So I've received a lot of questions about the Dept. of Veteran's Affairs (VA) anesthesia program and I know there's a lot of misunderstanding. I'll try to clear up some confusion and also publicize the program for those who don't know.

First, the program is a joint venture between the US Army, Air Force and VA, which is titled the United States Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing (USAGPAN). Every year, approximately 30 Army, 4 Air Force and 4 VA students enter the program. The selection process is different for each branch and I am only referring to the VA contingent here.

So, here's the carrot. After selection, a student becomes enrolled in the USAGPAN program, which is widely recognized as one of the best in the nation. While in school the student continues to receive an RN equivalent salary, 5 weeks paid vacation, 2.5 weeks paid sick leave, health insurance, and retirement matching with pension benefits. The VA pays all tuition costs and a nominal amount for books/fees. The successful student will graduate with a DNP after 36 months. While some training will occur on military bases, the VA student is never actually in the military and does not incur a military commitment. Upon graduation, the newly minted CRNA will owe the VA 3 years of service repayment at community competitive salary. If this seems too good to be true, I would agree with you except that it actually exists and I'm a graduate. Literally the Golden Egg.

And the catch. You need to be a VA employee for at least the previous year prior to being awarded a scholarship (which occurs approximately 2 months after the program application deadline). Therefore, you need to be employed by the VA at the very latest in September the year before you wish to attend school. The application process is competitive, but achievable for motivated candidates. Applicants that are denied entry, but improve deficiencies and apply again are given significant weight during consideration. The duration of employment within the VA is also a considered factor.

Below is the posting which will get you started in the application process. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or clarifications.

http://www.va.gov/health/services/anesthesia/crna.asp

Joe

Email:
JCKeck1 (at) aol.com