Everyone’s road to a VA career is unique. In the "Why VA" series, we’ll hear from VA Illiana nursing staff as they share their stories of why caring for Veterans is so special. In this edition, we hear from Mayra Alanis, LPN.
Mayra is a licensed practical nurse at the Bob Michel VA Clinic in Peoria, Ill.
Tell me about your career before you came to VA.
I began my career as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and I worked in that role for 5 years. In 2010, I graduated from the Carl Sandburg College LPN program.
I first heard about VA through a classmate while I was in nursing school. Before then, I had no idea what VA was or what a VA career could mean for me. My friend spoke highly of VA and said being nurse at VA was the way to go. That stuck with me.
As a newly graduated LPN, working at a nursing home helped build up my nursing experience. It was a great way to learn, but I knew that it wasn’t where I wanted to stay forever. While at a nursing home, many of my residents were Veterans and I enjoyed caring for them. One of my favorite things was listening to their stories of their time in the service. Recalling what I’d been told about VA, I remember thinking “I would love to land a job as a VA nurse.”
Describe the work environment at VA Illiana.
Being a nurse can be rewarding in itself but caring for selfless individuals who defended our country makes being a nurse feel twice as rewarding. I enjoy working for VA and I have great co-workers at Bob Michel VA. I truly feel that they are my VA family.
Working for VA, I look forward to coming in and helping Veterans. The best parts of my day are hearing their jokes and making those Vets who seem down smile.
VA has been a great place to work. When I get asked where I work, I’m proud to say I work as a nurse at VA Illiana.