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Primary care nurse practitioner residency

Thank you for your interest in the post-graduate primary care nurse practitioner residency at the James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center. This residency is designed for new graduate family/adult gerontology nurse practitioners with a commitment to serving our Veteran population.

When to apply:

  • Applications will be accepted from: Dec 11, 2023- Jan 19, 2024
    • Rolling applications will be accepted after this date, but an interview is not guaranteed
  • Letter of Reference due:  Jan 19, 2024
  • Interviews will be tentatively conducted: Feb 12-Feb 23, 2024
  • Offer date: March 8, 2024
  • Onboarding with Human Resources: March 18-July 08, 2024
  • Cohorts begin August 26, 2024
  • Health status, immunization requirements, personal identity background check, proof of licensure, and obtain a National Provider Identifier (NPI) number no less than two months prior to start date. (June 26, 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.

Review of dates for cohort 2024-2025:

  • Applications will be accepted from Dec 11, 2023- Jan 19, 2024
  • Reviewing applications and setting up interviews from Jan 22-Feb 9, 2024
  • Interviews will be Feb 12-Feb 23, 2024
  • Reviewing all interviews and deciding on candidates Feb 26- March 8, 2024
  • Candidate will be selected and offer made  March 8, 2024
  • Acceptance letter will need signed by March 18, 2024
  • On boarding March 18-July 08, 2024 with HR

How to Apply

PCNPR program mission:

The overall mission of this residency is to:

  • Bridge the education and practice gap while transitioning novice nurse practitioners into safe, competent providers while using clinical evidence to guide practice.
  • Increase access to high-quality primary care for veterans receiving care in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) by training nurse practitioners in a VA-based supportive educational program that prepares new nurse practitioners for full and autonomous care of all veterans receiving care in various healthcare settings.
  • Provide new nurse practitioners with the depth, breadth, volume, and intensity of clinical training necessary to serve as independent providers within the VHA healthcare system.

PCNPR program goals:

  • Support professional role transition, integration, and socialization of new nurse practitioners.
  • Provide interprofessional learning and practice experiences in Veterans with complex health care problems.
  • Improve Veteran access to high quality care.
  • Expand the Altoona VA Medical Center workforce by improving the confidence, productivity, and job satisfaction of new nurse practitioners who choose to work in a Veteran-centric setting.

PCNPR program structure:

Program Duration
The Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Residency is a 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.

Experiential Learning
The 12-month curricular program was designed using a four-phase model. The model consists of multiple rotations to a wide variety of specialty units and primary care clinics. Clinical rotations will be within the James E. Van Zandt Medical Center, inclusive of its surrounding Community Based Out-Patient Clinics (CBOCs).

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 practitioner 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.

PCNPR 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 wish to train and work in primary care and have a strong interest in care of the Veteran population. 

Specific eligibility requirements are:

  • One year commitment (August to August)
  • Graduated with a master's or doctoral degree from an accredited nurse practitioner program within 12 months of the residency start date
  • Board certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner or Adult-Gerontology Primary Care from AANP or ANCC accrediting bodies (must have prior to July 15th)
  • Pennsylvania State APRN licensure (must have prior to July 15th)
  • Current unencumbered RN license
  • Current BLS certification
  • US citizenship
  • NPI number (DEA license not required)

Note: Although admission priority must be given to trainees who possess licensure and board certification at the time of program entry, the OAA Nursing Education Director may grant a “90-day grace period” to highly qualified NP residency candidate(s) whose licensure and board certification have been delayed.

  • Candidates must provide written assurance that they will obtain licensure and board certification within 90 days from the start of the program. If a nurse practitioner resident fails to meet board certification or licensure requirement within the 90 days since the start of the program, the trainee will be terminated from the program
  • 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.

PCNPR 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 (, some medical plans offering limited dental coverage. 
  • Annual leave and sick leave accrual based on Federal Service Computation Date
  • 11 paid federal holidays
  • No weekends, on call or night shift duties

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:

Julia Paronish-Ludwig, DNP, APRN, NP-C
PC-NPR residency program director
James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center
Phone: 814-943-8164