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Congratulations to the 2020 Scholarship Winners

Posted By Ashley Lovelace, Thursday, February 13, 2020

NOVA on the Hill Day Scholarship Awardees are Selected! 

Two scholarships will be awarded in the amount of $250 each for the following two nurses to attend NOVA on the Hill Day on March 5, 2020. 

Congratulations to:

Ashley N. Jones, MS, BSN, RN, OCN, CHPN
VA Maryland Healthcare System

Steven D. Powell, MSN, BSN, BA, RN-BC
Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Criteria for the scholarships:

Applicant must be a member of NOVA for one (1) year. Must attend NOVA on the Hill Day 2020. Scholarship recipients will be required to submit to NOVA within 30 days after the conclusion of NOVA on the Hill Day 2020 a written narrative describing: How they plan to use and/or have used their experience at NOVA on the Hill Day 2020 and why they would return to NOVA on the Hill Day in the future.

Current members of the NOVA Board of Directors are not eligible to apply

Tags:  2020 Scholarship  NOVA  NOVA on the Hill  VA 

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A Message from Our President

Posted By Ashley Lovelace, Thursday, February 13, 2020




Dear NOVA Members,

Have you ever thought about using your knowledge and experience as a nurse to advocate for improving VA health care beyond the local facility level, at the state or national level? Does policy and advocacy interest you? If so, you should seize the opportunity to join us, your fellow NOVA members, at NOVA on the Hill Day on March 5th Click Here to Register and NOVA’s Annual Legislative Roundtable Click Here to RSVP on March 6th in Washington, D.C. Getting involved and creating change can have a significant positive impact on both your professional development and Veterans’ care.

Nurses instinctively protect their patients’ rights and welfare. They are advocates for quality of care improvements, and are in an ideal position to engage in political activism. However, this isn’t a new concept. Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, also known as The Lady with the Lamp, utilized evidence and political tactics to improve sanitary health conditions for the British soldiers during the Crimean War which led to changes in the health care delivery system.

If nurses don’t participate, policy decisions will be made without nursing input, which is unacceptable. Decision makers need to hear from nurses. The Institute of Medicine’s Report, The Future of Nursing: Leading change, Advancing Healthcalled for an increase in leadership from nurses at all levels, including front line staff nurses to nurse executives. All nurses can demonstrate their role as a leader by serving as an advocate and addressing public policy through the legislative process. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing your personal experiences. Politicians want to know how legislative issues affect their constituents. 

Having a voice on Capitol Hill is pivotal, and NOVA is the Voice of VA Nurses on Capitol Hill. Therefore, we must band together to improve health outcomes and effect change. There is power in numbers. The VA employs more than 80, 0000 nurses, so we should be a force not to be reckoned with. I encourage you to participate in advocacy and policy to strengthen NOVA Nurses’ impact in Washington D.C. by attending NOVA on the Hill Day and NOVA’s Annual Legislative Roundtable in March 2020. These are wonderful opportunities for you to meet face-to-face with your representatives in Congressmen and Senators from professional nursing organizations as well as Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs). Don’t miss out!

In closing, I would like to thank you for providing exceptional care day in and day out to America’s heroes across this great nation. Your passion is commendable. 

With appreciation,

Kelly D. Skinner, DNP, APRN, NP-C, GNP-BC, CRRN, WCC, CFCN


Tags:  Capitol Hill  health care  Hill Day  Kelly Skinner  NOVA  NOVA on the Hill Day  Nurses  President  Roundtable  VA  VSO 

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NOVA Member of the Month

Posted By Ashley Lovelace, Wednesday, February 12, 2020


Betty M. Ogren, LPN



Betty M. Ogren is an active NOVA member and the first LPN to serve as a NOVA Board of Director. She functions as a Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) LPN at the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System (VANIHCS) in Fort Wayne, Indiana. As a nurse, who cares for our Nation’s heroes every day, Betty is committed to enhancing access, coordinating care and improving the health care provided to our Veterans. She is passionate about developing her leadership skills and making a difference. Honesty, Integrity, Hard-working, Dedication and Advocacy are key characteristics that are extremely important to her. Betty recognizes the significant role nurses play in health care innovations and the delivery of care and is committed to influencing change in the VA and the profession of nursing.

On February 13, 2020, Betty was notified that she was awarded the full Nurse In Washington Internship (NIWI) scholarship which covers airfare expenses, up to three nights lodging expenses, and the registration fee for the conference. She can’t wait to attend NIWI in March 2020 so she can learn more about the legislative process, advocacy, health care policy, and Capitol Hill meetings while networking with other nurses who are also interested in influencing health care in the legislative arena. Congratulations, Betty!


Tags:  Betty Orgren  Feburary  Member of the month  NOVA  nurse  VA 

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Certified Nursing Impacting Quality, Safety & Practice

Posted By Ashley Lovelace, Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Shawn Meadows BSN, RN, CWON

NOVA Chapter 308

Charles George VA Medical Center Asheville,NC  

I am a Certified Wound Ostomy Nurse (CWON) at the Charles George VA Medical Center, and am also proud to be a NOVA member. I am currently serving my third year as a board member for the Wound Ostomy Continence Nursing Certification Board (WOCNCB). WOCNCB is the certifying body for wound, ostomy, continence, and foot care nursing. They are  accredited by ABSNC and NCCA and are included in the VA Office of Nursing Services recommended certification list.

Board certification is a voluntary process that requires consistent evaluations of a nurse’s professional knowledge and skills in specialties beyond RN licensure. WOCNCB certified nurses provide cost-effective and high-quality care by bringing real solutions and benefits to organizations and their patients to maintain strong clinical practice components along with education for each of the specialties. WOCNCB is honored to be an associate member of NOVA offering a 30% fee reduction for initial wound, ostomy, continence, or foot care examinations for VA nurses. Information regarding this discount can be found at

Over the last year, I have served as a course coordinator for the WOCN Wound Treatment Associate (WTA) Program which was designed to provide specialized education to enhance nurses’ abilities to provide optimal wound care to patients with acute and chronic wounds. The Charles George VA Medical Center had several registered nurses complete the WTA program.

Jocelyn Turner is an RN and NOVA member of Chapter 308  who earned her WTA certificate in January 2020. Jocelyn works on a busy medical oncology unit, and we look forward to her becoming WOCNCB certified as a WTA and sharing her expertise in wound treatment with her colleagues.

2018 WOCN Society Conference

Shawn Meadows, BSN, RN, CWON (left)

2019 WOCNCB Fall Board Meeting

Shawn Meadows, BSN, RN, CWON (center)

 Jocelyn Turner, MSN, RN

WTA Graduate and NOVA Member

Tags:  blog  certified  CWON  NOVA  nursing  Ostomy  Ouality  practice  safety  Shawn Meadows  WOCN  WOCNCB  WTA 

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Thinking About Going Back to School?

Posted By Ashley Lovelace, Wednesday, February 12, 2020


Do you know about the partnership that Excelsior College has with NOVA?  Read more here  about the current discounts and partnership advantages that are available to you. Excelsior offers associates, bachelor’s and master’s in Nursing and Heath Sciences. Now is the time to focus on your educational and career goals.  

If you are a veteran, Excelsior College specializes in serving the academic needs of military and veteran students. Excelsior is ranked Best for Vets, 10 years running! With our Center for Military and Veterans Education, active duty military, spouses, and veterans are in good hands with educational professionals who know and understand your educational and career needs. Click here to find out more about how to utilize your GI Bill and more about Excelsior College programs and services.

If you think going back to school is going to be too difficult with all the current obligations, responsibilities and goals you already have, read this article about a U.S. Sailor who balanced it all!  She balanced her service to our Country, her family and earned three degrees. Just when you thought you had too much on your plate, there was someone that showed you it can be done!  Or read about Laura Davis who turned her tragedy into a passion for nursing. Our students are amazing, just like you. Join our Excelsior family today! 


Tags:  Excelsior College  Laura Davis  Military  NOVA  partnership  Veterans 

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2020 Year of the Nurse | Self-Care

Posted By Samantha Kresz, Friday, February 7, 2020

In the year 2020, nurses are being recognized for their hard work and dedication to our healthcare system. That is why this year has been designated as the ‘Year of the Nurse.’ The initiative was spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO) in honor of the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, but the recognition goes beyond just her. It is a tribute to all nurses who play a critical role in health promotion, disease prevention, and who are on the front lines of healthcare. They play an essential role in providing high-quality care to humans all across the globe.

As a way to show our gratitude for all our incredible VA nurses who work so hard every day, we wanted to take this opportunity to remind you to take a moment for yourselves. Occupational stressors can occur on a daily basis, and that is why nurse self-care is so important. It is a necessity when it comes to physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. We know first hand that nurses give the best care to patients when they are operating at their own peak wellness. So here is a list of tips we have put together on how to implement self-care into your routine. 

During your workdays:

  • Listen to music when you are at your desk or on your break - music is a known stress reliever and can give you the momentum you need to continue the rest of your day.
  • Take a moment to relax at your desk, meditate and drink some herbal tea or hot lemon water.
  • Take a short break to stretch or go for a 10-minute walk.
  • Repeat a personal mantra (a word or phrase with a spiritual meaning) to yourself when stressed. This is an innovative form of stress management that is portable, immediate, and inexpensive.
  • If you have children or a family member you’ve been wanting to catch up with, take a moment to call them and ask them how their day is. Tell them if you’re having a good day or a bad day. You can use this time as a mini therapy session if needed.
  • Download a new podcast about a topic that interests you, and listen to it when you are working at your desk.
  • Bring a nutritious snack or lunch with you to work and enjoy it while reading your favorite book.
  • Keep a journal with you at work for times when you feel stressed and need a way to release it.
  • Practice mental imagery or visualization.
  • Use breathing exercises to center yourself. 

During your days off: 

  • Take a bubble bath with some relaxing salts to help your weary muscles have a break.
  • Check into the spa for a massage, pedicure, or other relaxing treatment.
  • Spend 20 minutes reading about a new hobby you’d like to get started on soon.
  • Call an old friend you’ve been wanting to catch up with.
  • Go to a nearby yoga studio, dance space, or spin class for a recharging workout.
  • Cozy up to your cat, dog, or even a nice, big pillow.
  • Take a good old-fashioned nap.
  • Go for a run or walk around your neighborhood or to your local park. 
  • Go catch that movie you’ve been dying to see.
  • Put on a favorite record you used to love in high school and take a trip down memory lane.

These are all easy suggestions that you can add to your lifestyle on a daily or monthly basis. We encourage you to start your self-care journey right now! Schedule a block of time in your day to take for yourself and commit to it. Again, self-care for nurses is not a luxury. It is a necessity for the health and well-being of both VA nurses and their patients. Remember, it is ok for you to need time for YOU. After all, 2020 is the ‘Year of the Nurse.’


Tags:  NOVA  Nurse  Self-Care  Year of the Nurse 

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Chapter 226 Boston, MA Update

Posted By Kelly D. Skinner, DNP, APRN, NP-C, GNP-BC, CRRN, WCC, CFCN, Thursday, January 16, 2020

Farewell to Lieutenant Finneran

NOVA nurses, VA Boston staff and SCI Veterans lined the streets outside the VA in West Roxbury, MA on November 9, 2019 to give Lieutenant Finneran the sendoff he deserved. He was killed on August 1, 1943 and his remains were finally being laid to rest beside his mother. It was very touching to see his family roll down their car windows and wave as they drove by in the funeral procession.


NOVA Calendar Raffle

Special thanks to everyone who participated in the 2019 NOVA Calendar Raffle! Those who purchased a calendar raffle had 31 chances to win a prize. The calendar raffle was a huge success. Due to the generous donations and efforts of our NOVA Chapter 226 members, monetary support was provided to the NOVA Boston nurses that attended NOVA’s 39th Annual Meeting in Miami, Florida in October 2019.


 Some Lucky Raffle Winners

In Picture: Sandy Zsikla, Marsha Auguste and Anastasia Aryee



NOVA Election

NOVA Chapter 226 held its annual election. Here are the 2020 NOVA Chapter 226 Board of Directors:

President: Theresa Presley

President Elect: Nacha Pierre

Treasurer: Kelly D. Skinner

Membership Secretary: Sherry Clement

Secretary: Tom Savage

Director: Anastasia Aryee

Director: Molly Maloney

Director: Danielle Newman

Director: Julie Szegda

Director: Brian Tuffy

Director: Valentina Ward

Looking forward to a productive year working with these motivated NOVA nurses!                       


Retirement Celebrations

NOVA Chapter 226 would like to wish Eileen Pflanz, NOVA Chapter 226 Immediate Past President, and Denise Dulude, Longtime NOVA Member, nothing but health and happiness in their retirement years!

Tags:  affle Winners  alendar Raffle  etirement Celebrations  Lieutenant Finneran  NOVA  NOVA Chapter  NOVA Members  OVA Calendar Raffle  OVA Election 

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NOVA December 2019 Board Meeting Update

Posted By NOVA , Thursday, January 16, 2020

The NOVA Board of Directors met for a two-day board meeting at the Double Tree by Hilton Washington DC – Crystal City in December 2019. While they were together, the board members took the opportunity to recognize outgoing board members: Sharon Johnson, Immediate Past President, and Kristy Cohen, Executive Director, for their service and invaluable contributions by giving them a token of their appreciation. Sharon and Kristy have been essential to the advancements NOVA has made during their tenure. To conclude the board meeting, Thelma Roach-Serry tapped the gavel once and adjourned the meeting. She then handed the gavel to Incoming NOVA President, Kelly D. Skinner. Another productive board meeting is in-the-books for 2019!

Tags:  Board Meeting  NOVA  NOVA Board  NOVA Board Meeting 

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Heard on the Hill - NOVA 2020 Hill Day

Posted By NOVA, Thursday, January 16, 2020

Greetings NOVA Members –

As the new year begins, NOVA will be preparing for many exciting events in Washington D.C. 

First up, our 2020 Hill Day which will commence on Thursday, March 5th in our Nation’s Capital – Please check all of NOVA’s Social Media platforms and the Website for ongoing updates/How to sign up and lots of other information to help you get ready to “Storm the Hill” for VA nurses.

For more information click here.

We will be providing training in a webinar hosted by me on Wednesday, January 29.  You will have the opportunity to partner with others who have participated in DC activities in the past and be mentored by NOVA Legislative Committee Members to help you in your journey to becoming a strong advocate.

This is an outstanding opportunity for NOVA to discuss nursing within VHA with Members of Congress and voice your concerns on issues that matter to all of you.

Congress is set to begin the second session of the 116th and as expected, VA and Veterans healthcare and services remains a priority for the House and Senate VA Committees. The Senate will have a new Committee Chairman – Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) - who has stated publicly that suicide prevention and oversight of VA programs will be his top priorities. The House has also posted their priorities which include suicide prevention, women’s and minority health, toxic exposure and VA oversight.

NOVA will be formulating its own 2020 Legislative Priority Goals in the coming weeks and will use them as our “foundation” when discussing critical issues facing VHA.  They will also be the leave behind for our Hill Day and the source of information discussed with lawmakers all year.

 I encourage all of you to stay current on our advocacy efforts by visiting the NOVA Website and watching our Social Media accounts – information on hearings and issues moving quickly through Congress are always provided as they happen!

I urge you to continue to voice your views as to how, when and where Veterans receive care as VA moves through any and all new forms of healthcare delivery. All of you remain at the forefront in ensuring VA continues to carry out their core mission of taking care of our Nation’s Heroes. 

Stay Tuned!

Teresa Morris, Director, Advocacy & Government Relations

Tags:  Heard on the Hill  Hill Day  NOVA  NOVA Hill Day  NOVA on the Hill 

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