Posted on Thursday, 27th August 2015 by

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The physicians featured in this week’s article are from the Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center. See part 6 for a further discussion about the physician career path.

Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Martinsburg VA Medical Center is a general medical and surgical hospital in Martinsburg, WV, with 246 beds. It has service area that covers more than 126,000 veterans in West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. It offers a comprehensive range of services including internal medicine, ambulatory surgery, audiology, and speech pathology, dental, nursing home, nutrition, podiatry, prosthetics, women’s health, mental health, and rehabilitation medicine.

Physician (GS-0602) Career Path

Dr. Deborah Bennett, is a GS-15 physician at Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center specializing in Family Medicine.

 

Dr. Deborah Bennett

Dr. Deborah Bennett

Q&A With Dr. Deborah Bennett

Why did you become a Physician?

This career path allowed me to utilize my passion for science and desire to help others. It is an honor to be trusted with another human being’s health. It encourages vital communication and trust between two people. It has enabled me to educate my patients, encourage their engagement/ participation in their own health care. It is a way to contribute beyond the family level to the community as a whole. Leaving a small area a little better off because you were there is my goal.

Each day, as I walk through the hallways of Martinsburg VA Hospital I am reminded of the true cost we bear as a nation in sending our service members off to defend our country. Knowing that I have served our veterans, aided in providing them quality care and comforted them and their loved ones during a difficult time is reward enough.

What is the most rewarding part of your job as a Physician?

I had been welcomed into the world of Academic Medicine and teaching. Working with young physicians as they develop into their chosen profession is rewarding. Being a role model, encouraging the human side of medicine, dealing with families, educating patients and families gives satisfaction and gratification at the end of the day.
Feeling that you have contributed to your community by working with your patients, taking their needs and concepts further up the administrative ladder. Finding that working on committees to advocate for those who may not be able to advocate for themselves is the highest form of satisfaction. Feeling that you have left the world a little better for being here is reward enough.

What is the most demanding or challenging part of being a Physician?

Most physicians go into medicine with a well-defined spirit, enthusiasm and a sense of fairness. Often illnesses or diseases are not “fair”. Seeing patients and families suffer is often difficult to justify. Often you would wish for that magic wand to make our patient’s world a little better right away.

Would you recommend being a Physician as a good career path?

I believe that this is a personal and serious consideration. With this said, anyone choosing to practice in medicine should be able to be flexible, be able to place other’s needs before your own, be able to do without sleep while keeping a good sense of humor and deliver high quality health care. It is an honor bestowed on you by your patients and their families. This combination of requirements is not easily maintained. Often a physician is reflective of their family support. Over the years, my patients became familiar with my family, knew my children and often interviewed me about my personal life. Fair trade off, isn’t it. I knew most of their personal information. After all trust goes both ways.

At Martinsburg VA Hospital we have a “second set of family”. This family works together with bonds formed, sometimes over decades, with hospital staff. We work together, placing our veteran’s needs above all else. A few months ago our nursing staff felt that one of our patients needed to go outside.

He had been confined to his hospital room due to specific needs. They made arrangements to accommodate his needs while outside. This veteran was in tears with his trip. I encountered him in the elevator and asked how he liked it. He responded that he got to see a dog and tears ran down his face with joy. This is the Martinsburg way. Everyone binds together to accomplish both medical and social needs. I cannot think of any other career that allows for this expanse of dedication, delivery of high-level medical care while not minimizing the social effects on our patients.

Physician (GS-0602) Family Medicine Requirements

Basic Requirements

  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply.
  • Degree of doctor of medicine or an equivalent degree resulting from a course of education in medicine or osteopathic medicine.
  • Applicant must possess a current, full and unrestricted license to practice medicine or surgery in a State, Territory, or Commonwealth of the United States, or in the District of Columbia.
  • Candidate must have completed a first-year residency, or its equivalent, approved by the Secretary of VA for the year in which it was completed.

Duties of a Physician of Family Medicine

  • Manages chronic conditions, evaluates and treats other medical conditions.
  • Performs a variety of disease prevention related activities including gender and age specific screenings (e.g. breast and colo-rectal cancer), mental health screenings (e.g. depression, substance use & abuse, military sexual trauma and PTSD) and health promotion activities including immunizations, weight management and exercise counseling.
  • Screens for, evaluates, and treats uncomplicated common mental health disorders, including depression and common addictions, with referrals made to mental health providers for further evaluation and treatment as appropriate.
  • Performs common outpatient & office-based procedures.
  • Performs preliminary interpretation of common diagnostic tests including EKG and plain x-ray films.

Dr. Elisabeth Sethi is a GS-15 physician at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center and her specialty is Internal Medicine, Geriatrics, Hospice, and Palliative Medicine.

 

Dr. Elisabeth Sethi

Dr. Elisabeth Sethi

Sethi became a physician to contribute to society in a meaningful way and supports patients and their families through illness, disability and at the end of life. Time restraints and working long hours are the most demanding part of her job and she recommends the occupation to anyone interested in the field.

Physician GS-0602 Internal Medicine Requirements

Basic Requirements

  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply.
  • Degree of doctor of medicine or an equivalent degree resulting from a course of education in medicine or osteopathic medicine.
  • Board certification in Internal Medicine/Family Medicine.
  • Current, full, and unrestricted license to practice medicine or surgery in a State, Territory, or Commonwealth of the United States, or in the District of Columbia.

Duties of a Physician of Internal Medicine

  • Manages chronic conditions, evaluates, and treats other medical conditions.
  • Performs a variety of disease prevention related activities including gender and age specific screenings (e.g. breast and colo-rectal cancer), mental health screenings (e.g. depression, substance use& abuse, military sexual trauma and PTSD) and health promotion activities including immunizations, weight management, and exercise counseling.
  • Performs common outpatient & office-based procedures.
  • Performs preliminary interpretation of common diagnostic tests including EKG and plain x-ray films.

Physician (GS-0602) (Geriatrician) Requirements

Basic Requirements

  • Must be a U.S. citizen to apply.
  • Degree of doctor of medicine or an equivalent degree resulting from a course of education in medicine or osteopathic medicine.
  • Current, full, and unrestricted license to practice medicine or surgery in a State, Territory, or Commonwealth of the United States, or in the District of Columbia.

Duties of a Geriatrician Physician

  • Function as an integral part of a Geriatric Primary Care multi-disciplinary team to coordinate, facilitate, and provide, patient care and services.
  • Document health appraisal information, clinical assessment, treatment decisions, plan of care, ongoing management and therapeutic outcomes, order medications, diagnostic tests and referral consultations where needed for every patient encounter.
  • Order and evaluate diagnostic tests as appropriate.

Physician (GS-0602) Hospice/Palliative Care Requirement

Basic Requirements

  • U.S. citizenship is required.
  • Degree of doctor of medicine or an equivalent degree resulting from a course of education in medicine or osteopathic medicine.
  • Board Eligible/Board Certified and possess a current, full, and unrestricted license to practice medicine or surgery in a State, Territory, or Commonwealth of the United States, or in the District of Columbia.
  • Duties of a Hospice/Palliative Care Physician
  • Provide inpatient and outpatient consultation services in palliative care
  • Be an active participant and facilitate clarification and the development of patient and family goals of care.
  • Facilitate access to appropriate supportive care services.
  • Be involved in analysis of data leading to the development of hospital policies and protocols for the improvement of quality of care.

In part 8 of this continuing series, we will explore the Psychiatrist (GP-0602) and Psychologist (GS-0180) occupational series.

Credits

  • Michele Hammonds, Communications Specialist, US Department of Veterans Affairs, VHA Office of Public Communications (10B2B)
  • Photos were provided by the Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Other career information

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

 

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Friday, 14th August 2015 by

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There are 32,468 medical doctors in all specialties employed throughout the federal government with positions available in many agencies. Physicians are in the (GS-0602) job series. The Veterans Administration and HHS employ the largest numbers in this group however smaller number are employed by the Department of Justice which employs 277 doctors for their prison systems and the Department of Transportation employs 47 while the Department of State employs 27.

 

VA Medical Facility

VA Medical Facility

This series includes all classes of positions the duties of which are to advise on, administer, supervise, or perform professional and scientific work in one or more fields of medicine. Positions are classifiable to this series when the nature of duties and responsibilities is such that the degree of Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy is a fundamental requirement. Most positions in this series require a current license to practice medicine and surgery in a State or territory of the United States or in the District of Columbia.

Although there is overlapping in the subject-matter of certain specializations, the criterion for the establishment of these specializations is based on the differences in the requirements for filling the positions. In the main, the specializations represent those of approved American specialty boards. An approved American specialty board is one which has been approved for the particular specialty by the Council on Medical Education and Hospitals of the American Medical Association or by the Bureau of Professional Education, Advisory Board for Osteopathic Specialists of the American Osteopathic Association.

VA physicians enjoy being part of a team that is recognized and respected for significant contributions to medicine. Ranging from clinical practice to research and academics, VA physicians provide leadership within the medical profession that extends into the communities where they live. To ensure that VA physicians are able to meet their professional and personal goals, a broad range of practice options are available that include general medicine and primary care, along with specialties and subspecialties such as:

  • Anesthesiology
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Long Term Care
  • Cardiology
  • Geriatrics
  • Internal Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Otolaryngology
  • Pathology
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery
  • General Surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Orthopedic Surgery
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
  • Physiatry
  • Psychiatry
  • Radiology (Nuclear Medicine, Diagnostic, and Therapeutic)
  • Urology

In addition to the above, the VA offers state-of-the-art equipment and facilities for basic and clinical research to further advance the frontiers of medicine and health care. Time is made available for VA physicians to pursue this critical aspect of their profession within an environment that promotes writing, editing, and publishing.

Physician (GS-0602) Career Path General Requirements

Special pay rates are utilized for this profession and are in a separate pay band. Physicians typically earn 6 figure salaries including supplemental income.

Here are some general requirements of the physician occupation:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply.
  • Degree of doctor of medicine or an equivalent degree resulting from a course of education in medicine or osteopathic medicine.
  • Background in ongoing outpatient primary care clinics.
  • Board certification in Internal Medicine/Family Medicine.
  • Current, full, and unrestricted license to practice medicine or surgery in a State, Territory, or Commonwealth of the United States, or in the District of Columbia.

Physical Requirements:

  • The physical requirements of this position include occasional lifting, prolonged standing and sitting, frequent bending, walking (distance), climbing, reaching (overhead, extensive/repetitive), repetitive motion, and stooping.
  • The mental/sensory requirements include recall, reasoning, problem solving, hearing, speaking clearly, writing legibly, reading, and logical thinking.
  • The environment’s pace can vary from steady to a sometimes fast pace requiring handling of multiple priorities, frequent, sometimes intense customer interactions, and the ability to adapt to frequent changes in a sometimes noisy environment.
  • There may be an occasional need to use personal protective equipment to prevent exposure to disease, illness, and hazardous materials.

In part 7 of this series, we will be interviewing physicians from specific specialties within the physician occupation.

Credits

  • Michele Hammonds, Communications Specialist, US Department of Veterans Affairs, VHA Office of Public Communications (10B2B)

Other career information

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

 

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Thursday, 6th August 2015 by

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The registered nurses featured in this week’s article are from the Washington D.C. Veterans Medical Center. Today’s highly skilled nurses must work under stressful conditions and still remain compassionate and understanding while providing the best care for our veterans. For additional nursing career information, review Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of this series and visit our GS-0600 Nursing Jobs page.

Washington D.C. Veterans Medical Center

The Washington D.C. Veterans Medical Center is a general medical and surgical hospital with 291 beds. It is also accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). The medical center provides tertiary care in a Complexity Level IB hospital, allowing ours staff to provide comprehensive primary and specialty care in medicine, surgery, neurology and psychiatry. The Medical Center has 175 acute care beds, 30 Psychosocial Residential Rehabilitation Treatment beds, and a 20-suite Fisher House. In addition, the Medical Center is home to an adjacent 120-bed Community Living Center which provides Veterans with geriatric long-term care, hospice, and palliative care.

Registered Nurse (GS-0610) Career Path

The interviews that follow provide insight into specific healthcare specialties, why nurses entered the field, and the interviewees talk about rewarding aspects of their jobs. They also address the demands of the position with recommendations for those who would like to follow in their footsteps.

Oncology Outpatient Clinic Nurse

Theresa Pinto, RN BSN OCN-BC, is currently a registered nurse in the oncology outpatient clinic at the Washington D.C. VA Medical Center.

 

Theresa Pinto, RN

Theresa Pinto, RN

Q&A with Theresa Pinto

Why did you become a Registered Nurse?

My story as a nurse started in India when I was in the eighth grade. I read our prescribed English text book, “Florence Nightingale”. I knew right then that I wanted to be a nurse; but in the India of the 1950’s, nursing was not considered a “respectable” profession, so I was not allowed to be a nurse. However, 50 years later when I immigrated to the US, I was free to become a nurse and I did.

What is the most rewarding part of your job as a Registered Nurse?

The most rewarding part of being a RN with Veterans Affairs is the connection I’m able to develop with my patients and their families. As an Oncology nurse, I see my patients on a regular basis and administer their chemotherapy, a process that sometimes takes hours. Unlike a lot of other nursing specialties, I’m able to spend a lot time with my patients, getting to know them and their family members. They invite me to weddings and holiday dinners. I’m honored to be a part of their lives and to help them through some of their difficult times.

What is the most demanding part of being a Registered Nurse?

The most demanding part of being a nurse is losing a patient.

Would you recommend Registered Nurse as a good career path?

I would recommend nursing as a career to anyone who has a love of helping people.  As a RN you can take your career to where ever you want to go.  You can teach, travel, work in a doctor’s office, hospital, clinic, camp, the options are endless.  Nursing is a very honorable profession that lasts a lifetime.

Oncology Specialty Requirements

  • U.S. citizenship is required.
  • Full unrestricted Licensure, Certification, or Registration is required.
  • Minimal of 3 years of recent medical and surgical experience.
  • Experience in the administration of chemotherapy agents preferred. Must possess a current chemotherapy / biotherapy card is required.
  • Experience in Oncology and case management is required.
  • Oncology nurse certification is required.
  • Assesses patients to identify needs, issues, resources, and care goals, and identifies resources and critical factors for achieving desired outcomes for discharge, post hospitalization recovery and/or health maintenance/improvement.
  • Educates patient and/or family on specific needs that will facilitate their participation in the plan of care.

Visit our Qualification Standards page for detailed information for each pay grade in this job series. Click on the appropriate occupational title under the GS-0600 family.

Emergency Room Nurse

Florence Kemathe’s specialty is emergency medicine at the Washington D.C. VA Medical Center.

 

Florence Kemathe, RN

Florence Kemathe, RN

Q&A With Florence Kemathe

Why did you become a Registered Nurse?

I became a nurse in order to help people and to try and make a difference in my every day work.

What is the most rewarding part of your job as a Registered Nurse?

I come from Kenya and after seeing the suffering and disparity in health care systems, I want to help and improve the life of others in any way I can. The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the smiles and the gratitude from my patients and families.

What is the most demanding part of being a Registered Nurse?

The most demanding part of being a nurse is being able to balance between taking care of our families and work. Long working hours sometimes takes a tool on our families and friends.

Would you recommend Registered Nurse as a good career path?

Nursing is wonderful career path. There are so many avenues of nursing and rewarding moments. Without any doubt I would recommend nursing as a career path to the new generation

Emergency Room Requirements

  • U.S. citizenship is required.
  • Full unrestricted Licensure, Certification, or Registration is required.
  • Core functions include daily assessment of patient care needs to determine the most appropriate use of expertise in clinical coordination, patient and staff education, attention to systems issues that require intervention, and quality and performance measures.
  • Provide care in uncontrolled or unpredictable environments; provide basic and emergency patient care, discharge instructional teaching actions, and demonstrate the ability to function as a preceptor to other nurses.
  • Will apply nursing processes and care management principles within a collaborative, interdisciplinary practice setting, which will then enable effective implementation of health promotion and prevention practices, management of acute and chronic illnesses, and attainment of appropriate lengths of stay and the effective level of care.
  • Work schedule is 12 hour shifts and will have to work occasional overnights and weekends.

Visit our Qualification Standards page for detailed information for each pay grade in this job series. Click on the appropriate occupational title under the GS-0600 family.

General Surgery Nurse

Qiana Brost ‘s specialty is 2D General Surgery and providing pre op and post op care to Veterans at the Washington D.C. VA Medical Center

 

Qiana Brost, RN

Qiana Brost, RN

Q&A With Qiana Brost

Why did you become a Registered Nurse?

My grandmother was a nurse, and she inspired me along with a good friend to pursue nursing. Once I researched the field I knew it was meant for me, it allowed me to care for others at their most vulnerable time and make a difference every single day.

What is the most rewarding part of your job as a Registered Nurse?

The most rewarding part of being an RN is finding meaning every day in the work I do. I find in nursing you always have a reason to go above and beyond even in the most challenging of situations. And every day is different which keeps it interesting!

What is the most demanding part of being a Registered Nurse?

The most demanding part of the job can be managing your time, you want to be available for your patient, coworkers and still find time for yourself during the day which can be challenging.

Would you recommend Registered Nurse as a good career path?

I would absolutely recommend nursing as a career path; I cannot imagine myself doing anything else.

General Surgery Requirements

  • U.S. citizenship is required.
  • Full unrestricted Licensure, Certification, or Registration required
  • 3-5 years surgical experience is needed.
  • The surgical patient population includes post-operative care for patients with orthopedic, vascular, urological and GU conditions.
  • The majority of patients also have secondary chronic medical problems.  The RN is accountable for defined groups of patients for the entire episode of care, including post-discharge and follow-up.

Visit our Qualification Standards page for detailed information for each pay grade in this job series. Click on the appropriate occupational title under the GS-0600 family.

The nursing field will continue and expand as technology changes, as well as, the requirements of care for our veterans, will become more complex in the years to come. A nurse has unique responsibilities, and we hope that these series of interviews have given you insight to how great the nursing occupation can be.

Our next series of interviews, part 6, will about Physicians and their role in serving our veterans.

Credits

  • Michele Hammonds, Communications Specialist, US Department of Veterans Affairs, VHA Office of Public Communications (10B2B)
  • Photos provided by the Washington D.C. Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC), located in the heart of Washington DC.

Other career information

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Monday, 27th July 2015 by

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In part 4 of this series we continue with the registered nursing positions at the Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC), which is part of the VA Capitol Health Care Network located in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

Nursing is primarily assisting the individual, sick or well, in the performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery (or to a peaceful death) that would be performed unaided if the patient had the necessary strength, will, or knowledge. It is likewise the unique contribution of nursing to help the individual to be independent of such assistance as soon as possible.

The nurse deliberately assesses the client’s health problems, determines his or her role in coping with these problems, sets a plan of action which the nurse is responsible for implementing, and then determines whether the prescribed methods did indeed affect a satisfactory resolution.

The development of a scientific nursing practice necessitates the use of the scientific method. The nurse identifies actual and potential health problems; diagnoses and treats human response to physical and emotional health problems through such services as case finding, management of health problems, health counseling and teaching; provides care supportive to, or restorative of life and well-being; and assists the patient to comply with a medical regimen prescribed by a licensed physician or dentist.

For additional nursing career information, review Part 2 and Part 3 of this series and visit our GS-0600 Nursing Jobs page.

Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center 

Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center is a general medical and surgical hospital in Martinsburg, WV, with 246 beds. It has service area of more than 126,000 veterans in West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. It offers a comprehensive range of services, including internal medicine, ambulatory surgery, audiology, and speech pathology, dental, nursing home, nutrition, podiatry, prosthetics, women’s health, mental health, and rehabilitation medicine.

Registered Nurse Career Path (GS-0610)

The interviews that follow provide insight into specific healthcare specialties, why they entered the field, and the nurses talk about rewarding aspects of their jobs. They also address the demands of the position with recommendations for those who would like to follow in their footsteps.

Home Based Primary Care Nurse

Charlotte M. Scott, RN currently works with Home Based Primary Care in Stephens City and is a RN with the Caregiver Program at the Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Her specialty is Primary Care and Public Health with a background in emergency nursing. She has been a nurse since 1998. Scott has a Bachelors of Nursing (BSN) from Carlow University in Pittsburgh, PA and will complete her Master’s of Nursing (MSN) from the University of Virginia in Public Health Leadership in July 2015.

 

Charlotte Scott, RN

Charlotte Scott, RN

Q&A With Charlotte M. Scott

What is the most rewarding part of your job as a Registered Nurse?

Most rewarding part of my job is knowing I make a difference in helping improve the lives of Veterans. Being able to give back to the Veterans who have served for our country and us.

What is the most challenging part of being a Registered Nurse?

The most challenging part of my job is finding the best avenue to help each Veteran because every person has a unique situation.

Would you recommend Registered Nurse as a good career path?

I would absolutely recommend pursuing a RN career. It has been the most rewarding job I have had. My next adventure in nursing will be perusing my Doctorate in Nursing Practice from the University of Virginia. You will not find a better career path with so many exciting and rewarding opportunities.

Registered Nurse (Home Based Primary Care-HBPC) Requirements

  • U.S. citizenship is required.
  • Full-unrestricted Licensure, Certification or Registration required.
  • A minimum of three (3) years of successful clinical nursing practice in medical/surgical, and experience in home care is preferred.
  • It is preferred that candidates possess demonstrated advanced competency and skills in physical assessment with the ability to organize, plan, set priorities and make decisions in the home setting.
  • Excellent assessment skills and the ability to work collaboratively are highly desirable.
  • Have and maintain a current certification in BLS/CPR.

Visit our Qualification Standards page for detailed information for each pay grade in this job series. Click on the appropriate occupational title under the GS-0600 family.

Emergency Critical Care Nurse

Daniel T. Schiro, RN currently works in the Emergency Department at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center. He served 2 deployments in Iraq as Medic and retired from the Air Force/Air National Guard. Schiro worked as a Pre-Hospital/In-Hospital Emergency and Trauma Nurse since 2008.

 

Daniel Schiro, RN

Daniel Schiro, RN

Q&A With Daniel T. Schiro

Why did you become a Registered Nurse?

I started as a Medic/EMT in the military, then I became an orderly working nights in a hospital and I wanted more. A few nurses that I worked with convinced me to go back to school and I am happy I did.

What is the most rewarding part of your job as a Registered Nurse?

Helping people through some of the most difficult times of injury and illness.

What is the most demanding part of being a Registered Nurse?

The most rewarding part of nursing can also be the most demanding part. Being with a person on their worst day of their lives can be very uplifting when the outcome is a good one. Unfortunately, the same situation can be very emotionally draining when the outcome is poor. Standing next to a patient, holding their hand, with the family in the room as they pass from this world is the hardest part of nursing.

Would you recommend Registered Nurse as a good career path?    

I would if someone wanted to choose nursing for the right reasons. Nursing is a field that demands a lot of emotion, time and energy that money will never compensate. Those who enter the field for monetary reasons are often disappointed. If you want a career that leaves you fulfilled at the end of the day with a sense that you made a difference in at least one person’s life then nursing is worth the consideration.

Registered Nurse (Emergency Department) Requirements

  • U.S. Citizenship is required.
  • Full-unrestricted Licensure, Certification, or Registration is required.
  • Serve as a staff nurse you will provide prescribed medical treatment and personal care services to ill and injured veterans.
  • Duties include documenting observations, assessments, and changes inpatient’s condition; collaborating with health team members to facilitate positive patient care outcomes; providing a full range of nursing care to patients with a variety of physical and/or behavior problems.
  • Ability to assume leadership in a patient centered program, and the ability to establish effective communication with patients, families, visitors and members of the interdisciplinary team.
  • Work schedule will be such that must be able and willing to rotate tours of duty and or work permanent evening or night tour.
  • Minimum of 2 years of recent, full time clinical experience as a RN in Emergency Department or Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and Certification in Emergency Nursing is strongly preferred.

Visit our Qualification Standards page for detailed information for each pay grade in this job series. Click on the appropriate occupational title under the GS-0600 family.

ICU Nurse

Julia B. Houser, RN,specialty is medical surgery and ICU at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center.

 

Julie Houser, RN

Julie Houser, RN

Q&A With Julie B. Houser

Why did you become a Registered Nurse?

I wanted to become a nurse after watching my grandmother battle lung cancer, which spread to the brain. I was so amazed and impressed with how the nursing staff took care of my grandmother and our family.

What is the most rewarding part of your job as a Registered Nurse?

The most rewarding part of the job is getting the patient back to their baseline      and getting them home with their loved ones.

What is the most demanding part of being a Registered Nurse?

The most demanding part of the job is the lives we cannot save. The patients and their families become your second family and you really feel their loss and pain.

Would you recommend Registered Nurse as a good career path?    

I would definitely recommend a career in nursing to someone who has      compassion and wants to make a difference in so many Veterans’ lives. It is     truly an amazing and rewarding career choice.

Registered Nurse (Intensive Care Unit) Requirements

  • U.S. citizenship is required.
  • Full-unrestricted Licensure, Certification, or Registration is required.
  • Experience in various areas of emergency care.
  • The RN is accountable to function as a primary care nurse providing complete nursing care to 1-3 patients each shift while also maintaining a global perspective in order to prioritize work and assist other team members as needed.
  • Patients may need advanced life support including mechanical ventilation and/or Continuous Renal Reperfusion Therapy (CRRT).
  • Additional assignments include assisting with in-services and staff development.
  • Additional duties include maintaining competencies to cross-train as a staff nurse in the Emergency Department, Surgical Post Anesthesia Care Unit, and on the Med/Surg/Psych ward.
  • Additional assignments include assisting with staff development, patient education, and applying evidence based practice to unit specific processes.
  • In part 5 on registered nurses, we will be interviewing nurses and their specialties from the Washington D.C VA Medical Center.

Visit our Qualification Standards page for detailed information for each pay grade in this job series. Click on the appropriate occupational title under the GS-0600 family

In part 5 we will be interviewing registered nurses in various specialties from the Washington D.C. VA Medical Center.

Credits

  • Michele Hammonds, Communications Specialist, US Department of Veterans Affairs, VHA Office of Public Communications (10B2B)
  • Photos provided by Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC), which is part of the VA Capitol Health Care Network located in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

Other career information

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Sunday, 19th July 2015 by

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In part 3 of this series we continue with registered nursing positions at the Baltimore VA Medical Center, a division of the VA Maryland Health Care System.

This series includes all positions for which a professional knowledge of nursing and registration to practice as a professional nurse are the basic requirements. These positions were formerly included in the Nurse Anesthetist Series, GS-0605; the Nurse Series, GS-0610; and the Public Health Nurse Series, GS-0615. All positions above the training levels require the application of specialized knowledge gained through advanced education or experience or both. For example, the nurse anesthetist, the community health nurse, and the nurse specialist each must learn and apply specialized knowledge, skills, and abilities. However, all professional nurse positions require the same basic qualifications as a foundation upon which specialized knowledge is built. Thus, since all those classes of positions share the same basic requirement, all are included in this series.

Similarly, the nursing specialties that will be discussed require the same basic education and physical requirements needed for the occupation. Each of the three Baltimore VA Medical Center nurses interviewed here works in a different specialty, with unique requirements. For additional nursing career information, review Part 2 of this series and  visit our GS-0600 Nursing Jobs page.

Registered Nurse Career Path (GS-0610)

The interviews that follow provide insight into specific healthcare specialties, why they entered the field, and the nurses talk about rewarding aspects of their jobs. They also address the demands of the position with recommendations for those who would like to follow in their footsteps.

Brenda I. Ortiz, RN, BSN works at the Baltimore VA Medical Center and is currently a Patient Safety / Risk Manager assisting veterans in a different way. Ortiz states that, “As a Risk Manager, I’m prepared to handle various issues in multiple settings. I work evaluating and identifying risks to reduce patient safety concerns. I have been a Nurse for 24 years, working at the VA Maryland Health Care System since 2004.” She started her Nursing profession in a Pediatric ward where helping children and their families was very rewarding. While working in the Pediatric ward, she requested to be assigned to the Medical/Surgical Unit, where she gained additional medical experience in that field. Ortiz remarks, “I really enjoyed working with the Medical and Surgical population.”

 

Brenda Ortiz, Patient Safety/Risk Manager RB BSN

Brenda Ortiz, Patient Safety/Risk Manager RN BSN

Q&A With Brenda Ortiz

Why did you become a Registered Nurse?

My inspiration to become a Registered Nurse was my Grandmother Francisca, who was a Nurse as well. I remember that every time she came home from work, she always had a smile on her face. She said that it was a great satisfaction helping others, especially those patients who were very sick. She enjoyed making them feel good without hesitation. At that point I knew I wanted to become a Nurse. While attending Nursing School, I met my current husband. We both graduated from college and he became an Officer in the United State Army.

What is the most rewarding part of your job as a Registered Nurse?

After the 9/11 terror attacks, due to military reasons, we moved to Maryland. I knew then that I wanted to serve those who sacrificed their lives to keep the freedom that we enjoy. I started working at the VA Maryland Health Care System in 2004, and working with veterans is the most rewarding part of being a Nurse. I’m able to help/serve those who gave everything for our freedom and for our nation.

As a compassionate Nurse, I love every minute I spend with each veteran/patient, helping them to overcome the difficulties they encounter in the healing process. As a Holistic Nurse, one aims to promote health and wellness in our veterans. Through the years while serving veterans and while working to promote health and caring for them, one learns a lot of history from their point of view, and of course, one gets to cry and laugh with them and their families.

What is the most demanding part of being a Registered Nurse?

The most demanding part of being a Nurse is the long hours of the job and the last minute tasks that have to be completed, which in most cases are unpredictable. However, once you have worked for a period of time, it doesn’t matter. You’ll get used to it. Nursing is also physically demanding, which helps you to stay healthy and in shape since you are exercising from the time you begin your day until the end of the shift.

Would you recommend the Registered Nurse career path?

I’m passionate about Nursing and that is the reason I’d recommend it as the best career/profession ever. In this field, you meet a lot of people and make friends along the way. You are constantly learning while helping patients and their families, for whom you may be their only support. You work hard, laugh and cry, but at the end of the day, I guarantee it will be the most rewarding experience.

Patient Safety Manager Specialty Requirements

  • U.S. Citizenship is required.
  • Active, current, full, and unrestricted Registered Nurse License.
  • A minimum of 5 years of nursing supervisory and program management experience in a Medical Center setting.
  • Provides leadership in educational program development.
  • Directs operation improvement and automation of Patient Safety Program.
  • Develops data collection tools, monitors, and utilize the latest advances in information management technology.
  • Serves as an advocate for Veterans and works with frontline staff to monitor and ensure patient safety developing mechanisms for feedback and for implementation of improvements in a all aspects of Veteran’s health care services.

Pamela Nichols, RN, BSN, CNOR works at the Baltimore VA Medical Center and has been an operating room nurse for over 20 years.

 

Pamela Nichols, RN, BSN, CNOR

Pamela Nichols, RN, BSN, CNOR

Q&A With Pamela Nichols

Why did you become a Registered Nurse?

I loved assisting with surgery when I worked as a veterinary technician. I provided anesthesia for multiple types of animals for surgeries and later in research, and that led me to want to do the same for people. I always knew I wanted to be in the OR and went there right out of school. Participating in all different kinds of cases and learning new technologies was something that appealed to me. Nursing job security was something also very important to me.

What is the most rewarding part of your job as a Registered Nurse?
I want the patients and their families to feel they are getting the best possible care. I work hard helping patients get better by providing the safest and most efficient operating room experience. As a charge nurse, I work with multiple disciplines (surgeons, anesthesiologist, blood bank, case managers, vendors, biomedical dept., etc.) to make sure the surgery go smoothly.

What is the most demanding part of being a Registered Nurse?

An OR nurse must be very flexible. Emergencies come up and your whole day can be changed. Every case is different and every person’s response to a surgery can be different. Technology is constantly changing and you must be willing to learn new things.

Would you recommend the Registered Nurse career path?

If you are an energetic, self-motivated person who is willing to care, teach and advocate for others who are unable care for themselves this job is perfect. There are so many different job opportunities in nursing, and fortunately there are always jobs available anywhere you might want to live.

Operating Room Nurse Specialty Requirements

  • Must be a U.S. Citizen is required.
  • Full-unrestricted Licensure, Certification, or Registration required.
  • Have a Masters in Nursing (MSN) or a Masters in a related along with a Bachelors of Nursing (BSN) in a related field.
  • Minimum of 2 years of operating room experience.
  • Must be able to scrub and circulate in the operating room.
  • A minimum of 5 years of successful and progressive acute care nursing practice.
  • Demonstrates knowledge of airway management and the ability to use appropriate equipment.
  • Focus in on problems and is able to assess cardio-respiratory systems for changes and provide appropriate treatment.
  • Specific nursing activities include patient evaluation, creating and maintaining a sterile and safe surgical environment, pre and post operative patient education, monitoring the patients physical and emotional well being, and integrating and coordinating patient.
  • This position potentially requires flexibility in schedule and assignments, as this is a 24/7 hospital (i.e. On-Call).
  • Makes caring for the Veteran his/her priority while in the work setting and demonstrates customer service principles in all aspects of work.

Audrey M. Pinnock is a Nurse Manager of a Surgical Intensive Care Unit, Post Anesthesia Care Unit, and Interventional Radiology Nurses at the Baltimore VA Medical Center, a division of the VA Maryland Health Care System. Her specialty is in critical care with 33 years in nursing and 29 years as a critical care nurse in ICU, ER, PACU, trauma and transplant. Pinnock has a diverse nursing career background.

 

Audrey Pinnock, Nurse Manager

Audrey Pinnock, Critical Care Nurse Manager

Q&A With Audrey Pinnock

Why did you become a Registered Nurse?

I became a registered nurse because it was my goal from when I was a young girl to have a career in medicine. I chose nursing because I love interacting with people from all walks of life. I simply love the challenge that comes with each patient. I never know what will happen and I loved putting the puzzle together of understanding what is going on with each patient, and also the satisfaction it brings when I make a difference in the health and life of others. I enjoy teaching patients and helping them to understand what is happening to their bodies and the disease process they are experiencing.

What is the most rewarding part of your job as a Registered Nurse?

The most rewarding part of the job of being a nurse is knowing that the skills and knowledge I have obtained over the years can actually save someone’s life. To see a patient return after a major illness to say words of thanks, and knowing that I had a part in helping that person recover is worth all the sacrifice it took to obtain my nursing degree and knowledge.

What is the most demanding part of being a Registered Nurse?

The most demanding part of being a nurse is delivering the best care possible when we are shorted staffed, and sometimes working long hours over a regular tour of duty to care for our patients and doing it with a smile.

Would you recommend the Registered Nurse career path?

I would recommend nursing as a good career path. A good nurse is never out of a job and there are so many career paths one can take as a nurse that allow you to re-invent your career and gain a broader knowledge base over the years. I have enjoyed caring for our veterans, and in fact I chose to work for the VA because of the veteran patients I cared for in the private sector and the satisfaction I felt caring for them. They made me appreciate the freedoms I took for granted and renewed my dedication to my nursing career.

Critical Care Specialty Requirements

  • Must be a U.S. Citizen is required.
  • Full-unrestricted Licensure, Certification, or Registration required.
  • RN with a minimum of 2 years of critical care experience preferred.
  • Oversee the delivery of quality and timely emergency nursing care to a culturally diverse veteran population.
  • Assesses, monitors, and treats patient responses to life-threatening health problems, including functioning effectively in an emergency.
  • Possess the knowledge and skills in the following areas: ventilator support, acute respiratory failure, post-cardiac catheterization with interventions, medically critical patients with diagnosis such as acute substance abuse withdrawal, acute CVA, multi-system failure, post-operative care of all surgeries, care of spinal cord injury patients with acute surgical or medical interventions Critical Care Unit (CCU) staff also are members of the Code Blue Team and Rapid Response Team.

In part 4 of 6 on registered nurses, we will be interviewing nurses and their specialties fromMartinsburg VA Medical Center.

Credits

  • Michele Hammonds, Communications Specialist, US Department of Veterans Affairs, VHA Office of Public Communications (10B2B)
  • Photos provided by Baltimore VA Medical Center, a division of the VA Maryland Health Care System.

Other career information

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Sunday, 12th July 2015 by

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In Parts 2 through 6 of this10 part series, we will explore the registered nursing career path. From the time of Florence Nightingale, nurses have had a unique responsibility of providing health care at all levels within the healthcare industry. As members of an independent health profession, nurses collaborate with physicians and other health professionals to improve the quality of life, prevent disease, and promote good physical and mental health.

There are 108,616 medical nurses, practical nurses, and nursing assistants employed by the federal government of which 1,624 work overseas or in the U.S. Territories. Most work for the Veterans Administration (VA), HHS, and the various military departments. There are abundant opportunities to find nursing jobs at over 1,600 veterans care facilities including 152 hospitals, 965 outpatient clinics, 133 community living centers, and 293 VET centers. Add to this a good number of positions at federal prisons and with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Health and Human Services.

Positions for registered medical nurses, practical nurses, and nursing assistants are available in all major metropolitan areas in the United States, in the U.S Territories and overseas at numerous locations. There are many occupational titles for this group as delineated within each of the job descriptions below including links to current job vacancies for each occupation.

NOTE: Many think that you have to be a veteran to be employed by the federal government, especially in the Veterans Administration. In 2013 thirty percent of all federal workers were veterans.  This means that 7 out of 10 federal workers have not served in the military and this means that non-vets have an excellent chance of employment in all agencies including with the Veterans administration. Explore all of your options and don’t hesitate to apply for any and all federal jobs that you have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to compete.

Of the 77,456 registered medical nurses employed by the federal government most work for the VA, HHS, and the various military departments. The average annual salary for registered nurses is $81,407. This series includes positions that require a professional knowledge of nursing. Positions involve providing care to patients in hospitals, clinics, occupational health units, homes, schools and communities; administering anesthetic agents and supportive treatments to patients undergoing surgery or other medical procedures; promoting better health practices; teaching; performing research in one or more phases of the field of nursing; or consulting and advising nurses who provide direct care to patients.

Registered Nurse (GS-610) Career Path

There are many different nursing specialties within this occupation. The Baltimore VA Medical Center, a division of the VA Maryland Health Care System is featured here. This Medical Center is a general medical and surgical hospital in Baltimore, MD, with 727 beds. It is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and it is also a teaching hospital. Survey data for the latest year available shows that 30,000 patients visited the hospital’s emergency room. The hospital had a total of 6,719 admissions. Its physicians performed 650 inpatient and 2,200 outpatient surgeries.

 

Roger Weikert Clinical Nurse Leader

Roger Weikert
Clinical Nurse Leader

Roger Weikert  is a progressive care certified Clinical Nurse Leader,  certified medical surgical registered nurse, Nurse 2 Step 5 and has been a nurse for 7 years. Weikert truly enjoys working with people and helping them. He takes special interest in the understanding of how the human body functions and its Pathophysiology (Merriam Dictionary defines this as the physiology of abnormal states; specifically:  the functional changes that accompany a particular syndrome or disease). Weikert indicates the most rewarding and difficult part of his job is, “Educating everyone that I come into contact with during my work day”. Weikert recommends nursing careers “due to the opportunities and the many career paths that you can choose with a nursing degree.”

General Education/ Experience Requirements for all Registered Nurses

All nursing specialists must be a U.S. citizen to apply. However, you do not need to be a Veteran to apply for federal government or VA jobs. A full-unrestricted Licensure, Certification, or Registration is required for the particular state that you work in.

Nurse I Level III – An Associates Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Diploma in Nursing and approximately 2-3 years of experience. An ADN or Diploma in Nursing and a bachelor’s degree in a related field and approximately 1-2 years of experience. A BSN with approximately 1-2 years of experience, or a Master’s degree in nursing (MSN) or related field with a BSN and no experience.

Nurse II – A Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) with approximately 2-3 years of experience, or ADN or Diploma in Nursing and a bachelors degree in a related field and approximately 2-3 years experience or a Master’s degree in nursing or related field with a BSN and approximately 1-2 years experience, or a doctoral degree in nursing or meets basic requirements for appointment and has a doctoral degree in a related field with no experience.

Nurse III – Master’s degree in nursing or related field with BSN and approximately 2-3 years experience or Doctoral degree in nursing or related field and approximately 2-3 years experience.

Physical Requirements for all Registered Nurses

You will be requried to do heavy lifting, 45 pounds and over; heavy carrying, 45 pounds or over; straight pulling 8-12 hours, pushing 8-12 hours; reaching above shoulder; use of fingers, both hands required; walking 8-12 hours; standing 8-12 hours; kneeling 8-12 hours; repeated bending 8-12 hours; both legs required. In addition the ability for rapid mental and muscular coordination simultaneously; ability to distinguish basic colors; hearing (aid permitted); emotional/mental stability; keyboarding 8-12 hours; viewing computer screens 8-12 hours. These tasks listed will be performed intermittently over the course of the scheduled shift.

Education and Duties of a Clinical Nurse Leader

There are different duties for each specialty within the registered nurse occupation. For part 2 in the series our interviewee, Roger Weikert, is a clinical nurse manager. There are more specific education requirements and duties for this category.

Education includes:

  • Masters degree in Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) with certification as a CNL
  • Minimum of 3 to 4 years of professional acute care nursing experience and an active Basic Life Support (BLS) certification at the time of appointment

Duties include:

  • Demonstrates the ability to work effectively and develop sound relationships with patients, caregivers and other professionals
  • Act as a liaison between the nursing staff and the medical and ancillary staff
  • Assist with coordination of education programs to assist staff in improving their performance
  • Modeling the utilization of evidence-based research to improve practice
  • Promote an environment that fosters employees to perform to their full potential
  • Promote new initiatives
  • Assist with coordination and outcomes of new programs and inpatient operations

In the next article, part 3 of this series, I will feature 3 additional interviewees from the Baltimore VA Medical Center, a division of the VA Maryland Health Care System. Part 3 will present a broader picture of each nurses’ unique specialty.

Credits

  • Michele Hammonds, Communications Specialist, US Department of Veterans Affairs, VHA Office of Public Communications (10B2B)
  • Photos provided by Baltimore VA Medical Center, a division of the VA Maryland Health Care System.

Other career information

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Interviews, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies, Overseas Jobs, Veterans Preference

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Posted on Wednesday, 10th June 2015 by

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The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a vast array of career paths available including all health care occupations and many support, administrative, and management opportunities.

We will be doing a 6 part series about the VA and the tremendous opportunities that are available. The VA is the largest employer of medical specialties. However, there are other agencies that hire medical workers including Health and Human Services (HHS) Federal Prison Jobs with the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), and the Department of Defense (DOD).

 

VA Medical Facility

VA Medical Facility

The Veteran’s Administration staffs 153 medical centers, 135 nursing homes, over 900 ambulatory and community-based outpatient clinics, Veterans centers at 232 locations, 47 counseling centers, and 108 home-care programs. These facilities are located nationwide including the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories. They are also the largest employer of Federal Nursing Jobs in this country. The VA states that. “over 7.9 million Veterans, family members, and survivors are enrolled in the VA health system, with more than 6.3 million seeking treatment each year. Currently, annual treatment involves 773,600 inpatient visits and 60 million outpatient visits. About 250,000 full-time employees and 90,000 health professional trainees work in interdisciplinary care teams to deliver those patient services daily.”

The VA employs 239,299 workers and operates programs to benefit veterans and their families. Benefits include disability compensation payments or death related to military service; education; pensions; rehabilitation; home loan guaranty; burial; and medical care programs incorporating nursing homes, clinics, and medical centers. The VA employs physicians, and all medical specialties under the VA’s excepted merit system. This does not require civil service eligibility.

Mission of the VA

To fulfill President Lincoln’s promise “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s veterans.

History  

The U.S. has the most comprehensive system of assistance for Veterans of any nation in the world. As early as 1636, the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony were at war with the Pequot Indians. The Pilgrims passed a law that stated that disabled soldiers would be support by the colony.

During the Revolutionary War the Continental Congress of 1776 supported providing pensions for disabled soldiers. As the Republic continued, the individual states and communities provided medical and hospital care to Veterans. In 1811, the federal government authorized the first domiciliary and medical facility for Veterans. During the 19th century, the Veterans assistance program was expanded to include benefits, pensions to both the Veterans and for widows and dependents.

As our country entered into World War I, Congress established a new system of Veterans benefits to include disability compensation, insurance for service personnel and Veterans, and vocational rehabilitation for the disabled.

In the 1920′s, there were 3 different federal agencies that were administering various benefits. In 1921, Congress authorized the first consolidation of Veterans programs. The second consolidation was in 1930, and President Herbert Hoover signed Executive Order 5398 and this elevated the Veterans Bureau to a federal administration, and thus created the Veterans Administration.

The VA was elevated to a cabinet-level executive department by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. The Veterans Administration was renamed to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Administration Programs in the VA

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA)

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is America’s largest integrated health care system with over 1,700 sites of care, serving 8.76 million Veterans each year.

It the largest of their three administrations and it continues to meet Veterans’ changing medical, surgical, and quality-of-life needs. It provides new programs for treatment of traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress, suicide prevention, women Veterans and more.

The VA has opened outpatient clinics, and established telemedicine and other services to accommodate a diverse Veteran population, and continues to cultivate ongoing medical research and innovation to improve the lives of America’s patriots. VHA operates one of the largest health care systems in the world and provides training for a majority of America’s medical, nursing, and allied health professionals.

Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)

The Veterans Benefits Administration(VBA) administers the VA programs that provide financial and other forms of assistance to Veterans, their dependents, and survivors. Major benefits include Veterans’ compensation, Veterans’ pension, survivors’ benefits, rehabilitation and employment assistance, education assistance, home loan guaranties, and life insurance coverage.

These programs include the Compensation and Pension programs, Education Program, Insurance Program, The Loan Guaranty Program, and The Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program

National Cemetery Administration (NCA)

The National Cemetery Administration(NCA) has 147 national cemeteries in all, with new cemeteries in development. Through NCA, VA administers 131 of them. There are 2 national cemeteries, Arlington and the United States Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery are still maintained by the Department of the Army. Fourteen national cemeteries are maintained by the Department of the Interior. More than 3.7 million people, including Veterans of every war and conflict, from the Revolutionary War to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are honored by burial in the VA’s national cemeteries.

Today more than 22 million living Veterans have earned the honor of burial in a national cemetery, including the more than 350 Medal of Honor recipients buried in VA cemeteries. More than 19,000 acres of land are devoted to the memorialization of those who served this nation.

In part 2 of this 6 part series, we will be covering the Registered Nurse (GS-0600) occupational series.See Nursing Jobs for additional information.

Other career information

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies, Veterans Preference

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Posted on Friday, 5th June 2015 by

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The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) recently announced that a cyber security incident affecting its systems and data may have compromised the personal information of over 4 million current and former Federal employees.

OPM partnered with the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), and the FBI to determine the impact to Federal personnel. OPM immediately implemented additional security measures to protect the large amount of sensitive information it manages.

OPM states that “beginning June 8 and continuing through June 19, OPM will be sending notifications to approximately 4 million individuals whose Personally Identifiable Information was potentially compromised in this incident. The email will come from opmcio@csid.com and it will contain information regarding credit monitoring and identity theft protection services being provided to those Federal employees impacted by the data breach. In the event OPM does not have an email address for the individual on file, a standard letter will be sent via the U.S. Postal Service.”

OPM is offering affected individuals credit monitoring services and identity theft insurance with CSID, a company that specializes in identity theft protection and fraud resolution. The coverage includes a 18-month membership including credit monitoring, credit report access, identity theft insurance, and recovery services. This service is available immediately at no cost to affected individuals identified by OPM.

Additional information will be released starting at 8 a.m. CST on June 8, 2015 on www.csid.com/opm, and by calling toll-free 844-222-2743 (International callers may call collect at 512-327-0700).

OPM suggests taking the following steps to monitor your identity and financial information:

  • Monitor financial account statements and immediately report any suspicious or unusual activity to financial institutions.
  • Request a free credit report at www.AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228. Consumers are entitled by law to one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus – Equifax®, Experian®, and TransUnion® – for a total of three reports every year. Contact information for the credit bureaus can be found on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website, www.ftc.gov. (NOTE: You will be asked to provide your Social Security Number in order to receive a free report.)
  • Review resources provided on the FTC identity theft website, www.identitytheft.gov. The FTC maintains a variety of consumer publications providing comprehensive information on computer intrusions and identity theft.
  • You may place a fraud alert on your credit file to let creditors know to contact you before opening a new account in your name. Simply call TransUnion® at 1-800-680-7289 to place this alert. TransUnion® will then notify the other two credit bureaus on your behalf.

Take precautions to avoid becoming a victim and learn how to protect your personal information. OPM will be providing more information soon and those potentially impacted will be notified by mail.

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in Federal Employees

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Posted on Wednesday, 27th May 2015 by

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In the first part of this series we featured the USGS history, programs, and the economist (GS-0110) careers. In part 2 the ecologist (GS-0408) and chemist (GS-1320) careers were featured. In the final part of this series we will discuss the geographer (GS-0150) and cartographer (GS-1370) career paths.

Geographer (GS-0150) Career Path

This series includes positions the duties of which involve professional work in the field of geography, including the compilation, synthesis, analysis, interpretation and presentation of information regarding the location, distribution, and interrelationships of and processes of change affecting such natural and human phenomena as the physical features of the earth, climate, plant and animal life, and man’s settlements and institutions.

 

Geographer USGS Career Brochure Photo

Geographer USGS Career Brochure Photo

The federal government employs 1,481 in this occupation. You can review the geographer Job Series Definition for additional occupational information and to discover the largest employers of this group with links to geographer job vacancies.

Roger Sayre, is a GS-15 ecosystems geographer at the USGS in Reston, VA. He maps the distribution of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems globally. Sayre indicates that “ecosystems geography is knowing the types, distributions, and condition of the ecosystems that are on the landscape and the seascape because ecosystems give humans the goods and services that are critical for our survival.” Sayre states, “I would rather hire an employee with a science background. The science background is more important than proficiency in using tools such as GIS and remote sensing. It is easier to train GIS specialists with a science background than without.”

Geography is an interdisciplinary study of the spatial aspects of the surface of the Earth. The work of geographers encompasses a number of the sciences including climate and land-use changes, geology, meteorology, soil sciences, hydrology, biology, and much more.

USGS geographers collect and analyze spatial and hydrologic data, plan and develop geospatial and geographic information databases to facilitate scientific analysis, and enhance communications of results through reports and maps.

Duties

The duties include:

  • Performing data reconciliation between GIS (systems) and organizational or other data storage systems.
  • Creating symbology comprehensive map products (e.g. disaster assessment maps, jurisdictional mapbooks, utility mapbooks by commodity) to support organizational initiatives.
  • Performing geospatial analysis to identify inconsistent information.

Experience and Education

The qualifications are based on education and experience that will vary for each of the different grade levels. A bachelor’s degree or higher in geography or a related physical or social science such as geology, meteorology, economics, statistics, sociology, anthropology, political science, history, cartography, computer science, urban studies, or planning that include at least 24 semester hours in geography or related fields. You will need to have worked at least 1 year at the next lowest grade level. You must a U.S. citizen to apply.

A GS-0150-9/11 can earn $48,403.00 to $80,427.00 per year or more depending on the Locality Pay Area you work in.

Cartographer (GS-1370) Career Path

This series includes positions requiring the application of professional knowledge and skills in mapping and related sciences, and relevant mathematics and statistics to plan, design, research, develop, construct, evaluate, and modify mapping and charting systems, products, and technology.

 

Cartographer USGS Career Brochure Photo

Cartographer USGS Career Brochure Photo

The federal government employs 620 in this occupation. Review the cartographer Job Series Definition for additional occupational information and to discover the largest employers of this group with links to cartographer job vacancies.

Kari Craun is aGS-1370-15 supervisory cartographer at Rolla, MO. She has also held physical scientist and geographer positions. Craun leads a national center that acquires, processes, manages, and distributes all kinds of geospatial data to a variety of users, including the public. They create topographic maps and other cartographic products, and provides other related services. Craun relates, “there is an interdisciplinary aspect that is inherent to cartography. You need to know something about the subject you are portraying. This includes topography, population demographics, biological such as habitat, geology, transportation, etc. Maps are one of the most effective ways to communicate a large amount of information.” Craun recommends “that you take computer classes and the basic cartography classes. This will help you understand the science behind projections, geoids, and coordinates.”

Combining both science and art, today’s cartographers design and produce maps using geographic information systems, incorporating satellite data, aerial reconnaissance, and field surveys to produce datasets used by both scientists and everyday people.

Besides map design, today’s cartographers are working with geographic information systems, incorporating satellite data, aerial reconnaissance, and field surveys to produce datasets used by both scientists and everyday people. Cartographers create both paper and digital products that help define our surroundings, enabling us to gain a more accurate view of the world—past, present, and future.

Duties

The duties include:

  • Use of Computer Aided Design and Drafting (CAD) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software in developing maps.
  • Perform complex cartographic computations.
  • Analyze real estate plat records, electronic data files from federal agencies to develop project-reporting tools.
  • Review engineering documents and drawings, such as design memoranda, construction plans, and specs to determine real estate and location requirements for projects.
  • They may provide legal testimony relevant to boundary determination, Real Estate mapping procedures and land area calculations.
  • Serve as a technical point of contact for cartographic and GIS interests.

Education and Experience

Basic qualifications include a Bachelor’s degree with at least 30 semester hours of cartography, related physical science, computer science, or physical geography.

You will be required to have 1 year of specialized experience that is equivalent to the next lowest grade level. Some of the specialized experience can include:

  • Prepare and compile cartographic products using GIS, surveying, CAD mapping techniques and remote sensing.
  • Developing geospatial digital databases and other products
  • Experience reading, interpreting, reviewing, and preparing legal land descriptions.

You must be a U.S. citizen to apply for this career path. The salary range for a GS-11 is $58,562.00 to $76,131.00 per year or more depending on the Locality Pay Area you work in.

The USGS has remarkable career paths. Go and explore the great opportunities that the USGS has to offer.

Credits

  • Diane Noserale, USGS Public Affairs Officer, Reston, VA
  • Photos are from the USGS website and career brochures
  • USGS Web Site: http://www.usgs.gov

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Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies

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Posted on Sunday, 17th May 2015 by

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In the first part of this series we featured the USGS history, programs, and the economist (GS-0110) career path. In part 2 the ecologist (GS-0408) and chemist (GS-1320) career paths are featured.

Ecologist (GS-0408) Career Path

This series covers positions that manage, supervise, lead, or perform professional, research, or scientific work involving the study of the relationships of organisms with each other, with their physical and chemical environments, and with society.

The federal government employs 1,351 in this occupation. Review the ecologist job series definition for additional occupational information and to discover the largest employers of this group with links to ecologist job vacancies.

 

Ecologist USGS Career Brochure Photo

Ecologist USGS Career Brochure Photo

Kristen Marie Hart is a GS-0408-14, Ecologist, stationed at the Southeast Ecological Science Center in Gainesville, FL.

Hart is a research ecologist and leads a large reptile research program. She designs, plans and leads in the sampling of turtles (both marine and brackish water), crocodilians, and Burmese pythons. Hart deals with rare, threatened, endangered, and invasive species of animals. Hart indicates, “this work is important because we’re often dealing with trying to plan and execute studies to determine vital rates (survival, growth, abundance) for either imperiled populations (such as sea turtles and crocodiles) or invasive species (such as Burmese pythons). This data is critical for assessing population trends and trajectories.”

Hart has to educate the public about the importance of her work and the findings. Hart comments, “I really enjoy the field work, but the discovery of what the data means is very exhilarating!”

Hart relates that you have to “do well in math and science, and learn how to write and know how to do accounting. We have to keep track of our funds, budgeting of projects, and deliverables. There are many scientific papers so writing that is both concise and clear is very important. Finally, take courses in statistics that is used to show the importance or significance of our findings.”

Ecologists may study the distribution and density of organisms that live in ecosystems. Studying changes in the distribution and density before and after specific human activities enables ecologists to model the ecosystem impacts of human activities. Factors in ecology studies including:

  • Quantitative attributes of population, such as population density, birth rate, spatial distribution, age structure, and resource demands;
  • The structure and interactions of populations of species in a community:
  • Environment factors, such as tide pools, salt marshes, grasslands, deciduous forests, rangelands, deserts, vernal pools, and fens, and the interactions between them;
  • Pesticide testing and control;
  • Energy sources; and
  • Air and water quality and flows in urban areas.

Duties

The duties of an ecologist can include:

  • Gather, organize, and interpret ecological, biological, physical, public use or other information pertinent to research studies and/or investigations.
  • Plan the approach and data collection. Lead field crews of 1-3 people to carry out complex ecological studies.
  • Utilize established ecological simulation models to evaluate scenarios of potential future climatic and vegetation conditions.
  • Use GIS to assemble layers, run spatial models, and analyze patterns.
  • Write reports or scientific papers including, conducting literature reviews, reporting results, and preparing graphs and tables.
  • Perform data analysis including data summarization and complex statistical analyses of large datasets.

You must be a U.S. citizen to apply for this job. A GS-09 needs to have at least 1 year of experience at the next lowest level. For example, a GS-09 can earn from $48,403.00 to $62,920.00 per year or more depending on the locality salary rate for the area where they work.

Kevin Lafferty is a GS-0408 Ecologist at the Western Ecological Research Center.

Lafferty reveals the best part of the job is “making a discovery that changes the way people think about the natural world.” He suggests that “you need to have very strong quantitative skills. If you are analytical, understand graphs, and have a skeptical attitude, you can develop the scientific skills to excel in Ecology. You also need strong skill areas such as physics, chemistry, mathematics, GIS, computer programming, and good writing skills.”

Chemist (GS-1320) Career Path

This series includes all positions involving work that requires full professional education and training in the field of chemistry. This work includes the investigation, analysis, and interpretation of the composition, molecular structure, and properties of substances, the transformations which they undergo, and the amounts of matter and energy included in these transformations.

There are 5,493 chemists employed in the federal government with 61 working overseas. Review the chemist job series definition for additional occupational information and to discover the largest employers of this group with links to nationwide and overseas chemist job listings.

 

Chemist USGS Career Brochure Photo

Chemist USGS Career Brochure Photo

Dr. Keith A. Loftin is a GS-1320-13, Research Chemist, located at the USGS KS Water Science Center, Lawrence, KS.

Loftin works on interdisciplinary research teams, and conducts research independently to provide solutions and expanded understanding on understudied environmental issues of public and ecological health concern.

Loftin is a research chemist, this gives him the opportunity to identify and work on solutions to environmental problems with human and ecological health relevance. He relates, “chemistry is used to understand, make, or enhance the quality of agriculture, clothing, building materials, clean drinking water, manufacturing of a full range of luxury items, as well as medications.”

Loftin explains, “chemistry allows a person to breakdown complex systems and processes at a fundamental level that can be used to solve problems.”

Experience and Education

For all grades in this series, you will need at least 1 year of experience at the next lowest grade. The salary range for a GS-12 is$75,333 (Step 01) to $97,938 (Step 10). You have to be U.S. citizen to apply for this career path. Review the qualification standards to determine the requirements for each grade level. Also review the job announcement for the specific education and experience required for each grade level.

Geographers (GS-0150) and Cartographers (GS-1370) will be featured in Part 3.

Credits

  • Diane Noserale, USGS Public Affairs Officer, Reston, VA
  • Photos are from the USGS website and career brochures
  • USGS Web Site: http://www.usgs.gov

Helpful Career Planning Tools 

Visit our other informative site

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Posted in Applying For Jobs, Federal Career Exploration, Federal Employees, Federal Jobs, Job Qualifications, Job Vacancies, Overseas Jobs

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