Veterans Administration hospitals have no problem providing a 24 year-old nurse with $30,000 for a Master’s Degree in nursing management, while denying expert veteran nurses the opportunity to obtain a clinical degree, such as an ACNP, GNP, or FNP.
The choices for advancement at the VA are: Obtain a master’s degree in nurse management; or borrow $25,000 to obtain a NP degree; or stymie a nursing career at the bedside.
Nurses in management earn up to $20,000 more than nurses at the bedside, and have zero impact on patient care. As an honorably discharged veteran who has been caring for veterans for 17 years, my goal was to become a NP.
My decision to go to the VA was based partly on the financial enticement of furthering my education.
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I have two bachelor’s degrees and one-third of an master of mcience in Oriental medicine for which I am still paying.
I encourage veterans to contact their representatives or their Veterans Integrated Service Network director to change the existing policy. All advanced degrees should be given equal weight.
John T. Kelly, III,