|June Callasan meets with OEF/OIF Veterans Harl Wigfall (left) and Frank Harper for readjustment and transitional services.|
National Nurses Week, May 6-12, is a time when VA recognizes the outstanding work of all our Nurses. This week we shine the light on several of our OEF/OIF Nurses who care for our newest population of Veterans.
Some people know their dream job from the start. June Callasan, RN, is one of those people. She knew she wanted to be a nurse since age 15, and she can't imagine being happier in any other job.
"Nursing has sort of been my passion for years. I've always enjoyed helping people and I love the outcomes of it. You get to see your patients as they improve in their recovery," said Callasan.
Callasan grew up in Guam where she was introduced to a nursing program at her high school. She joined the program and in no time realized she had found her dream job. She earned a nursing assistant certificate and worked as a candy striper before she finished her senior year.
Ready to Work at the VA
After graduation, she left her island home to pursue a bachelor's degree in nursing at Seattle University. That's when she was introduced to job possibilities at the VA. She received a VA scholarship, completed her studies, and started her role as a nurse at the VA Medical Center in Long Beach, California, where she works today.
Callasan, who is always up for a challenge, entered a nurse management apprenticeship and soon stepped into the role of nurse manager for a medical telemetry unit manager. She achieved this in less than five years as an RN — an unusual feat.
|Callasan processes referrals for OEF/OIF service members who are transitioning into the VA health care from active duty.|
Soon after, Callasan tried her hand at nursing jobs in non-VA hospitals, but after a few years she decided to return to the VA world, at the Long Beach VA. "I really missed the VA family," she explained. "Also, the VA is special to me because my brother is an army Veteran. If not for the VA, my brother, who is a Veteran with 70% service connected disability, wouldn't have the benefits he has now."
Happily Helping OEF/OIF Veterans
Now Callasan works as a Program Manager for the OEF/OIF Care Management Service. She started with the program in 2003 when the OEF/OIF program was in its infancy.
"I'm committed to OEF/OIF services. It's sort of my baby and it would be hard to let it go," she explained. "I've seen how our services help returning service members and their families — those who are severely injured, ill, or facing readjustment challenges — and I want to continue to care for them and lead my team of case managers."
Callasan recently started a master's degree program, with a focus on nursing leadership and management. Her education goal will help her find new ways to improve Veterans services and enhance her skills as a nurse leader.
Outside of work, Callasan can be found spending time with her husband and three kids or stirring something up in the kitchen. She is a big fan of cooking as a hobby.
By Megan Tyson, VA Staff Writer
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