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BerryhappyRN MSN, RN

Nursing Leadership
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BerryhappyRN is a MSN, RN and specializes in Nursing Leadership.

BerryhappyRN's Latest Activity

  1. BerryhappyRN

    MSN vs MBA

    Hi there, I am two semesters from finishing my MSN in Nursing Leadership and am already considering going back for my MBA. I love how my MSN has cemented my leadership skills and improved my self-confidence and now that I have full faith in my managerial abilities I look forward to obtaining a stronger grasp on the financial aspect of healthcare delivery. My MSN has KICKED MY A**, but the love for my profession has grown immensely because of it. I think if I had it to do again I would have taken a combination MSN/MBA program. Go for it and good luck!
  2. BerryhappyRN

    40's a little too late?

    All the above is probably correct HOWEVER I entered the VA as an RN at age 47 and almost did not pass my physical because of my old eyes! I did not wear glasses my entire life until middle age hit. Now I have to wear readers and nearly failed my entry physical. Btw, the physical I had for the VA job was the most thorough physical I have had my entire life. If you have any age related issues think twice about going through the grueling application process. I was 95% finished until the eye exam and only passed because the ARNP allowed me to wear my contacts (readers) for the near vision, and remove my contacts for the far vision exam. Make sure your weight and height appropriate, you can bend twist and lift, and if you need glasses be sure you are as close to 20/20 corrected as possible. Oh and they do a full blood work up so be sure you are very healthy before you even apply!
  3. BerryhappyRN

    Gay male nurses in military

    I work with an openly gay male nurse at the VA. Most people don't care and from what I have seen he is actually treated better than he might be in the civilian population. Vets may have opinions but they also know to keep it to themselves! Go for it! I think you will feel safer in the military healthcare environment than most other environments.
  4. BerryhappyRN

    What is the downside to the VA?

    GOVERNMENT. That's the downside. However, there are MANY more upsides that make up for the slow as molasses processes of having Uncle Sam be your boss. Great benefits, pride, upward mobility, flexibility, one of the largest employers in the country, pride, sense of kinship, pride. I could go on forever.... Seriously, the downside is waiting weeks for something to be fixed on your timesheet, or trying to find out an answer to a simple HR question, or having to read through miles of paperwork to find the one line you need. It's nothing that can't be dealt with if you have patience, and everything is answered/fixed/handled eventually, you just have to wait out the eventually.
  5. BerryhappyRN

    VA Vacation

    Not at my VA. Covering vacation's is our nurse manager's problem, not the staff's!
  6. BerryhappyRN

    VA Student Loan Repayment

    First and foremost you are not eligible until after one year of employment. I stopped reading after that!
  7. BerryhappyRN

    VA nursing and health insurance

    You will actually enter your home zip code into the compare insurance website so you can see what is offered near your home. And lots of the plans are offered nationwide, don't worry about it the VA offers more options than I have had my entire career combined. You'll find something that works and if not you can go out of network and still have lots covered.
  8. BerryhappyRN

    VA nursing and flu vaccine

    Scaring all the patients and families! Wearing the mask in Florida!
  9. BerryhappyRN

    VA Part-Time Vs. Full-Time RN

    Hi there! I was hired in August as a part-time RN by the VA only because there was no full-time positions available in my speciality. To answer your questions: 1) Yes. My tour is 40 hours per pay period so ideally I work 3 tours (shifts) the first week of the ppd, and 2 tours (shifts) the second week of the ppd. However, I very often pick up extra shifts and even worked 84 hours one ppd which included overtime hours. I am guaranteed 40 hours ppd but can work more if shifts are available. 2) Sort of and YES!...If you are FT or PT and work on the holiday you get holiday pay (double). If you are FT and DON'T work the holiday and don't call off your tour (shift) before the holiday you get paid regular pay (not double) even though you did not work. If you are PT and DO NOT work the holiday, you do not get paid, part timers only make holiday pay if they work ON THE ACTUAL HOLIDAY. Does that make sense? And YES the shift diff's are the same - 10% nights, 25% weekends (because I had to adjust my budget to accept PT hours I work as many nights and weekends as possible!) 3) Sort of. As a PT employee you receive the same matching 457b (401k) as a FT employee. As a PT employee your year is pro-rated based on the hours you work. So if you work 40 hours per pay period (instead of FT 80 hours) one year of employment is considered only 6 months which will affect your pension. My goal was to get into the VA by hook or by crook (even PT if necessary), so I would be able to move to FT when something becomes available. As far as the health insurance you have the exact same options as the FT employees but your price is pro-rated. For instance, my plan costs the FT employee $65/ppd. Because I am PT I pay $150 ppd for an EXCELLENT health insurance plan. Dental and vision cost exactly the same if you are PT or FT. That being said about the pension for a PT employee, your pension is based on your three highest earning years. So, ideally you are 5+ years from retirement. It's ok if you work PT for two years as long as your final 3 years BEFORE RETIREMENT are FT you will receive the full retirement amount. Your pension is based on your THREE HIGHEST EARNING years. I have a friend who worked PT for the VA for many years but went FT right before she turned 60 so her retirement will be based on her FT salaried years. Also, shift diff is included when figuring out your pension but OVERTIME IS NOT. So, try to earn as much shift diff as possible during your 3 highest earning years because that will increase the amount your pension is based on. Make sure they are offering you PART-TIME and NOT intermittent. Intermittent has totally different rules and much fewer benefits (if any). Also, once they give you the offer it will be based on FT hours. Do not confuse that with your PT salary! So if they say your offer is $80K per year, that is the FT rate, if you only work PT hours you should only be expecting to earn $40K (without extra shifts or shift diff). The VA sounds very confusing but it really makes sense, it's like one of those optical illusion pictures. Initially all you see is black wavy lines but once you stare at it long enough all you can see is the upside down lady! I love my new job and my new company, and really appreciate the flexibility that PT has given me. I definitely had to tighten my belt to live off the reduced salary but it is totally worth it. Not only do I benefit from serving our vets but I also have significantly reduced stress which makes me a better nurse. Welcome aboard and feel free to ask more questions!
  10. BerryhappyRN

    VA Hiring Process

    pfinity, BSN - No news is good news! Just keep waiting. If you don't hear from them it is because they are working on it. Just think of it as similar to waiting in line at the DMV. You may wait for what feels like FOREVER but eventually they will get to you...
  11. BerryhappyRN

    Did I do something illegal?

    NurseWC2 you did absolutely the right thing! Just as you would not let her drown in a bathtub or die in a house fire, not saving her from dying of aspiration when she is in distress is not the intention of a DNR. The intention of a DNR is to not perform life extending care when the patient is dying of their natural disease process. Yes, she may ulitmatly die from an infection due to aspiration, or die from respiratory complications, she should not choke to death on her vomit. Poor baby, but she is blessed to have you as her nurse. You have a hospice heart and an especially rare hospice heart as you care for peds hospice patients. Thank you for your care!
  12. BerryhappyRN

    VA Hiring Process

    Thanks for the advice pfchang. Nights and weekends do receive a 10% and 25% shift diff respectively, payroll trained us on this ad nauseam during orientation. Luckily I am in a position that if the offered salary is based on FT hours, and I only work PT hours, I will be fine. I can always pick up extra shifts if needed. I am so appreciative to be able to work for the VA I am not willing to rock the boat! Thanks for the info!
  13. BerryhappyRN

    VA Hiring Process

    Sure, I was in my specialty for 5 years as an LPN (they give half credit for LPN experience), 3 years as an RN, with 2 years of management experience. I also have my BSN and my specialty certification. I live in FL and they offered a PT schedule at a salary of 72K. To be honest, I am unclear if that salary is based on PT hours or FT, but I can't imagine they would tell me the FT pay rate and offer PT hours. I'm so happy to be here I will just wait until my first paycheck comes to figure it out. I have 12 more months to finish my MSN and should be bumped up to Nurse 3 at that point. Btw, probation lasts TWO YEARS! I appreciate that coming from management viewpoint, but OUCH that seems like forever from the worker bee viewpoint! Be sure to update us when you hear back from the Board. Good luck!
  14. BerryhappyRN

    I Love Night Shift

    You guys are getting me EXCITED!!!! I worked 12s on nights for a while and LOVED it. Then the company went to 8s and I couldn't deal with 5 nights per week so I switched to days. I now believe I have found the perfect combination! I still have to work 8s but because it's PT I only work one week 3 days then the next week 2 days. I can pick up extra whenever I like but am required to work 20 hours per week minimum. So happy! No more teachers, no more books, no more MD's dirty LOOKS!
  15. BerryhappyRN

    VA Hiring Process

    I received a phone call from my nurse manager with the position offer, which I accepted immediately. Once all my references cleared, and my file was sent to the nursing board, I received a phone call from HR with my ranking (I think that's what it is called) which is Nurse 2 Level 5 along with a verbal salary offer. I accepted the offer immediately and received the offer letter by email the next day. Good luck!
  16. BerryhappyRN

    VA RN grading and pay. Was there a mistake?

    Hi Healthygina, I see you were not able to dispute your grade but I wanted to let you know your experience is not wasted. I am in the process of on boarding and have learned a great deal from your experience and everyone's response. I have nearly identical education and experience as you so I will be paying close attention to my grading offer. Also, I am being hired PT so I am hoping there will be some hourly benefit for that. Thanks for your post!