StudentSpeak is pleased to present this guest post by Jason Warren. Jason is a Senior Nursing student at OHSU and Student Nurse Technician (SNT) at the VA Portland Health Care System. Jason will be spending his senior year at the Portland VA ICU for his Integrative Practicum. In his free time, he enjoys rock climbing and bouldering, disc golf, and playing guitar.
Prior to starting my first term of nursing school at OHSU, I had the opportunity along with sixteen other students to join a new program focused on preparing future nurses to care for the complex needs of our veterans. Students do not have to be a veteran or have any connection to the military to be a part of this program, just the desire to work with veterans. However, the Veteran Affairs Nursing Academic Partnership (VANAP) appealed to me because I have veteran family members and a family member in active duty.
Almost two years after I signed up for VANAP, I can say that the experience has been truly amazing. My clinical experience has been nothing but positive. I have had the privileged to learn from RNs at the Portland VA on 8D (Acute 1 & 2), the Vancouver VA’s Community Living Center (Chronic 1 & 2), and most recently the Veteran’s Recovery House (a residential rehabilitation treatment program for alcohol and substance abuse) in Vancouver, WA. Each placement has been exceptional, with extremely supportive preceptors and staff. Every placement has provided me with a positive learning experience to aid in my understanding of nursing at the VA. The great thing about this program is that you really get to know the VA system well. All of your clinical time is spent serving veterans, which gives you the confidence and knowledge to serve this unique population.
The VANAP clinical instructors have been incredible and have added tremendous value to my educational experience. These instructors take the time to understand your learning style to help you be your best. They want you to succeed and to get the most out of your educational experience. It also helps that they are great people that are a lot of fun to be around.
In addition to my VA-centered clinical time, I was also hired as a Student Nurse Technician (SNT) at the Portland VA. Having the VA work experience has supplemented my clinical experience. Working as an SNT has allowed me to perform nursing roles and skills that I did not get a chance to do in previous terms. This has been the best experience for me, which amplified my desire to serve the Veteran population. It has allowed me to have more contact time with Veterans. I have found Veterans to be so appreciative of the care they receive. I also enjoy the challenge this population presents with their complex comorbidities such as COPD, heart failure, and Diabetes Mellitus. I absolutely love working with the veteran population. My experience in VANAP has been fantastic and has helped me find my home at the VA.
For more information on the Veterans Scholars program