June 12, 2003
LUFKIN, TX - Nurses working at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities share similar bonds, challenges, and opportunities with all other privately employed nurses. However, nurses working at the Lufkin VA Outpatient Clinic (LOPC) are quick to point out they believe they have more privileges, more opportunities, and greater job satisfaction than their nursing peers.
A recently designed t-shirt worn by LOPC employees provides a visual picture of this. The shirt says, "I Work With Heroes Everyday." The nurses working at the LOPC know they enjoy the unique privilege of caring for the great men and women who have sacrificed greatly to serve our country. Daily, these nurses are reminded that these remarkable individuals have helped to make our Nation secure and to advance the cause of freedom worldwide. By answering the call of duty and risking their lives to protect their fellow countrymen, these patriots have inspired our Nation with their courage, compassion, and dedication.
Nurses in VA facilities enjoy collaborative and independent roles in providing primary care along with a team of physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. In this role, each nurse serves as a case manager for patients assigned to the respective health care provider. A nurse is the contact person who performs medical triage of veterans either over the telephone or in person for the provider. In other words, the nurse is the liaison between the patient and the doctor to identify the needs of the patient. Of course, nurses work closely with physicians and when a nurse needs assistance, providers are always available to direct and consult.
Nurses at the LOPC manage daily health care clinics where patients are seen and treated. Nurses monitor vital signs, laboratory results, and medication usage. These health care professionals are responsible for providing essential preventive immunizations and education relating in a healthy lifestyles. This usually includes information on medications, diet, and exercise.
Something must be working right at the LOPC because the nursing staff turnover rate has essentially been zero since the clinic open over 12 years ago. In fact, two senior LOPC nurses even served in other VA facilities before transferring to Lufkin. Connie Weismuller, RN, BSN has worked for the VA for over 28 years and Valerie Johnston, RN, AD for 23 years.
VA nurses know they have a unique occupation. Every day, they appreciate three key facets of their job. First, these nurses have the opportunity to work with a very special group of patients. Second, they are afforded the opportunity to grow professionally, and finally, they work in an environment where they treated with respect and appreciation. Nurses at the Lufkin VA Outpatient Clinic realize VA is a great place to work and to serve.
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Point of Contact: VHAHOU Public Affairs04/21/04 08:25