If you’re interested in a nursing career where you can enjoy a wealth of resources, a dedicated team, work-life balance and the honor to give back to those who have served this country, then an opportunity with VA may be right for you. We recently spoke with Nurse Recruiter, Jessica Ash out of the Boston Area on what she looks for when finding the right candidates. Her passion and energy for recruiting and serving our Veterans is clear and we’ll be checking back with her for her thoughts on nurse tenures and what she’s excited for at VA in the coming year!
Can you tell us about your role at the VA?
Jessica Ash: Right now, I’m the Nurse Recruiter for Boston. I go in the field and recruit at career events as well as using social media to find the best qualified nursing candidates. I like to think of myself as an ambassador for VA nurses, and VA Boston. In addition to recruiting, I work on retaining qualified employees, and I monitor their carreer progression over time; if someone leaves VA Boston, I like to find out why. I also make sure we’re taking active steps to grow our current employees while building a succession plan for future growth.
What would you say are the top reasons a Nurse should consider a career with VA?
JA: I try to match benefits with needs, depending on who I’m speaking with. New graduate nurses have different interests in our programs and benefits than an experienced nurse may have. I definitely always like to talk about our amazing federal benefits (work flexibility, 5 weeks of vacation, etc.). Having a good work life balance is important – I have two daughters – and to be able to feel like I’m being the best nurse, best employee, and the best mother and wife, that means a lot to me. Speaking about the Veteran population also resonates with many candidates. It’s important to mention our patient population, the mission and the gratitude the patients have for us.
I certainly notice that when I talk about the amazing work we’re doing for Veterans; it inspires people to want to work here. Another great benefit are the programs offered here at VA Boston. For example, we’re currently hiring for our Post Baccalaureate Nurse Residency program (full 12-month program), and I have over 100 applicants for 10 positions. So many people are eager to get into the residency program because it offers a huge amount of support to new nurses. The 12-month program also offers continuing education and mentorship.
When you’re meeting with candidates, what are top qualities you look for?
JA: When I’m interviewing candidates, I look for those who are really passionate about caring for Veterans; they’re not just looking for a nursing job. We want people who want to be here and those who want to grow with VA. We use a performance-based interview approach in order to find out what people have done in the past to get an idea of if they’re hardworking, dedicated, best-of-the-best nurses. I meet so many amazing nurses, I want to hire them all!