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Post-baccalaureate registered nurse residency

Thank you for your interest in the post-baccalaureate registered nurse residency (PBRNR) program at the James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center. We aim to bridge education and practice by developing novice baccalaureate nurses into safe, competent professionals who will care for Veterans using clinical evidence to guide practice.

When to apply:

  • Application Deadline: Friday, March 31, 2023
  • Letter of Reference due:  Friday, March 31, 2023
  • Interviews will be tentatively conducted April 10, 2023 to April 14, 2023
  • Offer date: Monday, April 24 or April 28, 2023
  • Cohorts begin August 28, 2023.
  • Health status, immunization requirements, personal identity background check, proof of licensure. (June 28, 2023)
    • Notice: If you are a current government employee, please contact the program director prior to completing your application. A conversion status change from employee to trainee, including changes in benefits, will be required to participate in the residency programs.

How to apply:

PBRNR Program Goals:

Upon completion of the residency, the RN will:

  • Successfully transition from entry-level advanced beginner nurse to competent professional nurse, who provides safe, quality care as defined by Patricia Benner’s “Novice to Expert” theory (1984)
  • Demonstrate competency in effective decision-making skills related to clinical judgment and performance
  • Incorporate research and other scientific evidence into practice
  • Demonstrate competency in clinical leadership at the point of care
  • Practice collaboratively as members of the inter-professional healthcare team
  • Formulate an individual career development plan promoting life-long commitment to professional nursing

PBRNR program structure:

Program Duration

The PB-RNR is a twelve (12) month program during which the residents have 100% protected time to master the complexities of caring for Veterans.

Curriculum Model

The curriculum defines, separates, and integrates both classroom and experiential learning opportunities and consists of 80% experiential learning activities and 20% didactic learning activities. The curriculum is based on a Three Level Progression Model:

  • Foundation Level
  • Enrichment Level
  • Transition Level

Didactic Sessions
Residents will attend regular didactic sessions. Didactic sessions consist of a variety of academic/learning activities, didactic classes, simulation, and pre/post-clinical conferences for experiential learning and evaluation.

Interprofessional Collaboration
Nurse residents will collaborate with pharmacy, medicine service and specialty service along with ancillary staff as members of an interdisciplinary team.

Professional Development
Networking, collaborating, meeting new colleagues, and building relationships is key to professional development and career advancement within the program.

Scholarly Project
Evidence-based practice is a central tenet of the program and residents are deeply engaged in quality enhancement and/or system redesign projects during their training at VA Altoona, leading to improved patient and organizational outcomes as well as providing opportunities for scholarly presentations and publications.

PBRNR program eligibility:

Ideal candidates have excelled academically and come highly recommended. Our applicants should be motivated to work in patient-centered team based clinical care, engage in practice-based learning and quality improvement, have strong interpersonal communication skills, exhibit professionalism, and participate in interprofessional collaboration and leadership development. We are especially seeking applicants who have a strong interest in care of the Veteran population. 

Specific eligibility requirements are:

  • One year commitment (August to August)
  • Graduated with a baccalaureate degree from an accredited nursing program (CCNE or ACEN) within twelve (12) months of the residency start date with 3.0 GPA
  • First paid RN position
  • Pennsylvania State RN licensure (must have prior to July 15th)
  • Current BLS certification
  • US citizenship
  • Proficient in spoken and written English
  • Notice: If you are a current government employee, please contact the program director prior to completing your application. A conversion status change from employee to trainee, including changes in benefits, will be required to participate in the residency programs.

PBRNR program salary and benefits:

The stipend (salary) is reviewed annually and set by the VA Office of Academic Affiliations (OAA).  Salary will be discussed during the interview phase. 

  • Eligible for full-time VA paid trainee benefits, including Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) Healthcare (opm.gov), some medical plans offering limited dental coverage. 
  • 4 hours of annual leave and 4 hours of sick leave bi-weekly
  • 11 paid federal holidays
  • No weekends or night shift duties
  • Trainees are not eligible for shift differentials

Health Profession Trainees are not entitled to the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), Federal Employee Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP), Federal Employee Group Life Insurance (FEGLI), military leave or Paid Parental Leave.  

Connect with our staff:

Laura Litzinger, MSN, RN
Interim PB-RNR residency program director
James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center
Phone: 814-943-8164 ext. 14147
Email: laura.litzinger@va.gov