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

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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.

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