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Leave VA or Stay

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by 26.2, BSN 26.2, BSN (Member) Member

26.2, BSN has 5 years experience .

3,011 Profile Views; 81 Posts

Hello everyone,

I in a dilemma with my current job. I work on a basic med surg unit. I have been here at the VA 6 months now. Took me 4 months to get in.

I came from a step down unit and I feel like on this med surg unit I am loosing my skills. Of course they have great benefits here and that is why a lot of people like to work here.

ICU positions here come up every few years where 100 people apply and 2 positions get filled.

I see there are critical care internships in surrounding civilian hospitals offered. So I don't know if I should leave such a good benefit job for ICU position which is what I really want.

Is there any Nurses out there that have worked at VA and left? Or left a good paying, good nebefit job for better positions?

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Jules A is a MSN and specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

2 Followers; 8,863 Posts; 47,076 Profile Views

I thought some VAs have an ICU? If not I would go where your passion is. I'm all about the money and great benefits but nursing is too darn hard not to love what we do, imo.

I worked for VA and like everyone thought the benefits were irreplaceable but the truth is they aren't even all that great any more. No pension although they are generous with the 403-B type thing and their health benefits were comparable to the ones I got from a large teaching hospital. The VA pay as a RN was better than my other jobs mostly due to the great shift diff however when I got my NP they made me an offer that was ridiculously less than the civilian NP job I accepted. I'm not sure what their pay schedule is like now but I actually make $60,000 a year more than the highest NP/VA pay grade back when I was being recruited by them.

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26.2, BSN has 5 years experience.

81 Posts; 3,011 Profile Views

My only other reason for staying at VA is built up maternity leave. I have 4 weeks already and my husband and I want to start trying asap.

I'm also the full time employee right now.

If I go to a new place it of course comes with stress and it would be night shift.

I thought we did get a pension?

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Jules A is a MSN and specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

2 Followers; 8,863 Posts; 47,076 Profile Views

My only other reason for staying at VA is built up maternity leave. I have 4 weeks already and my husband and I want to start trying asap.

I'm also the full time employee right now.

If I go to a new place it of course comes with stress and it would be night shift.

I thought we did get a pension?

If you are trying to get pregnant that changes the entire picture. Double check about pension because I could be wrong but I don't think they offer than any more.

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dirtyhippiegirl has 8 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in PDN; Burn; Phone triage.

1 Follower; 1,556 Posts; 29,398 Profile Views

You should stay until you have your baby or hold off for a while before trying to conceive, really. You run the risk of not being eligible for FMLA should you not accrue 12 months of employment at your next job prior to having a baby, which would leave you with no functional amount of maternity leave. You also run the risk of JUST getting off orientation before having a baby which effectively negates your orientation in my experience.

Plus you are kinda in that donuthole where you will not be eligible for new grad ICU programs but you do not have that one to two years acute care to qualify for a more experienced ICU spot.

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26.2, BSN has 5 years experience.

81 Posts; 3,011 Profile Views

I came from a step down it in Washington for 4 years. This med Surg unit is basic. No drips. We barely get heparin drips. I have 5 yrs nursing experience already

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jeckrn has 17 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in EMT, ER, Homehealth, OR.

1,868 Posts; 14,488 Profile Views

I believe the VA still has the FERS retirement. It is not as good as the old CERS retirement plan.

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26.2, BSN has 5 years experience.

81 Posts; 3,011 Profile Views

We do want to get pregnant asap. They do have a pension but it's not much.

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jeckrn has 17 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in EMT, ER, Homehealth, OR.

1,868 Posts; 14,488 Profile Views

The pension is better then most private facilities which only have a 401k type at best. The VA pension is 1% of highest 3 years of wages for each year of service for less than 20 years then it increases to 1.1% after that. The TSP which is the federal government 401k plan has some good options and is easy to make the investments that are the ones you need based on your life.

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FuturePMHNP has 5 years experience as a MSN, RN, NP and specializes in Inpatient psych, LTC.

40 Posts; 2,397 Profile Views

You are wise to stay there until you get pregnant and have the baby. Government jobs do have more protections in place for you than a private sector job. As a long time government employee I can attest to this. As another poster mentioned you could risk losing FMLA too, which you will need to utilize if you have complications with your pregnancy and things like that.

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26.2, BSN has 5 years experience.

81 Posts; 3,011 Profile Views

Thank you all for your replies.

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26.2, BSN has 5 years experience.

81 Posts; 3,011 Profile Views

I just saw that as well. thank you for your post

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