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NOVA History

NOVA – The Beginning…

During the fall of 1980, the nationwide shortage of registered nurses reached crisis proportions. Nurses were leaving the profession in droves, enrollment in nursing schools was decreasing, and discontent was widespread.  Discontent ranged from disillusionment with nursing as a profession to adversarial relationships with physicians and resulted in pronounced staffing shortages.

This unfortunate situation was no more pronounced than in the VA system.  When PL 96-330 was passed by Congress without direct input from VA nurses, a small group of dedicated nurses at the Hines VA Hospital in Illinois decided that it was time for action.  This decision marked the birth of the Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs.
Earlier, in the spring of 1980, a proposal was drafted encompassing the concept of a nationwide professional nursing organization with an educational and legislative emphasis.  Since it was founded, NOVA has grown to include VA nurses from all over the United States. These nurses have pursued their goals resolutely and have been able to influence significantly our nation’s legislators on issues of veterans’ health care.

2015 NOVA History Highlights

To access the complete NOVA history, please click here.

To view the power point presentation on NOVA history highlights 1980-2015, please click here.

January 2015 - as the result of the electronic vote in November-December 2014, the majority of NOVA members approved the proposed Bylaws amendments and below is a summary (excluding those of an editorial nature or the renumbering of sections): 

Approved the establishment of the LPN/LVN membership category. 
Approved the removal of the Honorary Membership Category. 
Approved four membership categories: Associate Member, Registered Nurse, Emeritus Member and LPN/ LVN member. 
Approved that Officers and Directors will begin their term at the beginning of the Organization’s fiscal year. 
Approved that the President and Vice President shall serve on the Board of Directors for at least 2 years prior to taking office. 
Approved that, should a vacancy occur in the office of President, the President Elect or Vice President shall fill the vacancy for the unexpired term. If the President Elect is unable to fill the office of President, the Vice President shall fill the vacancy for the unexpired term and shall subsequently serve in the position and for the term to which he/she was elected. 
Approved that the Secretary/Treasurer shall be responsible for certifying the official minutes of the meetings of the Board of Directors. The Secretary/Treasurer shall ensure the maintenance of all the financial affairs of the Organization. The Secretary/Treasurer shall be the Chairperson of the Finance Committee. 
Approved that the Membership Secretary shall serve as the Chairperson of the Membership Development Committee. 
Approved that the Nominating Committee shall present to the voting members a ballot of the candidates for office at least ninety (90) days prior to the beginning of the Organization’s fiscal year. Faxing is allowed as a mode for official votes. Tie votes shall be decided by a special run-off election. 
Approved the removal of the need for five chapters to request a special meeting of the Board. 
Approved that the NOVA Board of Directors does not approve/disapprove local bylaws and that chapter bylaws and board list need only be on file with the NOVA National Office. 
February 13 - NOVA held its 21st Annual Legislative Round Table on Friday, February 13, 2015, at the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) headquarters in Washington, D.C.  
February 25 - NOVA announced the opening of the 2015 NOVA Scholarships Application period. NOVA has established a new $1,500 Emeritus Scholarship in memory of Mary Raymer.
February 26 - NOVA launched the first 2015 webinar, “Special Advancement for Achievement (SAA) and Special Advancement for Performance (SAP),” presented by Connie Perry-Simon, MSN, RN, BC, NOVA Nurse Emeritus.
March 18 - NOVA Board of Directors held its first meeting with Georgette Ligons, Managing Director, Braylen James Business Solutions, a consulting company which assisted the NOVA Board in developing strategic and marketing plans.
March 2015 - NOVA created a number of partnerships with various nursing organizations to provide NOVA members with discounts on certifications and re-certifications.
March 26 - NOVA held its second webinar, “Providing Meaningful Input for Your Proficiency for Nurse I Level 3 and Nurse II," presented by Connie Perry-Simon, MSN, RN, BC, NOVA Nurse Emeritus.
March 26 - NOVA became accredited as a provider of continuing nursing units by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.
April 8 - NOVA released the 2014-2015 Annual Membership Report and Membership Directory.
April 22 - The Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs partnered with Excelsior College, a regionally accredited online college, to provide NOVA members and their family members with reduced tuition fees.
April 23 - NOVA launched webinar #3, "Federal Retirement Planning/Civil Service Retirement Planning (CSRS)," presented by Deborah L. Hatch, PHR, MSOL, Federal HR Consultant & Benefits Specialist, Pinnacle Personnel Services.
May 1 - NOVA announced results of the “Member-Get-A-Member” Campaign. The campaign resulted in over 100 new members.
May 15 - NOVA Past President Joan Clifford presented testimony before the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health regarding recruitment and retention in VA.
May 21 - NOVA presented webinar #4, "Reviewing Your Input for Nurse I Level 3 and Nurse II Proficiency," by Nancy Claflin, DNP, MS, RN, CENP, NEA-BC, CPHQ, FNAHQ, NOVA Past President and Nurse Emeritus.
June 10-12 - NOVA held its 35th Anniversary Annual Meeting at the Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel, Washington, D.C., featuring VA Secretary Bob McDonald as the keynote speaker.
June 10 - NOVA Board Meeting and Strategic Planning.
June 30 - NOVA entered into a certification affiliation with the Commission on Nursing Certification, Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission, and Vascular Access Certification Corporation.
July 30 - NOVA presented webinar #5, "Providing Meaningful Input for Nurse III Proficiency," by Connie Perry-Simon, MSN, RN, BC, NOVA Nurse Emeritus.
August, 2015 - President Larry Lemos, President-Elect Sharon Johnson, and Secretary-Treasurer Thelma Roach-Serry attended the Nursing Organizations Leadership Academy.
August 20 - NOVA presented webinar #6, "Retirement Planning for Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) Employees,” by Debra Hatch, CEO, Federal Benefits Services LLC.
September 10 - NOVA presented webinar #7, “Evaluating your input for Nurse III,” presented by Nancy Claflin, DNP, MS, RN, CENP, NEA-BC, CPHQ, FNAHQ, NOVA Past President and Nurse Emeritus.
October 10 - NOVA released the 2015 Electronic Election Ballot.
October 15-17 - Thelma Roach-Serry, Secretary-Treasurer, and Ruth Holmes, Board Member, attended the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) 2015 Transforming Health, Driving Policy Conference held in Washington, D.C. 
October 31 - NOVA entered into certification partnerships with the National Board of Nutrition Support Certification, Wound, Ostomy, Continence Nursing Certification Board, and Wound Care Education Institute.
December 3-5 - NOVA Board Meeting and Strategic Planning Session, Washington, D.C.