May 10, 2010
DURHAM, NC -- Veronica Oliver is one of 13 children. Four of them are nurses. Three of them are Veterans with one brother still on active duty.
As a little girl in that huge family, Veronica would be intrigued by the discipline of her older sister, Melva, and those fascinating nursing books. Melva would study those books while at home even on a school break. What was it with this nursing thing?
Today, because Veronica Oliver has applied that same discipline to an outstanding career at the VA, she is one of the nurses being recognized this year during National Nursing Week.
She was instrumental in developing the "Welcome Call" process at the Durham, NC, VA Medical Center, which was developed in response to Durham's "No Wrong Door" policy.
As part of this policy, the OEF/OIF Care Management team contacts every OEF/OIF Servicemember and Veteran who enters the facility to screen for the need for case management, initiate consultations to specific care paths, and then links the Veteran to correct services.
Veronica was also instrumental in standardizing the case management process at her facility to ensure that nurse case managers and social worker case managers are both following a similar process despite the different skills they bring to the position.
Retired Army Reserves Nurse
Prior to her current position as the Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) Nurse Case Manager at the Durham, NC, VA Medical Center, her background included ambulatory care and inpatient medical surgical nursing.
Veronica Oliver has been a Registered Nurse for 12 years after 10 years of practicing as a Licensed Practical Nurse. She received an Associate Degree in Arts from University of South Carolina and Bachelor of Science in Nursing from South Carolina State University.
She is also a retired Army Reserves Nurse with her last duty station at Womack Army Medical Center in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Veronica has been at the VA for 18 years, having spent five years at the VA Medical Center in Columbia, SC, prior to moving to Durham.
She rates her current job as her favorite. "My best job at the VA has been as OEF/OIF Nurse Case Manager in Social Work Service. I work with an excellent group of people. My supervisor, Toni McCray, and team leader Susan Watkins, have been extremely supportive."
She has two equally important plans for the future. "My professional goals are to complete my Masters of Science in nursing degree and to obtain my certification in case management. My personal goals are simply to spend more time with family and friends."
Volunteered to Help in Post-Katrina New Orleans
Her nursing instincts kicked in after the hurricane in New Orleans and is still one of her most valuable memories.
"My time as a VA volunteer in New Orleans is by far the most memorable of my career. There were about 39 people, departing and arriving, in one small three-bedroom house.
"There were people from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, Mississippi and probably other VA facilities. We were a very diverse group of people, multi racial, socioeconomic status, but we all got along together. I am not sure if it was because of the devastation of the city, but it was the best experience one could ever ask for.
"The Veterans we served were also absolutely amazing and so appreciative of our support. The New Orleans' VA staff was outstanding to work alongside.
"I hope Veterans and their families will discover that the VA provides the best care. The VA Medical Centers are truly becoming a Veteran-focused organization and truly has dedicated and committed employees who strive to meet the healthcare needs of the Veterans and their families."
Speaking of families:
Her brother, Mike works at the VA in Denver and is an Iraqi war Veteran.
Her brother, Donald has had multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Her sister Pam is a nurse at the Durham VAMC at Greenville Community Outpatient Clinic.
Her sister Teresa works at Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, NC, and her sister, Melva, is employed at WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh, NC.
"I think nursing is destiny for me and my family. Caring for our Veterans, and our military background, is apparently in my families' blood."
For more information about the Durham VA, please contact Public Affairs at (919) 286-6986.