When military and VA nurses work side by side—learning from and teaching each other—they benefit and so do their patients. A “unique partnership” between the DoD and VA is proving that at Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center outside Chicago, Illinois.
The first of its kind facility serves nearly 67,000 active-duty military, military retirees, family members, and veterans. In an article for Health.mil News , U.S. Navy Lt. Nathan Aranas, an active-duty registered nurse (RN) and assistant nurse manager in the emergency department (ED), says, “We learn from local trauma, mental health, and pediatrics and birthing centers, exposing me more to how medicine outside of the military is practiced. It gives me a bigger perspective of how the rest of the country operates as a health care institution.”
Christine Barassi-Jackson, a VA civilian RN, nurse manager in the ED, says “having a combined organization is a great balance that pulls out the best parts of both the Navy and VA.” She leans on Aranas, the article says, to serve as an interpreter with some of the patients. “Knowing more of the Navy culture helps break down walls with the patients and other providers.” Aranas also believes that former active-duty patients may be more at ease with a uniformed nurse “because they understand the lingo.”
Overall, Aranas says, “It’s a great experience for young, active-duty clinicians to have. "