VA questions

  1. Hi,
    I'm a newly licensed LPN and am thinking about applying to the VA. The recruiter I've been in contact with has encouraged me to apply for a "student nurse technician" position since they require 2 years of critical care experience before they would let me loose on the floor, lol. I'm planning on starting a RN bridge program either this summer or fall.
    I have a few questions if you would be so kind:
    1. How long does it normally take to get hired?
    2. Are they flexible with students school schedules?
    3. The hourly rate is amost $8 an hour less than I could get working in LTC, in your opinion, are the benefits worth this much of a pay cut?
    4. If I start as a tech does that mean that I'm going to be pigeon-holed in a slow track for pay raises etc.? I've been self-employed for over 15 years and have no idea how things work in the real world when it comes to raises and how they determine who gets paid what rate etc.

    I'm in my 40's so I am interested in a long term career and I have heard really nice things about the quality of care and that NPs are utilized which I think is good. My father is a vet and he loves his doc so it sounds like a positive atmosphere. Thanks for any insight you could offer. Jules
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    About Jules A

    Joined: Aug '06; Posts: 8,903; Likes: 13,674

    16 Comments

  3. by   jamangel
    Quote from Jules A
    Hi,
    I'm a newly licensed LPN and am thinking about applying to the VA. The recruiter I've been in contact with has encouraged me to apply for a "student nurse technician" position since they require 2 years of critical care experience before they would let me loose on the floor, lol. I'm planning on starting a RN bridge program either this summer or fall.
    I have a few questions if you would be so kind:
    1. How long does it normally take to get hired?
    2. Are they flexible with students school schedules?
    3. The hourly rate is amost $8 an hour less than I could get working in LTC, in your opinion, are the benefits worth this much of a pay cut?
    4. If I start as a tech does that mean that I'm going to be pigeon-holed in a slow track for pay raises etc.? I've been self-employed for over 15 years and have no idea how things work in the real world when it comes to raises and how they determine who gets paid what rate etc.

    I'm in my 40's so I am interested in a long term career and I have heard really nice things about the quality of care and that NPs are utilized which I think is good. My father is a vet and he loves his doc so it sounds like a positive atmosphere. Thanks for any insight you could offer. Jules
    I've never heard of a student nurse tech at my VA. I applied at an open interview. Applied, interviewed and unofficially offered a job. 2 weeks later I had a official job offer from HR. 2 weeks from that day I started orientation.

    I have been taking classes online so I hadn't needed to ask for flexibility. I just started taking a class in the classroom and my nurse manager is somewhat flexible.

    As a new nurse you won't make much at the VA. It would do you better to go off and get some time and experience first if you want the money. Otherwise you can go to the VA and work your way up. I don't think the benefits are that hot but last year Aetna returned and their rates are reasonable. The TSP is the best benefit at the VA. Sick leave and Annual leave are the bonuses you don't get at LTC facilities.

    Answer to number 4 is: It is possible. It depends on you meeting the next grade and your nurse manager. All of this also depends on where you work because not ALL VA's are the same.
  4. by   Gennaver
    Quote from Jules A
    Hi,
    I'm a newly licensed LPN and am thinking about applying to the VA. The recruiter I've been in contact with has encouraged me to apply for a "student nurse technician" position since they require 2 years of critical care experience before they would let me loose on the floor, lol. ...Thanks for any insight you could offer. Jules
    Hello Jules,

    Something seems a little foggy regarding what the recruiter is telling you based on the hospitals around Chicago and what I've experienced as a student nurse.

    The student nurse tech positions around here are reserved for those who are in their RN program and currently are not licensed as a nurse.

    You are licensed.

    Not sure about your location but, in one hospital that I worked in they would only use LPNs to work as patient care technicians, (like a CNA which is what I was) so, maybe this is similar as to why they want to bring you on in any way that they can, be it as a student nurse technician if they can.

    Meanwhile if you are going to school to bridge to your RN and you are already working for them as a student nurse position then I would really, really think that the position would allow for school. Student nurse technician positions were created for that.
    Good luck!
    Gen
  5. by   medsurgnights
    I was an SNT for a few months before I graduated. It took awhile to get hired due to the background checks and all of the paperwork, but they kept me informed. They were very flexible with my school schedule. The work was pretty similar to a CNA though, except when certain nurses would allow me to assist in nurse-level skills. I am not sure what they meant by the '2 years of critical care experience' requirement, I haven't heard of that where I work. I really liked the floor that I was hired on as an SNT, and still work there as an RN.
  6. by   Jules A
    Thank you all for replying. I just sent my application package in today so hopefully I will get more information/interview soon. Do the VAs do 12 hour shifts or weekend options? It sounds like things are a bit different everywhere but its nice reading about your various experiences. Thanks again, Jules
  7. by   cinja
    Does the VA hire travel nurses when they are short?
  8. by   hammer91b
    I was just hired as a SNT (I'm in a RN program) at my local VA...you have to had to have successfully complete Clinical I (or about to). We start at $13.58 an hour with $3.00 diff. on Saturdays. I am surprised by being an already licensed LVN/LPN... that they would offer you an SNT position when they are always looking for professionals, such as yourself, to come on board?!?! They should hire you as an LVN/LPN! Good luck!!!
  9. by   exnavygirl-RN
    This is my third week working for the V.A. I'm a permanent employee but was in orientation with several travel nurses.

    Christy, LPN


    Quote from cinja
    Does the VA hire travel nurses when they are short?
  10. by   jamangel
    I work strictly 8 hour shifts. Would prefer 12 hours since that's what I worked in the private sector. I find that on units with high turnover that the options are better.
  11. by   wefdm21
    Quote from jamangel
    I work strictly 8 hour shifts. Would prefer 12 hours since that's what I worked in the private sector. I find that on units with high turnover that the options are better.

    jamangel...

    I don't mean to be nosey, but do you work for the atl va? or in another city. I just recieved a call back from the atl va, and I wasn't expecting it. I was very interested in working there so I emailed the nurse recruiter and even sent him a personal letter. I just accepted a PRN position at a LTC facitlity, but I wanted to know how the environment was at the VA. What is the starting salary for a new LPN there? You said that you work 8 hour shifts? How long did it take you to get hired? I was so excited when I found out that they called, I hope that I get an interview.:Santa3:
  12. by   Gennaver
    Quote from jamangel
    I work strictly 8 hour shifts. Would prefer 12 hours since that's what I worked in the private sector. I find that on units with high turnover that the options are better.
    Hello jamangel,

    I would wonder about the quality of worklife factor at a unit with high turnover. High turnover is usually a symptom of a "not a good place to work" isn't it? Unless you are talking specifically about Military, (which I am clueless about yet).
    Gen
  13. by   jamangel
    You are correct. We have a Spinal Cord Unit with extremely high turnover but that unit isn't for everybody. Some people work it and love it. The high turnover there means that they will be more willing to work with your scheduling and offer non traditional tours. Sometimes the high turnover is because after you work the private sector for so long, the VA can be very frustrating.
  14. by   bonodonnaonaroll
    In what way is it fustrating?

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