A Military Nursing Career: CAPT Andrea Petrovanie-Green

A Military Nursing Career: CAPT Andrea Petrovanie-Green

Military nursing is a career path that offers professional opportunities, a sense of family, and a commitment to meaningful service. Military nurses are especially proud of their profession on Veteran’s Day. Andrea C. Petrovanie-Green, MSN, NC, RN, USN, AMB-BC, CAPT(Ret) and a member of the board of directors of the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN) says nursing is a calling. “It is a gift to help in ‘shaping care where life happens,'” she says. “Personally I am committed to paying it forward and mentoring current and future nurses to realize their full potential.”Andrea Petrovanie-Green for military nursing

CAPT Petrovanie-Green was born in Trinidad and Tobago and raised by her maternal grandmother until she was 13. At that age, she and her brother immigrated to the United States to live with her mother, stepfather, and sister. But Petrovanie-Green never forgot the important lessons from her grandmother. “She was wise beyond her years,” she says. “I learned early on the importance of service and reaching back to help those less fortunate.” Her path to a military nursing career began with those embedded principles.

Petrovanie-Green says she seeks out ways to give back and is currently finishing up a medical mission in Guyana to help promote health and wellness in communities that have limited access to healthcare and resources. After that, you can find her training for the St. Jude half marathon in December and raising money to help end childhood cancer. “This is my 15th year participating and thus far I’ve raised almost $5000,” she says.

How did you find your career path to nursing and to the Navy? How did they merge?
I was fortunate to attend a high school that offered a practical nursing program, and it was there my nursing career journey began. In addition, I volunteered at a local hospital as a candy striper and as soon as I was able to work, my first job was serving gourmet dinners to new parents at St. Vincent’s Medical Center on Staten Island, New York.

During high school I worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant at a local nursing home and home health aide. Upon graduation I successfully passed the Licensed Practical Nursing exam and was promoted to Charge Nurse. While attending Wagner College, I was selected for a Navy nursing scholarship, and following graduation I was commissioned an Ensign in the United States Navy in 1993. I retired in May 2023 after 30 years of honorable and faithful service to our great nation.

You are a long-time member of AAACN. How does that help you as a nurse?
I was encouraged to become a member of AAACN by my mentor Dr. Wanda Richards who is a retired Navy Nurse Corps Captain. At the time, I was working in orthopedic clinic and immediately began preparing for the certification exam. During my first conference, I felt a strong sense of this is exactly where I want to be. The passion, energy, and commitment to ambulatory care nursing was palpable during every session and with each encounter. The focus on health, wellness, and disease management aligned with the military health system.

As a professional nurse, becoming certified demonstrates your commitment to your specialty and more importantly your patient population. AAACN has been an unwavering supporter in helping chart the course for ambulatory care nursing in the military. I am grateful for the many opportunities such as this to serve as a voice for the future of nursing.

What nursing and professional skills are most essential in your role?
As an ambulatory care nurse, developing a partnership with patients and their families is most essential for building trust and improving health and well-being. According to a Gallup poll in 2022 nursing was rated the most trusted profession for 21 years in a row! The art of listening and effective communication is critical in further enriching these relationships to achieve desired outcomes. When patients feel valued and heard they are more willing to be a an active participant in their health care and decision making. As a reminder to myself, I often reflect on Dr. Maya Angelou’s quote “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

What would you like other nurses to know about a career in military nursing?
Military nursing is very unique and offers a plethora of opportunities for advanced training, education, and leadership early in your career. Wearing the cloth of the nation and the opportunity to care for our fellow comrades and their families is a rewarding and life-changing experience. In addition, if traveling and living in different countries appeals to you, then serving in the military may be a good fit. To be fully transparent there are many sacrifices such as being away from family and loved ones as well as physical requirements. Coming from a small family, I especially appreciated the relationships, camaraderie, and lifelong friendships.

Why is it so essential to have a diverse representation of nurses in the military?
In caring for Sailors, Soldiers, Marines and their families, it is essential to have a diverse representation of military nurses. In addition, global engagement with deployments and humanitarian missions strategically position military nurses to provide care to diverse cultures and backgrounds. Training on cultural competence focusing on nursing implications is a prerequisite with annual review and update as needed.

What do you find most exciting or most meaningful about your career and what you have accomplished?
Most exciting about my career was having the opportunity to serve onboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort when we embarked on our first humanitarian mission to Latin America and the Caribbean. My experience working as a member of the medical operations team was outside my comfort zone, and I was excited for the challenge. I learned valuable skills in communication and coordination and the relationships developed with our host nations was truly humbling. The highlight of our mission was returning to my home country of Trinidad and Tobago serving as an ambassador for the United States. Reflecting back on this experience always brings a sense of grace and gratitude.


Job Search: What to Know Before You Begin

Job Search: What to Know Before You Begin

Embarking on a job search is often an exciting, and yet exhausting process. Beginning a new role, especially one that matches your professional and personal goals, reminds you of why you started a career in nursing and can restart your passion for what you do.

But a job search takes a lot of work, so some preparation before you begin will save you time and will help you find a good match for your skills and your own needs (a higher salary, a shorter commute, a new location).

Minority Nurse recently caught up with Anne Jessie, DNP, RN, and president-elect of the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN), for some tips for nurses who are thinking of making the big move and starting a job search.

Q: Should nurses do any kind of self-evaluation or career evaluation before they begin a job search?

A: Yes. Self-reflection is always helpful. It is important to spend time thinking about why you think a job change may be needed or desired. Are you stuck in a place without opportunity? Is the company you currently work for unstable? Is there an unanticipated career opportunity that is too good to pass up? Once you determine your motivation for doing a job search, ranking the following areas in order of importance can be helpful in narrowing your search.

  • Company culture
  • New level of responsibility
  • Opportunity for growth within the new company or new job role
  • Pay and benefits
  • Company stability


Q: What is the best way to get organized and think about a job search?

A:  Ask yourself what you have enjoyed doing most throughout your career, what you’d prefer never to do again, and what areas of career growth opportunities you may have identified. This self-exploration should help you to picture your ideal role more clearly.

  • Browse job postings for the different types of roles that align with your identified career goals. Are the responsibilities described in the postings appealing and do you meet most of the qualifications?
  • Edit your resume so that prospective employers will understand what type of position you are seeking and how your experience aligns. You may need to edit the content depending on the job you are seeking. Highlight accomplishments and experiences that are most transferrable, listing the most recent and pertinent to the posting at the top of your resume.
  • Create a one-page cover letter template that identifies the position you are applying for and clearly demonstrates that you have done research on the company–for example, mention a recent company accomplishment or news story. This template can easily be customized to each job role you apply for. Address the letter to the hiring manager, recruiter, or human resource representative at the company.
  • Identify 3-5 people to be your references and ask them if they would be willing to speak to your skills. Consider present colleagues, professors, or supervisors.
  • After participating in a job interview, write an amazing thank you note within 24 hours of the interview.


Q: What are the best tools to use in a job search and what makes each one distinctive — for instance LinkedIn, networking, job boards, alma maters.

A:  First, consider all your resources: General nurse recruiting websites or agencies, and nursing specialty job boards like AAACN’s Career Center, or those offered by the Organization for Nurse Leaders. Networking is, of course, one of the best ways to find a new position. I’ve heard our AAACN nurses say they found a new job after they joined one of our Special Interest Groups (SIGs), and I see job discussions frequently in our online community. Such new connections can help a nurse discover an area of practice they didn’t know about or had never even considered.

Second, create or optimize your LinkedIn profile. It should be an extension of your resume and cover letter, and should include a professional profile photo and engaging summary that highlights your skills, career achievements, and accomplishments. Also, include volunteer experience as appropriate, as well as education and professional certifications. Maintain your presence by regularly posting and commenting so you appear active and engaged.

Social media can also be a positive platform if used to contribute to conversations regarding timely health care topics. Ensure that you refrain from engaging in conversations that could be considered controversial. Also, make sure your profiles on Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms are set to private.


Q:  Should recently graduated nurses conduct a job search in a different way from a more experienced nurse? Are there better approaches for nurses in different stages of a career?

A:  While knowledge, skills, and attitudes are important, a positive attitude and ability to communicate flexibility in the acceptance of job assignments is key for the new grad. Content and processes can always be taught, but a positive attitude in an employee can sometimes be hard to find. Take full advantage of job fairs that are organized by your nursing school as well as healthcare systems recruitment events. Employers who offer nurse residency programs as part of orientation and onboarding are committed to hiring new graduates and investing in them as long-term employees.


Q:  Is there anything about this time when so many processes are remote, that can impact a job search positively or negatively?

A:   The biggest impact is the uncertainty of the impact from COVID-19 on the job market. Many organizations have suspended hiring and have temporarily furloughed nurses. That said, facilities that offer remote work such as nurse call centers have been vital to providing virtual clinical support to vulnerable populations and have expanded during this unprecedented time in health care.

We’ve seen this trend reflected in a jump in demand for AAACN’s telehealth resources and the networking among our AAACN members who practice telehealth. I think telehealth is going to continue to grow significantly in coming years because its value will remain even when COVID-19 has been tamed.


Q:  How can a nurse prepare to use this time as an advantage?

A:  Self-educate and develop skills that support patient engagement, mutual goal setting, and motivational interviewing that promote patient self-care management. AAACN’s Care Coordination and Transition Management (CCTM) resources can assist in developing these skills and competencies. These skills are especially critical when working with patients virtually but can translate to any work environment to ensure improved disease management and quality outcomes.




Why Leadership Matters for Nurses

Why Leadership Matters for Nurses

Nurse leaders are essential to bringing the nursing industry forward, especially during the tumultuous times like the present. With a global pandemic disrupting life as we know it, nurse leaders are needed to advocate for the safety and health of nurses and those they care for.

Assanatu (Sana) Savage, PhD, DNP, FNP-BC, RN-BC, and director of the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN) recently shared her thoughts on how leadership roles are important for nurses in any position and to the nursing industry as a whole.

  1. How can nurses increase leadership experiences on the job and in the community?

Nursing leadership is multidimensional across healthcare organizations. Nurse leaders range from the bedside (clinical level) to the boardroom (administrators, chief executive officers, etc.). Many settings have mid-level managers. There are also leaders in research, academia, and technology. Regardless of this complexity, a key factor that fosters nurses’ leadership experiences on the job or in the community is being involved in their professional organization. This kind of engagement helps attune nurses to their professional landscape and broadens their skills and knowledge, which in turn can be used on the job and in their communities. Personally, my involvement in the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN) was a game changer in my leadership development. Not only have I been able to meet and forge relationships with my AAACN colleagues, but the education and resources AAACN offers really helps build and connect nursing leaders. Our Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are designed specifically for that purpose.

In addition, the knowledge I’ve gotten from my role as an AAACN leader has helped me move to the frontlines in building and sustaining ambulatory care practices in my career. I’ve brought new ideas, evidence-based best practices, and other benefits to my workplace and my community, helping  me increase my leadership experiences and strengthen my leadership skills in additional areas. This is why I encourage other nurses to get involved in professional nursing organizations. It helps them develop interprofessional collaboration in their workplaces to improve patient outcomes and participate in the improvement and design of health systems and practice environments to achieve a common/collective goal/purpose. In our communities, leadership experience for nurses involves engaging at the local, state, and national levels to improve the culture of health. This can take the form of serving as a nurse educator, working with community groups on promoting health and preventing disease, getting involved in campaigns, and informing the community about the level and quality of services of their facility.

  1. Why should nurses continue to seek these experiences throughout their careers?

Nursing leadership is characterized by a wide range of responsibilities across the profession. It’s important to continue to seek leadership experiences to ensure proper responsibilities and accountability for different operations such as human resources and patient outcomes. I believe it’s also crucial for nurse leaders to understand the economic influences that affect health care delivery. You’re seeing that financial focus right now as the world struggles to meet the economic challenges of a global pandemic.

Leadership roles are changing rapidly in a fast-paced healthcare environment, and nurses need to evolve in that direction. The knowledge and skills for leading healthcare services and personnel are ever-changing, and nurses must continue to seek growth in leadership to enhance their problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making abilities. The nurse leader who is passionate about learning and evolving is able to empower other nurses, and subsequently improve many aspects of the healthcare system.

  1. How does leadership make a nurse better?

Leadership keeps a nurse up-to-date on today’s healthcare environment. For instance, in the clinical arena, the nurse leader who is well-informed in evidence-based studies and public health issues is able to make the right choices for optimal patient care. In other instances, leadership sharpens a nurse leader in the areas of policies and healthcare strategies that affect patient care.

​The ability to lead and be the voice for other nurses, the bridge between policy and practice, leading change or becoming a change agent, are also factors that contribute to the betterment of a nurse. Leadership can afford the nurse with practical skills and knowledge to understand the business of healthcare as a whole. Understanding the impact of nurses in healthcare/patient outcomes through Nurse-Sensitive Indicators (NSIs) is one such example. AAACN partnered with the Collaborative Alliance for Nursing Outcomes (CALNOC) and through this leadership, a number of indicators are now available to nurses in ambulatory care and telehealth settings for benchmarking.

  1. Why is it important to the nursing industry to have more nurses in leadership roles?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS; 2018) nursing is the country’s largest healthcare profession, with approximately 3.9 licensed RNs. Yet there continues to be a lack of nursing representation on hospital and health system boards and governance of community health efforts. In our 21st century healthcare industry, increasing the number of nurses in leadership roles will allow nursing to have a greater impact on policies, strategies, and tactical healthcare decision making for communities and health systems across the nation.

Nurse leaders who, for instance, understand value-based purchasing/care can help eliminate waste and inefficiencies and transform their organizations to high-reliability health systems. This also speaks to the Future of Nursing 2020-2030 Campaign. Unlike when I was in nursing school, today’s nursing curricula have a leadership component, and professional organizations are also offering leadership training and/or toolkits. AAACN has a Leadership Special Interest Group (SIG), a diverse group of both experienced and novice nurse leaders. They work together within the SIG to foster continued leadership support, growth, and development for themselves and other nurses.

  1. What are some challenges facing nursing leaders today?

​I believe one of the challenges that continue to face nursing leaders is staff retention and recruitment. COVID-19 has made this challenge even greater as nurse leaders not only are working on staffing patterns to meet the demand for COVID-19 care, but also working on retaining staff and mitigating burnout and compassion fatigue.

It must be noted that the BLS projected a yearly need of 203,700 registered nurses through 2026 to replace retiring RNs and fill newly created positions. This shows the nursing shortage is real and serious. And, of course, the shortage has been brought to the forefront by the current pandemic. Healthcare organizations such as the VA and many others are calling urgently for the return of retired nurses or fast-tracking students to their workforce to augment COVID-19 staffing.

I must say in times like this, staying connected with other nurse leaders is crucial to gain insight on staff leveraging and related issues. Our AAACN Connected Community (online networking platform) has been extremely active during the pandemic, with nurses of every level connecting and sharing their experiences and best practices in ambulatory care and telehealth. And, like so many other healthcare organizations, AAACN is offering education for free. We just did a free webinar on “Telephone Triage and COVID-19,” and we will continue serving nurse leaders and the community this way.

Although the pandemic is top-of-mind right now, I have to say that violence against nurses is another serious concern facing nursing leaders. There has been an increased trend of violence against health professionals, with nursing taking the brunt.

The more nurses there are in leadership roles on hospitals and health system boards, the stronger advocacy efforts will be for policymakers to assess this phenomenon thoroughly and enact measures to protect nurses and all healthcare providers.

With 2020 being the “International Year of the Nurse and Midwife,” is it indeed the right time to highlight this challenge and advocate for eradication.