VALOR Program Gets Nurses Trained - VA Northwest Health Network
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VA Northwest Health Network


VALOR Program Gets Nurses Trained

Picture of the VALOR Nurse Coordinator in Spokane and four VALOR program graduates

At center, Karen Saucier-Renner, MSN/ED, RN, VHA-CM is the VALOR Nurse Coordinator at Mann-Grandstaff VAMC in Spokane, WA.

By Bret Bowers, Public Affairs Officer
Monday, August 3, 2015

Four outstanding nurses, selected from a highly-qualified field of candidates all having an exceptional grade-point average and a core curriculum focus in a clinical service the VA provides for Veterans, completed VA’s Learning Opportunities Residency (VALOR) program in July.  They performed more than 400 hours of didactic, classroom, conference and on-the-job training at the medical center in recent months. “The advantage of this great VALOR program,” explained Karen Saucier-Renner, MSN/ED, RN, VHA-CM and the medical center’s VALOR Coordinator, “is that nurses are getting hands on experience in the privilege of serving Veterans.  At the same time, many begin to realize the VA is a great place to work and they end up staying with us.”

Three of the four newest VALOR graduates attended Washington State University’s Nursing program: Jade Faraca, Abigail Gilmore, and Keiran Kenneson.   They were joined by Chelsie Shrope of Montana State University.  In addition to completing their 400-hours of service to Veterans and the VA, their “graduation ceremony” gave each the opportunity to share how their training and experience prepared them for future employment, but also how they applied some clinical applications they learned in a way that could benefit both Veterans and co-workers immediately.

Dr. Nancy Benton, Associate Director / Patient Care Services Nurse Executive welcomed the graduates and inspired them by providing facts showing that VA is leading provider of health care in the nation compared to the private sector.  “I have served as a VA Nurse for more than 23 years and there’s not enough time to tell you how proud and rewarding my career has been with the VA.”

For Keiran Kenneson, an Army Veteran who served as a medic and is now enrolled in VA Health Care, the accomplishment of completing the VALOR program, “confirmed my goal of hopefully becoming a VA Nurse,” he said.  “I cannot thank you enough for accepting me into this incredible program.  I cannot speak highly enough about the VA and I hope to further my career with you someday in the future,” shared a beaming Chelsie Shrope.
VALOR Nurse Abigail Gilmore, she spent time in the MGVAMC’s Urgent Care Clinic and at the Veterans Outreach Center in Spokane Valley.  She said, “this has been an amazing experience.”

It is not uncommon for the MGVAMC’s Education Service to receive more than 40 VALOR applications each year.  If additional funding is appropriated beginning in October, the students will have the opportunity to stay onboard for another 400-hours of paid training and work in their specialty area of nursing before applying for a position.  

The VALOR program is open to students having a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher at the college level in Nursing, Pharmacy, or Medical Technician career paths.  For more information, contact the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center’s Education Service at 509-434-7663.


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