VA Remembers America’s Fallen on Memorial Day

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2015/May/VA-Remembers-Americas-Fallen-on-Memorial-Day.asp

90 Years of VA Research Improves Veterans’ Lives

female technician work with samples near a fume hood

In 2015, 3,400 VA researchers will work on 2,200 projects


VA will highlight 90 years of improving the lives of Veterans and other Americans through medical and prosthetics research when it celebrates National VA Research Week May 18-22, 2015.

During fiscal year 2015, nearly 3,400 VA researchers will work on more than 2,200 projects.

VA medical centers across the nation will mark VA Research Week with special events such as tours of their research facilities, lectures, and luncheons to honor the Veterans who voluntarily participate in VA studies.

The week-long activities will highlight current research, much of it focusing on Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, and using new technology in fields such as brain imaging, DNA sequencing and cell therapy.

“VA research has benefited Veterans and millions of other Americans and patients worldwide.”

five researchers working in a laboratory

VA’s Dr. Andrew Schally (r), winner of Nobel Prize.

Another highlight of Research Week will center on VA’s Million Veteran Program, which aims to create one of the world’s largest databases of health and genetic information. To date, the program has enrolled some 350,000 Veterans.

Also in the spotlight will be past accomplishments, such as the work of Nobel Prize recipient Dr. Andrew Schally, who received the award in 1977 for discoveries relating to hormones. Today, nearly four decades later, Dr. Schally is still an active VA researcher, studying cancer, diabetes and heart disease at the Miami VA Medical Center.

“VA Research and Development plays a pivotal role in improving the health of Veterans,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald. “In addition, the advances in health care developed by VA have benefited millions of other Americans and patients worldwide.”

As part of the nation’s largest integrated health care system, VA research has unique opportunities to address some of the most critical issues in health care today.

“From the development of effective therapies for tuberculosis and implantable cardiac pacemakers, to the first successful liver transplant and the nicotine patch, VA’s trail-blazing research accomplishments are a source of great pride to VA and the nation,” said Dr. Timothy O’Leary, VA’s chief research and development officer.

“The impact of VA research on Veterans’ lives stretches back to the 1920s, when researchers reported on studies looking at treatments for malaria, the long-term health effects of chemical warfare, and mortality among Veterans with mental illness.”

90th anniversary seal

To learn more about the work of VA researchers, past and present, visit www.research.va.gov. For more information on local and national events marking National VA Research Week, visit http://www.research.va.gov/ResearchWeek/

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2015/May/90-Years-of-VA-Research-Improves-Veterans-Lives.asp

90 Years of VA Research Improves Veterans’ Lives

female technician work with samples near a fume hood

In 2015, 3,400 VA researchers will work on 2,200 projects


VA will highlight 90 years of improving the lives of Veterans and other Americans through medical and prosthetics research when it celebrates National VA Research Week May 18-22, 2015.

During fiscal year 2015, nearly 3,400 VA researchers will work on more than 2,200 projects.

VA medical centers across the nation will mark VA Research Week with special events such as tours of their research facilities, lectures, and luncheons to honor the Veterans who voluntarily participate in VA studies.

The week-long activities will highlight current research, much of it focusing on Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, and using new technology in fields such as brain imaging, DNA sequencing and cell therapy.

“VA research has benefited Veterans and millions of other Americans and patients worldwide.”

five researchers working in a laboratory

VA’s Dr. Andrew Schally (r), winner of Nobel Prize.

Another highlight of Research Week will center on VA’s Million Veteran Program, which aims to create one of the world’s largest databases of health and genetic information. To date, the program has enrolled some 350,000 Veterans.

Also in the spotlight will be past accomplishments, such as the work of Nobel Prize recipient Dr. Andrew Schally, who received the award in 1977 for discoveries relating to hormones. Today, nearly four decades later, Dr. Schally is still an active VA researcher, studying cancer, diabetes and heart disease at the Miami VA Medical Center.

“VA Research and Development plays a pivotal role in improving the health of Veterans,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald. “In addition, the advances in health care developed by VA have benefited millions of other Americans and patients worldwide.”

As part of the nation’s largest integrated health care system, VA research has unique opportunities to address some of the most critical issues in health care today.

“From the development of effective therapies for tuberculosis and implantable cardiac pacemakers, to the first successful liver transplant and the nicotine patch, VA’s trail-blazing research accomplishments are a source of great pride to VA and the nation,” said Dr. Timothy O’Leary, VA’s chief research and development officer.

“The impact of VA research on Veterans’ lives stretches back to the 1920s, when researchers reported on studies looking at treatments for malaria, the long-term health effects of chemical warfare, and mortality among Veterans with mental illness.”

90th anniversary seal

To learn more about the work of VA researchers, past and present, visit www.research.va.gov. For more information on local and national events marking National VA Research Week, visit http://www.research.va.gov/ResearchWeek/

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2015/May/90-Years-of-VA-Research-Improves-Veterans-Lives.asp

90 Years of VA Research Improves Veterans’ Lives

female technician work with samples near a fume hood

In 2015, 3,400 VA researchers will work on 2,200 projects


VA will highlight 90 years of improving the lives of Veterans and other Americans through medical and prosthetics research when it celebrates National VA Research Week May 18-22, 2015.

During fiscal year 2015, nearly 3,400 VA researchers will work on more than 2,200 projects.

VA medical centers across the nation will mark VA Research Week with special events such as tours of their research facilities, lectures, and luncheons to honor the Veterans who voluntarily participate in VA studies.

The week-long activities will highlight current research, much of it focusing on Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, and using new technology in fields such as brain imaging, DNA sequencing and cell therapy.

“VA research has benefited Veterans and millions of other Americans and patients worldwide.”

five researchers working in a laboratory

VA’s Dr. Andrew Schally (r), winner of Nobel Prize.

Another highlight of Research Week will center on VA’s Million Veteran Program, which aims to create one of the world’s largest databases of health and genetic information. To date, the program has enrolled some 350,000 Veterans.

Also in the spotlight will be past accomplishments, such as the work of Nobel Prize recipient Dr. Andrew Schally, who received the award in 1977 for discoveries relating to hormones. Today, nearly four decades later, Dr. Schally is still an active VA researcher, studying cancer, diabetes and heart disease at the Miami VA Medical Center.

“VA Research and Development plays a pivotal role in improving the health of Veterans,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald. “In addition, the advances in health care developed by VA have benefited millions of other Americans and patients worldwide.”

As part of the nation’s largest integrated health care system, VA research has unique opportunities to address some of the most critical issues in health care today.

“From the development of effective therapies for tuberculosis and implantable cardiac pacemakers, to the first successful liver transplant and the nicotine patch, VA’s trail-blazing research accomplishments are a source of great pride to VA and the nation,” said Dr. Timothy O’Leary, VA’s chief research and development officer.

“The impact of VA research on Veterans’ lives stretches back to the 1920s, when researchers reported on studies looking at treatments for malaria, the long-term health effects of chemical warfare, and mortality among Veterans with mental illness.”

90th anniversary seal

To learn more about the work of VA researchers, past and present, visit www.research.va.gov. For more information on local and national events marking National VA Research Week, visit http://www.research.va.gov/ResearchWeek/

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2015/May/90-Years-of-VA-Research-Improves-Veterans-Lives.asp

90 Years of VA Research Improves Veterans’ Lives

female technician work with samples near a fume hood

In 2015, 3,400 VA researchers will work on 2,200 projects


VA will highlight 90 years of improving the lives of Veterans and other Americans through medical and prosthetics research when it celebrates National VA Research Week May 18-22, 2015.

During fiscal year 2015, nearly 3,400 VA researchers will work on more than 2,200 projects.

VA medical centers across the nation will mark VA Research Week with special events such as tours of their research facilities, lectures, and luncheons to honor the Veterans who voluntarily participate in VA studies.

The week-long activities will highlight current research, much of it focusing on Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, and using new technology in fields such as brain imaging, DNA sequencing and cell therapy.

“VA research has benefited Veterans and millions of other Americans and patients worldwide.”

five researchers working in a laboratory

VA’s Dr. Andrew Schally (r), winner of Nobel Prize.

Another highlight of Research Week will center on VA’s Million Veteran Program, which aims to create one of the world’s largest databases of health and genetic information. To date, the program has enrolled some 350,000 Veterans.

Also in the spotlight will be past accomplishments, such as the work of Nobel Prize recipient Dr. Andrew Schally, who received the award in 1977 for discoveries relating to hormones. Today, nearly four decades later, Dr. Schally is still an active VA researcher, studying cancer, diabetes and heart disease at the Miami VA Medical Center.

“VA Research and Development plays a pivotal role in improving the health of Veterans,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald. “In addition, the advances in health care developed by VA have benefited millions of other Americans and patients worldwide.”

As part of the nation’s largest integrated health care system, VA research has unique opportunities to address some of the most critical issues in health care today.

“From the development of effective therapies for tuberculosis and implantable cardiac pacemakers, to the first successful liver transplant and the nicotine patch, VA’s trail-blazing research accomplishments are a source of great pride to VA and the nation,” said Dr. Timothy O’Leary, VA’s chief research and development officer.

“The impact of VA research on Veterans’ lives stretches back to the 1920s, when researchers reported on studies looking at treatments for malaria, the long-term health effects of chemical warfare, and mortality among Veterans with mental illness.”

90th anniversary seal

To learn more about the work of VA researchers, past and present, visit www.research.va.gov. For more information on local and national events marking National VA Research Week, visit http://www.research.va.gov/ResearchWeek/

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2015/May/90-Years-of-VA-Research-Improves-Veterans-Lives.asp

He Was Given Two Years to Live…23 Years Ago

Elise Brown standing next to Roy Jeffers who is laying in a hospital bed

Liver Donor Rev. Elise Brown and Roy Jeffers



Photos by Nancy Jeffers

Army Veteran Herbert “Roy” Jeffers knew what jet lag felt like so he decided to wait a few days after his last trip to Germany to see if his energy perked back up.

It didn’t.

“I thought if I rested a day or two, I would be back on my game. I wasn’t, so I went to see my doctor. At that time, they had a new test for hepatitis C, so I had the test and it showed I had abnormal liver functions. I had hepatitis C. I had never heard of it before.”

Millions of Americans have chronic hepatitis, and most of them do not know they are infected. If left untreated, hepatitis is life threatening. It can lead to liver disease, the tenth leading cause of death in the United States.

Jeffers was just beginning a journey of more than 20 years that has made him a survivor, an expert on hepatitis and a strong advocate for prevention.

“They sent me to a liver specialist who told me my liver was in really bad shape. And also that my gall bladder needed removal, so they took my gall bladder out. “They also told me I had less than two years to live. And I thought, well, this disease might beat me but I was not going to let it win easily. I was definitely not going to be passive about the whole thing.”

May is National Hepatitis Awareness Month

And May 19 is National Hepatitis Testing Day, an opportunity to increase awareness of the dangers of hepatitis and to remind the public who should be tested for viral hepatitis.

Jeffers, an Army Airborne Veteran who served three years in Vietnam working on ground control radio, has participated in several trial programs designed to treat hepatitis.

“My first trial program was when the only thing they had was the drug interferon. At the end of the trial I still had the hepatitis C virus. It didn’t work for me. After another year, they put me on another protocol, this time with a time-released interferon. Forty-eight weeks of that and it didn’t work out either. The third trial was called an induction series where they were injecting me daily.

“At that point, my liver had progressed to cirrhosis and I required a transplant which I had at the University of North Carolina in 2002.”

Minister Donates Liver

“I got a new liver from a living donor, a lady who volunteered to give me part of her liver. She didn’t know me at all. She was a minister, Reverend Elise Brown. You’re not gonna meet many ministers who will say, ‘Oh yeah, you can cut me open and take half my liver.’”

Jeffers continues to work with VA to get the word out to all Veterans that it is very important to have the hepatitis test.

“I helped to start a hepatitis support group in Greensboro and also with the VA in Durham. And then in 1998 I heard they were putting together a group of patients in DC to discuss hepatitis and how to communicate with Veterans. I got to be on that first board.

“Feeling better than I was and getting better every day.”

“I am going to attack this disease all I can and know enough about it to help the next guy coming through.” Today, he is a member of VA’s Veterans Hepatitis Community Advisory Board.

Jeffers started treatment on a new drug in February and is now in his seventh week. “I am feeling good, feeling better than I was and getting better every day. I’m gonna kick it this time.”

And what’s his advice for Veterans?

“You don’t have anything that tells you that you better go check this out. All of us baby boomers should get tested for hepatitis. If you wait too long, the damage is already done to your liver and you’re going to wind up with cirrhosis or a transplant or maybe even liver cancer, which will kill you.”

Chronic viral hepatitis can lead to serious liver damage including liver cancer. A working liver is important because of its many functions.

Roy Jeffers hiking in a rocky wooded area
Army Veteran Roy Jeffers hiking in Pisgah National Forest, N.C

Jeffers, 64, says he has heard it from every angle from other Veterans. “I’ve heard a lot of people say I don’t want to know or I will wait until I reach retirement age. Well, time is an issue. Don’t wait until you get symptoms. I recommend as strongly as I can that anyone go and ask their provider for the test. The test is just a blood sample, one blood stick and you get no ill effects from it.”

Three of his treatment trials have been with the VA and he is impressed. “Today, VA is actively going out and seeking people that have certain conditions. They are very positive about finding Veterans and finding out what’s wrong and trying to get that solved. My personal care has been from some of the most empathetic and caring professionals I have met in all of my time in dealing with hepatitis.”

Veterans and their families can learn about the most common hepatitis infections and ways to protect your liver on this VA website.

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2015/May/He-Was-Given-Two-Years-to-Live-23-Years-Ago.asp

Women Veterans Can Be Role Models for Health

mother and daughter using hula hoops

A woman’s behavior is emulated by young people.

“This week, let us renew our commitment to empowering all women with the chance to live strong, healthy lives.”President Barack Obama

National Women’s Health Week kicks off on Mother’s Day, May 10, and is celebrated until May 16, 2015. The goal is to empower women to make their health a priority. VA takes this opportunity to help women Veterans understand what steps they can take to improve their health and to encourage them to serve as role models for health.

Women can be important role models.

As role models, a woman’s behavior, example, or success is emulated by others, especially by younger people. In general, a role model helps to guide others through life as they develop, to make important decisions, and to help find happiness later in life.

People, especially children, look to their role models for inspiration and use what they learn as a blueprint for how they should behave when they’re older. Role models are parents, immediate family members, teachers, and women Veterans, just to name a few.

Women are leaders in their communities, professions, and households — places where people are watching the examples they set. Others will follow a woman’s approach to health. From the foods they eat, to their exercise habits, to the way they care for the health of others, women, including women Veterans, are role models for health.

People are watching the examples set by women leaders.

What Role Does She Play?

Women with a career as a health professional (i.e., doctor, nurse) are not the only role models for health. Other roles include:

  • Certified health coach
  • Exercise instructor
  • Caregiver
  • Volunteer

What Can You Do To Be A Role Model For Health?

The National Institutes of Health provides tips on how to be a role model for health with kids. Explore the full list of tips on how to be a good role model, including:

  • Make Your Home a Healthy Eating Zone
  • Get Your Family Moving
  • Limit Screen Time

VA as a Health Care Resource

VA offers primary and specialty health care services for women Veterans that can help them live healthy lives and maintain role model status. Learn more about VA health care for women Veterans.

Here are some other great resources:

We Can! Tip Sheet: Be a Good Health Role Model
Be a Healthy Role Model for Children
Women Veterans Health Care: Health and Wellness
Women Veterans Health Care: Telephone Health Care

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2015/May/Women-Veterans-Can-Be-Role-Models-for-Health.asp

Honoring VA’s Compassionate Professionals

Nurse talking with a patient in a wheelchair

Dr. Melissa Gonzales Lloyd and Air Force Veteran Charles Childress

VA nurses are a dynamic, diverse group of honored, respected, and compassionate professionals.

Meet three of the hundreds of VA nurses who embody all those qualities … and more.

Melissa Gonzales Lloyd: “I am privileged to be a VA Nurse.”

At VA, excellence in nursing is valued as essential for quality health care for those who served America. Dr. Melissa Gonzales Lloyd represents that excellence.

Lloyd is the Associate Director for Patient Care Services and Nursing at VA Loma Linda Healthcare System. She served as a nurse in the U.S. Army Reserves for eight years.

“As an Army Veteran, I find my VA position to be rewarding and inspirational. I oversee all patient care services, sterile processing service, nutrition and food services, and audiology. My love for leadership, quality care, teaching and being a nurse ‘first’ serves me well as a leader in such a dynamic environment.

Tears at Times of Crisis

“I believe the profession of nursing is an extremely gratifying vocation, and caring for American heroes is personally and professionally fulfilling.

“Nurses put their heart and soul into caring for those we have oftentimes never met before. We share tears at times of crisis, provide a healing touch during times of illness, and share in the peaceful moments of end of life.“As a VA nurse, the lives of these Veterans touch our hearts for eternity. Their stories of the ultimate sacrifice are why I am privileged to be a VA nurse. Simply put, I love my Veterans.”

A Family of 39 Veterans with 500 Years of Service

Gonzales Brothers: Richard, Cassimero, Nick, and Ernest

Lloyd says she became a VA nurse, “because my dedication to our country and passion in caring for Veterans is deeply rooted in my upbringing. My uncles in the photo above were very influential in this passion. Together, they have over 100 years of service. Myself included, we are a family of 39 military Veterans with over 500 years of service.

“I cannot think of any better way to use my skill, love for nursing, along with my personal philosophy and dedication to America’s brave men and women to give back to my profession, my country, and my family which made me who I am today.”

“My life is a blessed new experience.”

Lloyd explains that she make a conscious effort to “know myself as a person and as a leader. I focus on each day of my life as a blessed new experience. Each day I express my promise to love and treasure my family. I strive to enhance myself personally with the ultimate goal to advance within my career and be a provider and role model for my children.

“I enjoy spending time with my husband and my two beautiful children, doing anything that keeps us together, volunteering with our church, and reading a good book — non-medical!

“During my 13 years in leadership, I have a vested interest in the quality of nurses entering the profession. I have held faculty positions at various college schools of nursing, teaching leadership, critical care, and indirect care perspectives. Teaching has been rewarding and provides a venue for personal and professional growth.”

Degrees and Awards

Lloyd graduated as a Doctor of Nursing Practice and also holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees with a specialty in Healthcare Education and a national certification as a Progressive Care Certified Nurse.

She was awarded Soldier of the Year for three consecutive years at the 2291st U.S. Army Hospital and was recognized as New Mexico Nurse of the Year in 2013 in the category of Nursing Executive Leadership.

Lisa Roybal: “I wanted to be the expert.”

nurse reviewing documents with a patient
Lisa Roybal (r) reviews health plan with Veteran Cynthia Flores

Lisa Roybal is a Nurse Practitioner at the Loma Linda, Calif. VA Medical Center.

She served in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps from 1984 to 2004, was assigned to eight duty stations and had 12 appointed jobs. She considers one of the highlights of her career was serving aboard the USNS Comfort during Operation Desert Shield.

Today, Roybal is the Women Veterans Program Manager for the VA Loma Linda Healthcare System.

Describing her job, she says, “I strive every day to do my best, listen and be present. Nursing is rarely boring or predictable. In this profession we are present at life’s most momentous events, from birth to death, from crisis to recovery. Working with the Veteran population, the results and rewards are often immediate.”

Roybal’s inspiration to be a nurse started with her father.

“Working with Veterans, the results and rewards are often immediate.”

“He was a Master Chief Hospital Corpsman in the U.S. Navy and he took me to the Long Beach Navy Hospital to speak to Navy nurses. They not only inspired me to go to nursing school but also to join the Navy after completing my degree.”

Her father, who served 31 years in the Navy, is not the only Veteran in her family. “My mother served two years in the Marine Corps, my brother was in the Army for nine years and I also have a nephew who is a lieutenant in the Marines.”

“I was like a kid in a candy store as a new nurse. Every specialty I was able to gain experience in, I wanted to be the expert. It was my experience working on labor and delivery that I found my final niche and I was a certified labor and delivery nurse for over eight years. I obtained my master’s degree as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner in 1998.”

A Denver native (and avid Broncos fan), Roybal joined VA after retiring from the Navy.

“Here at VA, I use all the essential elements of nursing practice by delivering patient-centered holistic care to my patients. I am inspired every day by other women Veterans and their accomplishments.”

Russell Coggins: From Desert Storm Gunner to ICU Nurse Manager

VA nurses provide Veteran health care across a range of services for acute and chronic conditions in hospital, outpatient, and long-term care settings. They engage in emergency management and disaster preparedness both in VA and beyond.

two soldiers standing outstide for a photo
“I’m on the right with the mustache along with one of my fellow tankers during Desert Storm. The finger [over the lens] belongs to another fellow tanker.”

Russell Coggins joined the Army in 1988 and trained on the M60A3 Main Battle Tank.

While stationed in Korea, he completed the Cheju-Do Challenge and a 300-foot Australian Repel at the Cheju-Do Training Center.

During his assignment at Ft. Benning, Ga. he attended the Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Warfare Defense Course. He deployed with his unit to Southwest Asia for Desert Shield and later Desert Storm.

Why did he become a nurse? “After active duty, I started at Western Carolina University and had no idea what I wanted to major in.

“One day in chemistry class I heard some fellow students discussing how hard it was to get into the nursing program. And I started thinking of the times I was in the hospital while in the Army, the conversations I had with the nurses, and how they assisted me and others in our time of need.

“And I thought that if they could do it, so could I.”

“Nursing is one of the most rewarding professions.”

Today, Coggins works for VA’s Office of Nursing Services as the Clinical Nurse Adviser for Critical Care, and is chair of the ICU Field Advisory Committee. He is also Nurse Manager of the Surgical ICU at the Charles George VAMC in Asheville, N.C.

“Nursing, for me, is one of the most rewarding professions. As nurses, we see people at their best and worst. We are there in the middle of the night when a patient is scared. We are there to support the Veteran and their family when they are moving beyond this existence.

“We all have a little of Florence Nightingale in us as we demand excellence from ourselves and those who come into contact with our Veterans.”

Coggins believes he is able to make a positive impact for Veterans. “I strive to elevate the competence of the nurses that I have the pleasure to support and ensure they have what they need to provide unparalleled care.”

Want to be a VA nurse? Start here.

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2015/May/Honoring-VAs-Compassionate-Professionals.asp

Honoring VA’s Compassionate Professionals

Nurse talking with a patient in a wheelchair

Dr. Melissa Gonzales Lloyd and Air Force Veteran Charles Childress

VA nurses are a dynamic, diverse group of honored, respected, and compassionate professionals.

Meet three of the hundreds of VA nurses who embody all those qualities … and more.

Melissa Gonzales Lloyd: “I am privileged to be a VA Nurse.”

At VA, excellence in nursing is valued as essential for quality health care for those who served America. Dr. Melissa Gonzales Lloyd represents that excellence.

Lloyd is the Associate Director for Patient Care Services and Nursing at VA Loma Linda Healthcare System. She served as a nurse in the U.S. Army Reserves for eight years.

“As an Army Veteran, I find my VA position to be rewarding and inspirational. I oversee all patient care services, sterile processing service, nutrition and food services, and audiology. My love for leadership, quality care, teaching and being a nurse ‘first’ serves me well as a leader in such a dynamic environment.

Tears at Times of Crisis

“I believe the profession of nursing is an extremely gratifying vocation, and caring for American heroes is personally and professionally fulfilling.

“Nurses put their heart and soul into caring for those we have oftentimes never met before. We share tears at times of crisis, provide a healing touch during times of illness, and share in the peaceful moments of end of life.“As a VA nurse, the lives of these Veterans touch our hearts for eternity. Their stories of the ultimate sacrifice are why I am privileged to be a VA nurse. Simply put, I love my Veterans.”

A Family of 39 Veterans with 500 Years of Service

Gonzales Brothers: Richard, Cassimero, Nick, and Ernest

Lloyd says she became a VA nurse, “because my dedication to our country and passion in caring for Veterans is deeply rooted in my upbringing. My uncles in the photo above were very influential in this passion. Together, they have over 100 years of service. Myself included, we are a family of 39 military Veterans with over 500 years of service.

“I cannot think of any better way to use my skill, love for nursing, along with my personal philosophy and dedication to America’s brave men and women to give back to my profession, my country, and my family which made me who I am today.”

“My life is a blessed new experience.”

Lloyd explains that she make a conscious effort to “know myself as a person and as a leader. I focus on each day of my life as a blessed new experience. Each day I express my promise to love and treasure my family. I strive to enhance myself personally with the ultimate goal to advance within my career and be a provider and role model for my children.

“I enjoy spending time with my husband and my two beautiful children, doing anything that keeps us together, volunteering with our church, and reading a good book — non-medical!

“During my 13 years in leadership, I have a vested interest in the quality of nurses entering the profession. I have held faculty positions at various college schools of nursing, teaching leadership, critical care, and indirect care perspectives. Teaching has been rewarding and provides a venue for personal and professional growth.”

Degrees and Awards

Lloyd graduated as a Doctor of Nursing Practice and also holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees with a specialty in Healthcare Education and a national certification as a Progressive Care Certified Nurse.

She was awarded Soldier of the Year for three consecutive years at the 2291st U.S. Army Hospital and was recognized as New Mexico Nurse of the Year in 2013 in the category of Nursing Executive Leadership.

Lisa Roybal: “I wanted to be the expert.”

nurse reviewing documents with a patient
Lisa Roybal (r) reviews health plan with Veteran Cynthia Flores

Lisa Roybal is a Nurse Practitioner at the Loma Linda, Calif. VA Medical Center.

She served in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps from 1984 to 2004, was assigned to eight duty stations and had 12 appointed jobs. She considers one of the highlights of her career was serving aboard the USNS Comfort during Operation Desert Shield.

Today, Roybal is the Women Veterans Program Manager for the VA Loma Linda Healthcare System.

Describing her job, she says, “I strive every day to do my best, listen and be present. Nursing is rarely boring or predictable. In this profession we are present at life’s most momentous events, from birth to death, from crisis to recovery. Working with the Veteran population, the results and rewards are often immediate.”

Roybal’s inspiration to be a nurse started with her father.

“Working with Veterans, the results and rewards are often immediate.”

“He was a Master Chief Hospital Corpsman in the U.S. Navy and he took me to the Long Beach Navy Hospital to speak to Navy nurses. They not only inspired me to go to nursing school but also to join the Navy after completing my degree.”

Her father, who served 31 years in the Navy, is not the only Veteran in her family. “My mother served two years in the Marine Corps, my brother was in the Army for nine years and I also have a nephew who is a lieutenant in the Marines.”

“I was like a kid in a candy store as a new nurse. Every specialty I was able to gain experience in, I wanted to be the expert. It was my experience working on labor and delivery that I found my final niche and I was a certified labor and delivery nurse for over eight years. I obtained my master’s degree as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner in 1998.”

A Denver native (and avid Broncos fan), Roybal joined VA after retiring from the Navy.

“Here at VA, I use all the essential elements of nursing practice by delivering patient-centered holistic care to my patients. I am inspired every day by other women Veterans and their accomplishments.”

Russell Coggins: From Desert Storm Gunner to ICU Nurse Manager

VA nurses provide Veteran health care across a range of services for acute and chronic conditions in hospital, outpatient, and long-term care settings. They engage in emergency management and disaster preparedness both in VA and beyond.

two soldiers standing outstide for a photo
“I’m on the right with the mustache along with one of my fellow tankers during Desert Storm. The finger [over the lens] belongs to another fellow tanker.”

Russell Coggins joined the Army in 1988 and trained on the M60A3 Main Battle Tank.

While stationed in Korea, he completed the Cheju-Do Challenge and a 300-foot Australian Repel at the Cheju-Do Training Center.

During his assignment at Ft. Benning, Ga. he attended the Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Warfare Defense Course. He deployed with his unit to Southwest Asia for Desert Shield and later Desert Storm.

Why did he become a nurse? “After active duty, I started at Western Carolina University and had no idea what I wanted to major in.

“One day in chemistry class I heard some fellow students discussing how hard it was to get into the nursing program. And I started thinking of the times I was in the hospital while in the Army, the conversations I had with the nurses, and how they assisted me and others in our time of need.

“And I thought that if they could do it, so could I.”

“Nursing is one of the most rewarding professions.”

Today, Coggins works for VA’s Office of Nursing Services as the Clinical Nurse Adviser for Critical Care, and is chair of the ICU Field Advisory Committee. He is also Nurse Manager of the Surgical ICU at the Charles George VAMC in Asheville, N.C.

“Nursing, for me, is one of the most rewarding professions. As nurses, we see people at their best and worst. We are there in the middle of the night when a patient is scared. We are there to support the Veteran and their family when they are moving beyond this existence.

“We all have a little of Florence Nightingale in us as we demand excellence from ourselves and those who come into contact with our Veterans.”

Coggins believes he is able to make a positive impact for Veterans. “I strive to elevate the competence of the nurses that I have the pleasure to support and ensure they have what they need to provide unparalleled care.”

Want to be a VA nurse? Start here.

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2015/May/Honoring-VAs-Compassionate-Professionals.asp

Honoring VA’s Compassionate Professionals

Nurse talking with a patient in a wheelchair

Dr. Melissa Gonzales Lloyd and Air Force Veteran Charles Childress

VA nurses are a dynamic, diverse group of honored, respected, and compassionate professionals.

Meet three of the hundreds of VA nurses who embody all those qualities … and more.

Melissa Gonzales Lloyd: “I am privileged to be a VA Nurse.”

At VA, excellence in nursing is valued as essential for quality health care for those who served America. Dr. Melissa Gonzales Lloyd represents that excellence.

Lloyd is the Associate Director for Patient Care Services and Nursing at VA Loma Linda Healthcare System. She served as a nurse in the U.S. Army Reserves for eight years.

“As an Army Veteran, I find my VA position to be rewarding and inspirational. I oversee all patient care services, sterile processing service, nutrition and food services, and audiology. My love for leadership, quality care, teaching and being a nurse ‘first’ serves me well as a leader in such a dynamic environment.

Tears at Times of Crisis

“I believe the profession of nursing is an extremely gratifying vocation, and caring for American heroes is personally and professionally fulfilling.

“Nurses put their heart and soul into caring for those we have oftentimes never met before. We share tears at times of crisis, provide a healing touch during times of illness, and share in the peaceful moments of end of life.“As a VA nurse, the lives of these Veterans touch our hearts for eternity. Their stories of the ultimate sacrifice are why I am privileged to be a VA nurse. Simply put, I love my Veterans.”

A Family of 39 Veterans with 500 Years of Service

Gonzales Brothers: Richard, Cassimero, Nick, and Ernest

Lloyd says she became a VA nurse, “because my dedication to our country and passion in caring for Veterans is deeply rooted in my upbringing. My uncles in the photo above were very influential in this passion. Together, they have over 100 years of service. Myself included, we are a family of 39 military Veterans with over 500 years of service.

“I cannot think of any better way to use my skill, love for nursing, along with my personal philosophy and dedication to America’s brave men and women to give back to my profession, my country, and my family which made me who I am today.”

“My life is a blessed new experience.”

Lloyd explains that she make a conscious effort to “know myself as a person and as a leader. I focus on each day of my life as a blessed new experience. Each day I express my promise to love and treasure my family. I strive to enhance myself personally with the ultimate goal to advance within my career and be a provider and role model for my children.

“I enjoy spending time with my husband and my two beautiful children, doing anything that keeps us together, volunteering with our church, and reading a good book — non-medical!

“During my 13 years in leadership, I have a vested interest in the quality of nurses entering the profession. I have held faculty positions at various college schools of nursing, teaching leadership, critical care, and indirect care perspectives. Teaching has been rewarding and provides a venue for personal and professional growth.”

Degrees and Awards

Lloyd graduated as a Doctor of Nursing Practice and also holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees with a specialty in Healthcare Education and a national certification as a Progressive Care Certified Nurse.

She was awarded Soldier of the Year for three consecutive years at the 2291st U.S. Army Hospital and was recognized as New Mexico Nurse of the Year in 2013 in the category of Nursing Executive Leadership.

Lisa Roybal: “I wanted to be the expert.”

nurse reviewing documents with a patient
Lisa Roybal (r) reviews health plan with Veteran Cynthia Flores

Lisa Roybal is a Nurse Practitioner at the Loma Linda, Calif. VA Medical Center.

She served in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps from 1984 to 2004, was assigned to eight duty stations and had 12 appointed jobs. She considers one of the highlights of her career was serving aboard the USNS Comfort during Operation Desert Shield.

Today, Roybal is the Women Veterans Program Manager for the VA Loma Linda Healthcare System.

Describing her job, she says, “I strive every day to do my best, listen and be present. Nursing is rarely boring or predictable. In this profession we are present at life’s most momentous events, from birth to death, from crisis to recovery. Working with the Veteran population, the results and rewards are often immediate.”

Roybal’s inspiration to be a nurse started with her father.

“Working with Veterans, the results and rewards are often immediate.”

“He was a Master Chief Hospital Corpsman in the U.S. Navy and he took me to the Long Beach Navy Hospital to speak to Navy nurses. They not only inspired me to go to nursing school but also to join the Navy after completing my degree.”

Her father, who served 31 years in the Navy, is not the only Veteran in her family. “My mother served two years in the Marine Corps, my brother was in the Army for nine years and I also have a nephew who is a lieutenant in the Marines.”

“I was like a kid in a candy store as a new nurse. Every specialty I was able to gain experience in, I wanted to be the expert. It was my experience working on labor and delivery that I found my final niche and I was a certified labor and delivery nurse for over eight years. I obtained my master’s degree as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner in 1998.”

A Denver native (and avid Broncos fan), Roybal joined VA after retiring from the Navy.

“Here at VA, I use all the essential elements of nursing practice by delivering patient-centered holistic care to my patients. I am inspired every day by other women Veterans and their accomplishments.”

Russell Coggins: From Desert Storm Gunner to ICU Nurse Manager

VA nurses provide Veteran health care across a range of services for acute and chronic conditions in hospital, outpatient, and long-term care settings. They engage in emergency management and disaster preparedness both in VA and beyond.

two soldiers standing outstide for a photo
“I’m on the right with the mustache along with one of my fellow tankers during Desert Storm. The finger [over the lens] belongs to another fellow tanker.”

Russell Coggins joined the Army in 1988 and trained on the M60A3 Main Battle Tank.

While stationed in Korea, he completed the Cheju-Do Challenge and a 300-foot Australian Repel at the Cheju-Do Training Center.

During his assignment at Ft. Benning, Ga. he attended the Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Warfare Defense Course. He deployed with his unit to Southwest Asia for Desert Shield and later Desert Storm.

Why did he become a nurse? “After active duty, I started at Western Carolina University and had no idea what I wanted to major in.

“One day in chemistry class I heard some fellow students discussing how hard it was to get into the nursing program. And I started thinking of the times I was in the hospital while in the Army, the conversations I had with the nurses, and how they assisted me and others in our time of need.

“And I thought that if they could do it, so could I.”

“Nursing is one of the most rewarding professions.”

Today, Coggins works for VA’s Office of Nursing Services as the Clinical Nurse Adviser for Critical Care, and is chair of the ICU Field Advisory Committee. He is also Nurse Manager of the Surgical ICU at the Charles George VAMC in Asheville, N.C.

“Nursing, for me, is one of the most rewarding professions. As nurses, we see people at their best and worst. We are there in the middle of the night when a patient is scared. We are there to support the Veteran and their family when they are moving beyond this existence.

“We all have a little of Florence Nightingale in us as we demand excellence from ourselves and those who come into contact with our Veterans.”

Coggins believes he is able to make a positive impact for Veterans. “I strive to elevate the competence of the nurses that I have the pleasure to support and ensure they have what they need to provide unparalleled care.”

Want to be a VA nurse? Start here.

Source Article from http://www.va.gov/HEALTH/NewsFeatures/2015/May/Honoring-VAs-Compassionate-Professionals.asp


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