VA-STEP Service Obligation
VA-STEP does not have a service obligation. Instead, there is a service expectation which is described below.
Every facility is required to have a transition plan to move students from trainee status to employee status. This can come in several options depending on the facilities position management. The standard flow should closely resemble these steps:
(1) Nursing: VA-STEP Trainee to Student Nurse Technician SNT or Graduate Nurse Technician (GNT) after the student graduates. These are all pre-licensure placements. From these positions, the students should then transition to a residency program at the facility. This can either be a Registered Nurse Transition to Practice (RNTTP) program or a Post-Baccalaureate Registered Nurses Residency (PBRNR) program prior to final placement in a fulltime employee position.
(2) Medical Laboratory Scientist: Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS) coordinators should use available onboarding exceptions in VA Handbook 5005/72, 2.d.(3) to bring on the MLS student immediately after graduation even if they don’t have their certification. Non-certified applicants who otherwise meet the eligibility requirements for certification may be given a temporary appointment up to the full performance level not to exceed one year as a graduate Medical Laboratory Scientist under the authority of 38 U.S.C. § 7405(c)(2)(B). This appointment may not be extended.
(3) VA Health Professional Scholarship Program (HPSP) students may work in a non-VA-STEP SNT position prior to starting a VA-STEP SNT position. This transition should occur after the completion of the student’s junior year of education.
Transition planning is a key component to successfully planning employment of VA-STEP students. This planning needs to take place 8-months prior to the student completing graduation because of delays in HR position management.
The 311 Hire Job Aid was created to assist the coordinator with MSS position requests and position management. You can access the current version of this Job Aid by visiting this link.
Former VA-STEP students may be hired at a salary rate above the minimum, based on superior qualifications such as documented outstanding performance in the VA-STEP program and/or number of hours completed as a VA-STEP participant.