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VA's New 'Travel Nurse Program' Hits the Road
Date:3/11/2008

Program Offsets Personnel Losses, Improves Quality

WASHINGTON, March 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- To deal with a nationwide shortage of nurses and to improve the quality of care for veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has created a "Travel Nurse Corps" to enable VA nurses to travel and work throughout the Department's medical system.

"VA is committed to putting health care facilities closer to veterans," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake. "The Travel Nurse Corps will make it easier to bring our world-class health care professionals closer to veterans, too. And it will make it easier for us to shift personnel during times of crisis."

The Travel Nurse Corps, headquartered at the Phoenix VA Health Care System, is beginning as a three-year pilot program. Initially, it will place as many as 75 nurses at VA medical centers across the country. The goals of the program are to improve recruitment, decrease turnover of experienced nurses and maintain high standards of patient care.

Under the program, participating nurses may be temporarily assigned to distant medical centers and clinics to help nursing staffs that have vacancies, to reduce wait times or the reliance upon contractors, or to maintain high-skill services and procedures.

On February 20, the Department announced plans to create a Rural Health Care Advisory Committee to enhance VA services to veterans in rural areas. The Travel Nurse Corps will work with this national VA panel to support VA health care in rural areas.

"Those who join the VA Travel Nurse Corps will become key members of a talented group of professionals who are dedicated to providing the best care possible to our nation's veterans," said Cathy Rick, R.N., VA's chief nursing officer. "The program helps VA medical facilities address supplemental staffing needs while also ensuring there is a continued commitment to quality and safety."

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SOURCE U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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