Veterans Affairs SIG

The Veterans Affairs SIG provides a forum for VA ambulatory care nurses to discuss problems, share solutions and creative programs; and keep in touch across the country.

Who We Are

Have a look at the VA SIG, and find out what we are all about! Contact us at VASIGVERSION2@gmail.com. How many VA SIG members are in YOUR state? You may also download the map! View a comparison map of the SIG's growth.

GO TEAM VA SIG

2017 VA SIG Survey Results

The VA SIG's recent survey showed a wide array of topics the 54 respondents were interested in, with process improvement topping the list at 75.93%. The majority have been AAACN members for 3-5 years (32.69%), and just over 40% members of the VA SIG for 1-3 years. Nearly all have been RNs for over 10 years (94%), and 44.23% have worked in ambulatory care for 6-10 years.

The highest level of education was reported as Master's degree, closely followed by Bachelor's, and 44.23% described their position as a staff nurse. Nearly half of respondents are certified in ambulatory care nursing. The most common work setting was a hospital-based clinic. Respondents most commonly read Community discussions weekly (39.58%), and 34.62% visit the VA SIG's webpage monthly. View the 2017 VA SIG Survey Results.

"I find the VA SIG very helpful," one VA SIG member said. "I greatly appreciate the work current leadership is doing. The questions help me learn, and I am grateful that I am able to provide feedback to my colleagues."

Goals

  • To promote AAACN initiatives related to Standards of Care and Practice
  • To provide the opportunity to enhance collaborative relationships

The VA SIG meets annually at the AAACN conference. The VA SIG communicates on a periodic basis with its membership via articles in the AAACN ViewPoint publication, as well as via the AAACN Website and VA SIG Community. We also hold regular conference call meetings every other month. See the Meetings and Minutes tab (below) for details.

Best Practices

Poster presentations are a very valuable and popular part of the education program offered at the annual conference.

This very successful event offers a way for nurses and their facilities to share cutting edge advances and best practices in ambulatory care nursing while educating attendees on their achievements. Conference participants can speak with poster presenters to learn more about their topic.

Since poster presentations are an AAACN member benefit, they may not be listed on this public page which is accessible to everyone. View the list of poster presentations that were submitted by VA SIG members in 2016.

View select poster presentations from the 2017 Annual Conference.

Meetings and Minutes

VA SIG Meetings- The general information below is for all VA SIG Meetings. Occasionally, there are may be additional information about specific meetings (when available). Please view the "Special Interest Groups (SIGS)" tab on the Events page for further details.

  • VA SIG meetings are held the third Tuesday of every other month
  • 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EST
  • Dial In: Toll Free #: 1-800-582-3014 | Participant Passcode: 875843813#.
  • (Please press *6 -star 6- to mute to avoid background noise.)
  • LYNC through Outlook invite only - please contact Julie Alban if you have not received a meeting invitation.

VA SIG Meeting Minutes

Presenters' Corner

Recordings from previous VA SIG meetings can be found in the VA SIG Community's Documents Library. Once there, log in, locate the VA SIG Community, and click on the Library tab to view documents.

2017 Photos and Faces of the VA SIG at the 2017 Conference

Lots of fun was had by all at the 42nd Annual Conference on May 10-13, 2017 at the New Orleans Marriott in jazzy New Orleans, LA!. Photos were sent to the National Office during the conference to be included in our own gallery. In addition, many photos were taken by conference attendees with the app, which you can also view in the AAACN.org Flickr photo albums. Can you find yourself? Look for your scribble on the Graffitti Board!

View a presentation: 42nd Annual Conference Update PDF | PPT

Enjoy our photo gallery of VA SIG members:

VA Leadership present their SIG session (Mary Kate Sweeney, Sarah Espin, Julie Alban & Katherine Andersen).


VA SIG member Jane "CJ" Mazzeo receives a surprise award for Clinical Excellence in Ambulatory Care Nursing


VA SIG members enjoy authentic New Orleans treats


Hello, New Orleans!


VA SIG members visit the New Orleans VA Medical Center


VA SIG members visit the New Orleans VA Medical Center


VA SIG in the Exhibit Hall


VA SIG Session


VA SIG in the Exhibit Hall


Left to right: Kathy Andersen, Julie Alban, Sarah Espin, & Mary Kate Sweeney


VA SIG members enjoy a meal out on the town


VA SIG members explore New Orleans


VA SIG members explore New Orleans


Julie Alban's poster in the Exhibit Hall


VA SIG education


VA SIG group shot


Sarah Espin (right) manning VA SIG Table.JPG


Sarah Espin Presents a Poster


VA SIG members enjoy a meal

2016 Photos and Faces of the VA SIG at the 2016 Conference

Lots of fun was had by all at the 41st Annual Conference on May 18-21, 2016 at Palm Springs, CA. Photos were sent to the National Office during the conference to be included in our own gallery. In addition, many photos were taken by conference attendees with the app, which you can also view in the AAACN.org Flickr photo albums. Can you find yourself?

Enjoy our photo gallery of VA SIG members:

L-R: Sarah Espin, Katherine Andersen, Julie Alban.

2015 - Photos and Faces of the VA SIG at the 2015 Conference and Other Events

Enjoy the photo gallery of VA SIG members:

VA Nurses at the 41st Annual Conference.

VA Nurses at the 41st Annual Conference.

Julie Alban, MSN, MPH, RN-BC, (center) recipient of the Administrative Nurse Excellence Award with Cynthia Nowicki Hnatiuk, EdD, RN, CAE, FAAN (right) and Susan Paschke, MSN, RN-BC, NEA-BC (left).

According to her nominators, Julie is a nurse who is the embodiment of superior nursing and skillful management. Her practice of nursing can be summed in one word: impeccable. She is an excellent nurse with astute clinical judgement who manages patients with extreme care, compassion, and professionalism.

She is an outstanding mentor who never hesitates to share her knowledge, skills, and experience with others. She is the epitome of a team player. She implemented the Patient Aligned Care Team program, and oversees the care coordination of more than 12,000 patients at her VA outpatient clinic.

North Florida South Georgia Veterans Health System Nurses Hosts the AAACN Welcome Table.

North Florida South Georgia Veterans Health System Nurses Hosts the AAACN Welcome Table.

VA SIG Nurses promoting Heart Health for Women Veterans at a local Health Fair – VISN 8.

VA SIG Nurses Increasing Awareness on Diabetes through a Game of Jeopardy with Veterans – VISN 8.  (VA Network Access Only)

Resources

VA SIG Connected Community

Each SIG has been added to the Connected Community platform for all of your networking.

Members network via communities that provide archiving of discussions, a document library, search feature, digest options, and a customization profile for each member, and is mobile friendly.

Find out more about the AAACN Connected Community

What Being a VA Nurse Means to Me

Meet the Faces of the VA SIG! These nurses from around the country work to heal our returning veterans. Hear in their own words what it means to be a VA nurse.

Julie Alban, MSN,MPH, RN-BC, PACT Care Coordinator at the Villages VA Outpatient Clinic tells us what it means to her to be a VA nurse!

Sarah Espin MSN, RN-BC, VHA-CM, Clinical Nurse Educator – Southern Tier Community Based Outpatient Clinics, North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System.

Meet Cecelia Malara, BSN, RN, Nurse Manager at Ocala Community Based Outpatient Clinic and one of the faces of the AAACN VA SIG!

Carmen Ortiz, BSN, RN-BC, PACT Nurse at Ocala Community Based Outpatient Clinic, is one of the many Faces of the VA Special Interest Group (SIG) in AAACN.

Barbara Raheim, BSN, RN, PACT Care Coordinator at Ocala Community Based Outpatient Clinic, is one of the many Faces of the VA Special Interest Group (SIG) in AAACN.

Kathleen Yacovelli, MSN, RN, Chief Nurse at Community Based Outpatient Clinics, North Florida South Georgia Veterans Health System, VISN 8 is one of the many Faces of the VA Special Interest Group (SIG) in AAACN. Kathleen is also currently serving as a COL in the US Army Reserve as a Chief Nurse of the 345th Combat Support Hospital.

New Members

Welcoming New Members of the VA Special Interest Group for December 2017!
  • Elizabeth Fry
  • Robyn Lopez
  • Kimberly McIntyre
  • Beverly Snyder-DeSalles

SIG Leadership


All AAACN members who wish to network with other nurses caring for our veterans are invited to join the VA SIG. Follow the numbered steps below:

  1. Log in to your account (If you are not already logged in)
  2. "My Account"
  3. "Click here to update your profile information";
  4. "Individual Information", > "Edit";
  5. Once in the "Primary Contact Information" area, click the gray "Manage Demographics" button;
  6. In the Special Interest Groups (Pick one or more) area, select the Veterans Affairs
    Note: (To join multiple SIGs, just hold down the control key and click.)

Once you have joined the VA SIG in your AAACN account, within 30 minutes, you will automatically become part of the VA SIG Community and will begin to receive emails in real time. You may update your preferences to receive emails in daily digest, or receive no emails.

For help joining the VA SIG or using the Community, please contact Steph@aaacn.org.

Visit the Community to ask your questions, discuss your concerns, share best practices, access and add to the documents library, request assistance with getting your programs off the ground and running successfully, and more!

We have a wide support base with many different levels of information to assist you. All members are welcome to join the Community, and we look forward to upcoming calls to discuss topics of interest to all VA SIG members.

(^.^)  The Brag Board  (^.~)

About Our Brag Board!

The Brag Board features various accomplishments of the VA SIG, the VA in general.

Do you have something (VA) to brag about, or a photo you just have to share? Email VA SIG Leadership at VASIGVERSION2@gmail.com! We just might post it right here!


Click the tab titles directly above to view.

Poster Presentation Success in New Orleans

VA SIG members placed second and third in the poster judging at the 42nd Annual Conference in New Orleans, May 10-13, 2017. These posters were selected out of 120 total posters.

2nd Place: A4: RN Care Coordination for Patients with Metabolic Syndrome in Ambulatory Care
Beverly Ponulak, MSN, RN, Edward J. Hines, Jr. VA Hospital, Hines, IL; Christina W. Quillian, PharmD, BCPS, FASHP, Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Edward J. Hines, Jr. VA Hospital, Hines, IL; Elaine Shestokas, BSN, RN, Registered Nurse Care Coordinator, Edward J. Hines, Jr. VA Hospital, Hines, IL; Marianne Tully, BSN, RN, Edward J. Hines, Jr. VA Hospital, Hines, IL   

3rd Place: A Toolkit for New Ambulatory Care Nurses: Applying Available Resources for the Job at Hand
Sarah Espin, MSN, RN-BC, VHA-CM, Clinical Nurse Educator, Veterans Health System/Southern Tier Outpatient Clinics North Florida South Georgia VHS, The Villages, FLPam Vollmer, MSN, RN-BC, Clinical Nurse Educator, Department of Veterans Affairs, Jacksonville, FLJohnnetta Wider, MSN, RN-BC, Clinical Nurse Educator, Department of Veterans Affairs, Jacksonville, FL

View the photo album of all poster presentations!

View all Poster Presentations

(To view all posters, if you are not already, members will be prompted to log in.)

Added July 20, 2017

Congratulations to AAACN's 2017 Award & Scholarship winners from the VA SIG!

2017 was the most competitive year in AAACN history for awards and scholarship submissions, and 3 winners within one SIG is quite impressive!

Julie Alban, MSN, MPH, RN-BC, received the Research/Evidence Based Practice Project Award.

Sarah Espin, MSN, RN-BC, VHA-CM, received the Conference Scholarship (Members in Nursing 2+ years).

CJ Mazzeo, BSN, RN-BC, CCCTM, VHA-CM, received the Clinical Excellence Award.

Find out more about AAACN Awards & Scholarships. All applications for the AAACN Scholarships and Awards must be submitted via the online forms by November 15 annually.

 

2016 MGM VA SIG Campaign

In the 2016 MGM campaign, 11 existing VA SIG members recruited 14 new members. The VA SIG has contributed much to AAACN over the past several years, with tremendous growth and recruiting efforts, along with organized and effective leadership, a completely revamped webpage, and more!

The efforts of Co-Chairs Julie Alban & Sarah Espin. along with Kathy Andersen, Webmaster, and Mary Kate Sweeney, Secretary, have energized the VA SIG for years to come!

View VA Flyer

The Member-Get-A-Member (MGM) campaign runs April through December annually.

Please join us in congratulating VA SIG member, Stefanie Coffey DNP, MBA, FNP-BC, RN-BC, recipient of the VA Secretary's Awards for Nursing Excellence in the expanded role!

The Secretary's Awards Program for Excellence in Nursing annually honors one Registered Nurse (RN) in a staff nurse role and one in a non-staff nurse role, i.e., advanced practice nurse, nurse manager, instructor, etc., a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)/Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), and a Nursing Assistant (NA) actively engaged in the care of patients at a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facility.

The recipients' contributions to the care of patients in any VA health care setting are patient-centered and demonstrate such excellence as to merit recognition from peers. This award is given only one time to an individual.

Each recipient serves as an ambassador for quality Veteran centric care and is an inspiration to always do our best and exceed expectations.

Congratulations, Dr. Coffey, on this well-deserved honor! We thank you for all that you do for veterans, staff, and colleagues.

Poster Presentation from VA SIG Member!

I am excited to report I will be presenting at this years AAACN Conference. The title of the presentation is "Healthy Discussions: The Licensed Practical Nurse Blood Pressure Clinic".

Download the poster now in advance!

Christine Griffel, MSN, RN-BC, and VA SIG Member
VA Pittsburgh

2015 Administrative Excellence Recipient

Julie Alban, MSN, MPH, RN-BC, (center) recipient of the Administrative Nurse Excellence Award with Cynthia Nowicki Hnatiuk, EdD, RN, CAE, FAAN (right) and Susan Paschke, MSN, RN-BC, NEA-BC (left).

According to her nominators, Julie is a nurse who is the embodiment of superior nursing and skillful management. Her practice of nursing can be summed in one word: impeccable. She is an excellent nurse with astute clinical judgement who manages patients with extreme care, compassion, and professionalism.

Julie is an outstanding mentor who never hesitates to share her knowledge, skills, and experience with others. She is the epitome of a team player. She implemented the Patient Aligned Care Team program, and oversees the care coordination of more than 12,000 patients at her VA outpatient clinic.

CCCTM Certified (updated Mar. 22)

Click to view larger imageCongratulations to Julie Alban, one of the very first CCCTMs!  Julie became Certified in Care Coordination and Transition Management (CCCTM) in fall of 2015.

We look forward to additional VA SIG members obtaining this new certification!

View more information about Certification in Care Coordination and Transition Management.

Click for a larger view of new CCCTM nurses image.

Check back often!