checking in to see how everybody's residencies are going?  The other day, I realized many of you will soon complete your residency in the next 2-3 months.  Almost at the finish line!

Would be great to hear about your progress!

Ready to be finished! That is for sure. I am finally able to work in my "real" job which officially starts the end of August. The other 2 people in my program were offered jobs as well. So in that sense it was worth it. There's no other way to get into the system without experience. But some of my time, truly, has been wasted. Some people just don't want to teach. I found this more in the speciality rotations which I had to do in a row. It's fine....but we are constantly either called students or thrown into seeing patients in specialty areas with no time to prepare or know what we are doing. It's 2 extremes. It's very exhausting. I like to be prepared. But having my nursing experience to draw from has allowed me to "wing it,” when I need to. Working with Veterans allows me be honest and say I have no idea what I'm doing at times and for us all to get through it with no hard feelings. I don't feel like you can do that with other patient populations. Of course we figure it out and I get them what they need but I just hate that feeling. I need to be better at time management. I allow them to ramble too much. But it's geriatrics. Some of them have no one. I can't help it. Plus I am a sucker for some good  war stories. 

momathoner09 said:

Ready to be finished! That is for sure. I am finally able to work in my "real" job which officially starts the end of August. The other 2 people in my program were offered jobs as well. So in that sense it was worth it. There's no other way to get into the system without experience. But some of my time, truly, has been wasted. Some people just don't want to teach. I found this more in the speciality rotations which I had to do in a row. It's fine....but we are constantly either called students or thrown into seeing patients in specialty areas with no time to prepare or know what we are doing. It's 2 extremes. It's very exhausting. I like to be prepared. But having my nursing experience to draw from has allowed me to "wing it,” when I need to. Working with Veterans allows me be honest and say I have no idea what I'm doing at times and for us all to get through it with no hard feelings. I don't feel like you can do that with other patient populations. Of course we figure it out and I get them what they need but I just hate that feeling. I need to be better at time management. I allow them to ramble too much. But it's geriatrics. Some of them have no one. I can't help it. Plus I am a sucker for some good  war stories. 

Much congratulations on starting your new job soon.  I imagine this is like many experiences where you can draw from a lot of the good things you learned and the bad things you don't want to do as a NP.  

And yes, time management ?  I think time management is the hardest part  of doing clinicals and/or being a NP.  But from what I am told, you'll get there. Hopefully we'll all get there one way or another!  LOL

I think I am going to apply for a VA residency once the applications open up toward the end of the year.  I just hope I can get into one where they really do want to teach. 

Specializes in Med/Surg, Tele, ICU/CCU, GE Lab.
MentalKlarity said:

Paperwork for VA residency is insane. It took months with all the background checks etc. The residency experience was amazing though, as was being a gov employee with 40 something paid PTO days to use during my residency plus every federal holiday off. The medical residents were so jealous! LOL

Were you employed by the VA prior to the residency?  I looked up an NP residency in DC this is what I found:  LINK

Sick Leave: 1 hour for every 20 hours worked per pay period

If the resident has less than three years of eligible Federal Service, they accrue 1 hour of annual leave for every 20 hours worked per pay period

 

Are they different?

Specializes in Psychiatry.

Every VA residency makes up their own rules! It's not standardized. 

Specializes in hospice, HH, LTC, ER,OR.

And then there was one. I am the only one left in my cohort y'all! I still have about 2 more months left. I plan to finish strong( I guess). 

prettymica said:

And then there was one. I am the only one left in my cohort y'all! I still have about 2 more months left. I plan to finish strong( I guess). 

?

So, either the others felt they were so darn well-trained and decided to take their talents elsewhere OR it was so bad they just said @#*! it, I'm leaving.  Not sure which of the two is the best case scenario. LOL  Could you give us any insight as to why they all left? I know earlier you mentioned you just weren't getting the variety of rotations and it was a new program. 

Do you think now that this "new" program, which has gone through the first year, are aware enough to make changes to improve it for the next group which comes in next year?

I have to give you kudos for making a commitment and sticking with it, even if it hasn't been the best of experiences sometimes.  If people weren't getting anything out of the experience, I can totally understand why they left.  The unfortunate thing is, those who left may not have the chance to work for the VA again if they ever wanted to work at any location in the future due to leaving.  The VA has so many locations, it's incredible.

Hang in there!!  You're almost done!!  

@Freckledkorican  How has it been going for you?  Would love to hear about your progress!!

+ Add a Comment