Veterans Affairs SIG

The Veterans Affairs SIG provides a forum for VA ambulatory care nurses to discuss problems, share solutions and creative programs; and keep in touch across the country.

Join a SIG now

Who We Are

Have a look at the VA SIG, and find out what we are all about! Contact us at via the email addresses found in the "Leadership" tab below. How many VA SIG members are in YOUR state?


2017 VA SIG Survey Results

The VA SIG's recent survey showed a wide array of topics the 54 respondents were interested in, with process improvement topping the list at 75.93%. The majority have been AAACN members for 3-5 years (32.69%), and just over 40% members of the VA SIG for 1-3 years. Nearly all have been RNs for over 10 years (94%), and 44.23% have worked in ambulatory care for 6-10 years.

The highest level of education was reported as Master's degree, closely followed by Bachelor's, and 44.23% described their position as a staff nurse. Nearly half of respondents are certified in ambulatory care nursing. The most common work setting was a hospital-based clinic. Respondents most commonly read Community discussions weekly (39.58%), and 34.62% visit the VA SIG's webpage monthly. View the 2017 VA SIG Survey Results.

"I find the VA SIG very helpful," one VA SIG member said. "I greatly appreciate the work current leadership is doing. The questions help me learn, and I am grateful that I am able to provide feedback to my colleagues."


  • To promote AAACN initiatives related to Standards of Care and Practice
  • To provide the opportunity to enhance collaborative relationships

The VA SIG meets annually at the AAACN Conference. The VA SIG communicates on a periodic basis with its membership via articles in the AAACN ViewPoint publication, as well as via the AAACN Website and VA SIG Community. We also hold regular conference call meetings monthly. See the Meetings and Minutes tab (below) for details.

Best Practices

Poster Presentations and VA SIG Sessions
  • As a VA SIG member, you may view select post presentations from the most recent Annual Conference. VA posters are signified by an American flag icon .
  • You may also listen to VA SIG sessions discussed at the most recent Annual Conference.

Since poster presentation access and SIG Sessions are AAACN member benefits, you will be prompted to log into your AAACN member account from the links above (free to AAACN members).

Poster Presentations  VA SIG Sessions

Meetings and Minutes

VA Meetings and Minutes

VA SIG Meetings- The general information below is for all VA SIG Meetings. Occasionally, there are may be additional information about specific meetings (when available).

•    VA SIG meetings are held the third Tuesday of every each month
•    12:00 PM - 12:30 PM EST
•    Dial In: Toll Free #: 1-800-582-3014 | Participant Passcode: 875843813#.
•    Please do not join audio as this creates static and background noise, or press *6 (star 6) to mute background noise.
•    LYNC available through VA intranet only - Join Skype Meeting
•    Please contact our secretary if you have not received a meeting invitation.

VA SIG Meeting Minutes

Presenters Corner

Recordings from previous VA SIG meetings can be found in the VA SIG Community's Documents Library. Once there, log in, locate the VA SIG Community, and click on the Library tab to view documents.

Photos and Faces of AAACN and the VA SIG


VA SIG Connected Community

Each SIG has been added to the Connected Community platform for all of your networking.

Members network via communities that provide archiving of discussions, a document library, search feature, digest options, and a customization profile for each member, and is mobile friendly.

Find out more about the AAACN Connected Community

New Members

Welcoming New Members of the VA Special Interest Group for March 2019!
  • Robin Allen
  • Evelin Baez-Andrade
  • Danielle Bestey
  • Rosario Capps
  • Earline Cotton
  • Kelly Cowling
  • Melissa Dausen
  • Alice Fitzpatrick
  • Heather Hunt
  • Karey Johnson
  • Kyoungmi Kim
  • Jason Maudlin
  • Debra Nippert
  • Aileen Noll
  • Toni ODay
  • Olubukola Salaam
  • Brianna Subero
  • Jill Tate
  • Jessica Varghese
  • Kathleen Vios
  • Sandra Ward
  • Sherry Winslow

SIG Leadership

  • Co-Chairs
    Katherine Andersen, MSN, RN-BC, CCM
    Mary Kate Sweeney, MSN, RN
  • Secretary
    Amy Fulwood, BSN, RN-BC, VHA-CM
  • Webmaster
    Laila Grace Navarro, BSN, RN-BC, VHA-CM
  • Board Liaison
    Anne T. Jessie, DNP, RN

All AAACN members who wish to network with other nurses caring for our veterans are invited to join the VA SIG. Follow the numbered steps below:

  1. Log in to your account (If you are not already logged in)
  2. "My Account"
  3. "Click here to update your profile information";
  4. "Individual Information", > "Edit";
  5. Once in the "Primary Contact Information" area, click the gray "Manage Demographics" button;
  6. In the Special Interest Groups (Pick one or more) area, select the Veterans Affairs
    Note: (To join multiple SIGs, just hold down the control key and click.)

Once you have joined the VA SIG in your AAACN account, within 30 minutes, you will automatically become part of the VA SIG Community and will begin to receive emails in real time. You may update your preferences to receive emails in daily digest, or receive no emails.

For help joining the VA SIG or using the Community, please contact

Visit the Community to ask your questions, discuss your concerns, share best practices, access and add to the documents library, request assistance with getting your programs off the ground and running successfully, and more!

We have a wide support base with many different levels of information to assist you. All members are welcome to join the Community, and we look forward to upcoming calls to discuss topics of interest to all VA SIG members.

(^.^) The Brag Board (^.~)

The Brag Board features various accomplishments of the VA SIG, the VA in general.

Do you have something (VA) to brag about, or a photo you just have to share? Email VA SIG Leadership at! We just might post it right here!

Click the tab titles directly below to view.

Longtime AAACN Member Honored

The United States Congress recently recognized longtime AAACN member, Cynthia Murray, by flying an American flag over the US capitol in her honor.

Murray was honored for her service to the veterans of southern NJ, advocating for the expansion of local access to quality medical and behavioral health care, decreasing travel burden, and increasing timelines of care received. She has also been a strong advocate in the prevention of veteran suicide.

Read the full article

AAACN Member Receives National Award

Anabel Quintanar was recently recognized as the winner of the 2018 VA Secretary’s Awards for Excellence in Nursing and Advancement of Nursing Programs in the Registered Nurse staff role.

This is considered the highest award for nursing within the VA.

Local and regional winners are selected from hundreds of nominees and then one national winner is selected from there. “AAACN has been instrumental in me obtaining this award,” Quintanar said. “I joined AAACN about four years ago, got involved right away, and have just seen my leadership and nursing skills grow so much. Being a participant in the VA SIG has helped tremendously as well. As an ambulatory care nurse, it is an honor to have been selected.”

Read more about it!

Click the tab titles directly above to view.

2017 Grant Winner Earns CCCTM Credential

Join us in congratulating Christine Griffel, winner of the 2017 CCCTM Grant.

Read the News Item about her success!

Poster Presentation Success in New Orleans

VA SIG members placed second and third in the poster judging at the 42nd Annual Conference in New Orleans, May 10-13, 2017. These posters were selected out of 120 total posters.

2nd Place: A4: RN Care Coordination for Patients with Metabolic Syndrome in Ambulatory Care
Beverly Ponulak, MSN, RN, Edward J. Hines, Jr. VA Hospital, Hines, IL; Christina W. Quillian, PharmD, BCPS, FASHP, Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Edward J. Hines, Jr. VA Hospital, Hines, IL; Elaine Shestokas, BSN, RN, Registered Nurse Care Coordinator, Edward J. Hines, Jr. VA Hospital, Hines, IL; Marianne Tully, BSN, RN, Edward J. Hines, Jr. VA Hospital, Hines, IL   

3rd Place: A Toolkit for New Ambulatory Care Nurses: Applying Available Resources for the Job at Hand
Sarah Espin, MSN, RN-BC, VHA-CM, Clinical Nurse Educator, Veterans Health System/Southern Tier Outpatient Clinics North Florida South Georgia VHS, The Villages, FLPam Vollmer, MSN, RN-BC, Clinical Nurse Educator, Department of Veterans Affairs, Jacksonville, FLJohnnetta Wider, MSN, RN-BC, Clinical Nurse Educator, Department of Veterans Affairs, Jacksonville, FL

View the photo album of all poster presentations!

View all Poster Presentations

(To view all posters, if you are not already, members will be prompted to log in.)

Added July 20, 2017

Congratulations to AAACN's 2017 Award & Scholarship winners from the VA SIG!

2017 was the most competitive year in AAACN history for awards and scholarship submissions, and 3 winners within one SIG is quite impressive!

Julie Alban, MSN, MPH, RN-BC, received the Research/Evidence Based Practice Project Award.

Sarah Espin, MSN, RN-BC, VHA-CM, received the Conference Scholarship (Members in Nursing 2+ years).

CJ Mazzeo, BSN, RN-BC, CCCTM, VHA-CM, received the Clinical Excellence Award.

Find out more about AAACN Awards & Scholarships. All applications for the AAACN Scholarships and Awards must be submitted via the online forms by November 15 annually.


2016 MGM VA SIG Campaign

In the 2016 MGM campaign, 11 existing VA SIG members recruited 14 new members. The VA SIG has contributed much to AAACN over the past several years, with tremendous growth and recruiting efforts, along with organized and effective leadership, a completely revamped webpage, and more!

The efforts of Co-Chairs Julie Alban & Sarah Espin. along with Kathy Andersen, Webmaster, and Mary Kate Sweeney, Secretary, have energized the VA SIG for years to come!

View VA Flyer

The Member-Get-A-Member (MGM) campaign runs April through December annually.

Please join us in congratulating VA SIG member, Stefanie Coffey DNP, MBA, FNP-BC, RN-BC, recipient of the VA Secretary's Awards for Nursing Excellence in the expanded role!

The Secretary's Awards Program for Excellence in Nursing annually honors one Registered Nurse (RN) in a staff nurse role and one in a non-staff nurse role, i.e., advanced practice nurse, nurse manager, instructor, etc., a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)/Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), and a Nursing Assistant (NA) actively engaged in the care of patients at a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facility.

The recipients' contributions to the care of patients in any VA health care setting are patient-centered and demonstrate such excellence as to merit recognition from peers. This award is given only one time to an individual.

Each recipient serves as an ambassador for quality Veteran centric care and is an inspiration to always do our best and exceed expectations.

Congratulations, Dr. Coffey, on this well-deserved honor! We thank you for all that you do for veterans, staff, and colleagues.

Poster Presentation from VA SIG Member!

I am excited to report I will be presenting at this years AAACN Conference. The title of the presentation is "Healthy Discussions: The Licensed Practical Nurse Blood Pressure Clinic".

Download the poster now in advance!

Christine Griffel, MSN, RN-BC, and VA SIG Member
VA Pittsburgh

2015 Administrative Excellence Recipient

Julie Alban, MSN, MPH, RN-BC, (center) recipient of the Administrative Nurse Excellence Award with Cynthia Nowicki Hnatiuk, EdD, RN, CAE, FAAN (right) and Susan Paschke, MSN, RN-BC, NEA-BC (left).

According to her nominators, Julie is a nurse who is the embodiment of superior nursing and skillful management. Her practice of nursing can be summed in one word: impeccable. She is an excellent nurse with astute clinical judgement who manages patients with extreme care, compassion, and professionalism.

Julie is an outstanding mentor who never hesitates to share her knowledge, skills, and experience with others. She is the epitome of a team player. She implemented the Patient Aligned Care Team program, and oversees the care coordination of more than 12,000 patients at her VA outpatient clinic.

CCCTM Certified (updated Mar. 22)

Click to view larger imageCongratulations to Julie Alban, one of the very first CCCTMs!  Julie became Certified in Care Coordination and Transition Management (CCCTM) in fall of 2015.

We look forward to additional VA SIG members obtaining this new certification!

View more information about Certification in Care Coordination and Transition Management.

Click for a larger view of new CCCTM nurses image.

Check back often!