Today, May 6, 2024, marks the beginning of National Nurses Week, a week-long recognition of nurses throughout the United States and the compassion and care they provide in multiple health care settings.  The week concludes on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who is widely considered the pioneer of modern nursing.

The Valley Health System, which includes multiple Las Vegas hospitals, freestanding emergency departments and outpatient services, has almost 4400 registered nurses among its ranks.

Often referred to as the backbone of the hospital, RNs can be found in dozens of settings, ranging from the Emergency departments to Education, Intensive Care Units to Infection Prevention, Maternity Services to Medical/Surgical care unit, Cardiology to Case Management, Surgical Services to Information Technology and many other areas of expertise.

Nursing in a hospital setting offers many different career pathways. Nurses may choose to specialize in a particular field, including neonatal care, pediatrics, oncology, neurology, cardiology, labor and delivery, perioperative services and more. Some may choose to branch off into the fields of quality, risk management, employee health, education and information services.

“I’ve been fortunate to work with nurses during my entire professional career,” said Karla Perez, Regional Vice President, Acute Care Division of UHS, Inc, who oversees The Valley Health System Las Vegas, Desert View Hospital in Pahrump, and Northern Nevada Health System in Reno/Sparks. “For more than 40 years, I’ve worked with nurses at the bedside and with the incredible leadership in our C-suites and nursing departments, on the patient floors and in the procedural rooms.”

“They are an amazing group of professional, intelligent, compassionate and caring group of individuals who are dedicated to their patients, their healing, their health and well-being and improving our health care systems,” said Perez.

Within The Valley Health System, there are multiple opportunities in place to join, learn and expand one’s nursing skill set.

Nurse Apprentice Program
The Nurse Apprentice Program (NAP) is designed for those who have been accepted into an accredited nursing program and have completed at least one semester of basic nursing courses. The NAP program supplements a student’s coursework the opportunity for a paid position on a nursing unit and additional on-the-job training. Currently, the NAP program is available at various VHS hospitals and opportunities are posted on the Careers page of the websites.
Fun Fact:  Henderson Hospital employs 44 NAPs!

VHS RN Residency Program
New nursing graduates, often referred to as “New Grads,” are enrolled in the RN Residency program upon hire. This one-year program is designed to promote critical thinking and job satisfaction. It begins with an average of three months of Preceptorship and Specialty Internship coursework, continues with six months of Residency classes (one class per month), and ends with a final Evidence-Based Research Workshop.
Fun fact: The VHS RN Residency extends throughout the first year of nursing practice so the candidate can continually grow and apply learned paradigms during unit experiences.

Career Growth
Within The Valley Health System are multiple opportunities for growth and development. A partial listing includes:

Gap Program – a fast-track program that consists of one month of classes and preceptorship on a medical/surgical nursing unit, to bridge that training gap in order to promote success in the nurse’s new acute care setting. This program is for nurses who may have switched from a non-acute setting (i.e. home health or long-term care) to an acute setting (hospital).

Clinical Ladders – a structured program for nurses to advance in their career while remaining in their current clinical setting, providing direct patient care.

LEARN Preceptor Program – a program for nurses who are interested in helping new nurses gain skills, confidence and knowledge.

Specialty internship programs for nurses who want to specialize in Intermediate Medical Care, Intensive Care, Emergency Medicine, Medical/Surgical, Periop 101, Labor & Delivery, Neonatal Intensive Care and Pediatrics.

Fun Fact: At Valley Hospital, during the past five years, over one-third of the nurses have moved into specialty or supervisory areas, thanks to the robust education and support offered. A number of Valley Hospital nurses also participate in the LEARN program of continued growth and development which enhances the quality and safety of care for the patients they serve.

Additional classes for RNs
Following the completion of specialty programs, training internships are available for new IMC and ICU nurses. For all ICU and IMC nurses, a wide range of advanced classes are available, including:
– caring for open heart surgery patients
– caring for heart and cardiac cath lab patients after they leave the ICU
– targeted temperature management for the post-cardiac-arrest patient
– caring for patients undergoing continuous renal replacement therapy
– caring for patients on an Impella device for the heart
– caring for patients with an intra-aortic balloon pump
– caring for patients with a neurological emergency, including stroke and neuro surgery
– caring for patients with an epidural for pain management
– deep dive to understand the 12-lead ECG

Recognition and Thanks
In addition to National Nurses Week, our nursing stars are also recognized via the DAISY award program, which is a national recognition program, and a variety of hospital-based and community nursing awards.

Has a nurse changed your life for the better? A thank you note, or a DAISY nomination is always appreciated!

To learn more about nursing careers, visit: