Donna chose a VA nursing career to serve Veterans

Donna Collins has served Veterans in her nursing career at VA for 27 years. She thinks the top three reasons to work at VA are the educational opportunities, leave policies and, most importantly, the chance to serve Veterans


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Donna Collins’s nursing career at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is not just a job with great benefits and educational opportunities. It’s the way she serves her community and country.

“If you want to give back to your community, what greater way to give than to give to those who have given for us,” Collins said in a video. She said that serving Veterans was one of the top reasons she chose to work at VA — and why she’s stayed for more than 27 years.

In addition to sharing with VA employees a dedication to service, VA offers Collins opportunities for on-the-job education advancement and generous annual and sick leave.

Choose VA for education opportunities

In conjunction with the Office of Nursing Services (ONS), VA supports nurses’ educational goals through the following programs (for more details on additional educational support, see page 14 of this brochure):

  • VA Learning Opportunities Residency (VALOR) offers nursing and other students the opportunity to complete their last year of training while working full time at VA. Most VALOR participant are hired after their program year.

  • National Nursing Education Initiative (NNEI) provides tuition assistance to full- and part-time nurses at all levels toward completion of their licensed vocational nurse (LVN), registered nurse (RN) or master’s degree and certain doctorate programs.

Nurses can also choose to specialize in different departments, become researchers and mentors, develop their executive leadership skills and become part of decision-making teams at their VA facilities.

“The VA offers nurses large opportunities for growth — from being a bedside nurse to being a nursing administrator or a researcher or an IT (information technology)-specific nurse,” Collins said.

Choose VA for excellent benefits

VA nurses can work and study while receiving benefits such as health insurance, retirement planning, and generous annual and sick leave packages.

Collins said she especially appreciates the work-life balance afforded by VA’s leave policy, which comes with 36 to 49 days off, depending on the hired person’s leave tier. Tier 1 employees receive 36 days; tier 2, 43 days; and tier 3, 49 days. Nurses and certain other healthcare professionals hired under Title 38 start their VA career in tier 3, receiving nearly 50 days off annually.

“It gives you an opportunity to spend time with your family when you need it,” she said.

Choose VA today

Collins chose VA to give back, gain an education and get the flexibility to care for her family.

See if a VA career in nursing is the right choice for you too.

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VA Careers