Tag: vha

The VA’s transition-to-practice program for new Registered Nurses

If you are a new Registered Nurse hired by the Veteran’s Hospital Administration (or “VA”), you are entitled to be trained under the VA’s Transition-to-Practice Program. If you are not familiar with this program, I direct your attention to VHA Directive 2011-039, also known as the “VHA Registered Nurses (RN) Transition-to-Practice Program.”

Without the Transition-to-Practice program, new nurses experience a high failure rate

According to this VHA Directive, the Transition-to-Practice program is applicable to “all levels of RNs with 1 year or less of experience.” See VHA Directive, 1. The Transition-to-Practice program was developed to address industry-wide turnover rates as high a 60%. See VHA Directive, 1. The VHA Directive describes the high turnover within the VHA, as follows:

“c. Among the total RN population within VHA, new graduate RNs have the highest turnover rates. In Fiscal Year 2007, the 12-month turnover costs for a cohort of 291 new RNs totaled $2.52 million. From analysis of those initial figures, ONS determined that the turnover rate for new RNs was a significant issue for VHA. This prompted ONS to develop a program to address these critical issues.”

See VHA Directive, 1.

The Transition-to-Practice Program works; new nurse failure rates reduced to zero

The VHA Transition-to-Practice pilot program was immediately successful; it “resulted in a 100 percent RN retention rate (zero regrettable losses) and all findings indicate the program was successful and ultimately proved beneficial to every facility in the pilot.” See VHA Directive, 2.

What you need to know

If you are a new Registered Nurse, with a year or less experience as an RN (prior nursing experience with a lower level of licensure doesn’t count), be sure this program is fully in place at the start of your employment. Otherwise, you risk a failure rate as high as 60 percent. Be aware that not all VA hospitals have the program, which is likely if you are the first new RN hired since 2011, the year the transition program was mandated. And be on the lookout for a transition program that may exist in name, but be deficient in substance. Whatever the circumstances, don’t miss out. The program is mandatory as of November 28, 2011, the date of the VHA Directive :

“[i]t is VHA policy that VHA facilities establish a structured development transition program for all levels of entry RNs utilizing the flexible VHA 12-month RN Transition-to-Practice Program.”

See VHA Directive, 2.