VA San Diego Healthcare System
VA Nurse Academy Success Story
Arlene Hady is aÂ VA Nurse AcademyÂ success story. She was selected to be among the first San Diego State University nursing students to participate in the VAâ€™s prestigious Nursing Academy program. Upon graduation in mid-2008, the VA San Diego Healthcare System hired her to practice nursing on medical, surgical and telemetry floors at the VA Medical Center. She now has a promising future with the VA and the broader field of nursing.
Hady, now a Registered Nurse, was a member of the Nursing Academyâ€™s first student group here in San Diego. The Department of Veterans Affairs launched the program â€“ a year-long clinical residency partnering VA medical centers with nearby nursing schools â€“ in 2007. The VA San Diego and San Diego Stateâ€™s School of Nursing were one of the first four teams in the VAâ€™s five-year pilot program.
Under the supervision of VA San Diego Clinical Nurse Specialists and other licensed nurses, the program allows senior nursing students to apply their knowledge and skills in the medical centerâ€™s real-world health care environment.
According to Hady, â€śyou learn so much from every nurse you shadow.â€ť Hady was in her last year of nursing school when the VA launched the Nursing Academy pilot program and was already performing her clinical residency as part of another VA program â€“ the VA Learning Opportunities Residency (VALOR) program.
â€śThe [Nursing Academy] program provided a friendly educational environment and allowed you to talk to otherÂ students with shared experiences,â€ť Hady said. And, it â€śshowcases future opportunities such as Telehealth care, Health Care for Homeless Veterans and nursing administration.â€ť
â€śEverything I would be expected to do once I was hired on as a staff nurse, I was doing in the program â€“ charting, starting IVâ€™s â€“ anything a nurse would do, I was doing it a year before I was hired,â€ť Hady said. In this regard, the Nursing Academy program â€śnot only benefited me, it also benefited all my patients down the road.â€ť
Asked why she chose to stay on at the VA San Diego Healthcare System after graduation, Hady replied, â€śbecause I love the staff I work with; I love my patients. â€¦ Why wouldnâ€™t I choose the VA? Veterans are a very special population [and] nursing has a voice [in how the hospital provides care to its patients] and has strong interdisciplinary relationships within the hospital.â€ť
HadyÂ completed aÂ videoÂ (beginning at 27 seconds) interview for Aztec for Life â€“ a San Diego State Alumni news program â€“ in which she discussed her experience as a VA Nursing Academy participant.