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Once a homeless veteran, this nurse turned his life around to help other veterans

Hathcock was once a homeless veteran but now he's helping other veterans as a nurse.

Registered Nurse David Hathcock, at the Veteran’s Hospital in Little Rock, was recently ranked one of the best nurses in Arkansas.

He and many others on that list are being recognized this week for the work they do for us all.

Hathcock has an interesting perspective, as he once was in the care of nurses he works with today. The service he received, is now what he provides.

“Back in 2003, I came to the VA as a homeless veteran,” said Hathcock. He admits he never imagined himself entering the hospital doors as a RN.

Now he gets to scan his badge with pride every day.

“The VA is here for you and they will help you get your life back, but you have to put the work in. I didn't just show up here thinking they were going to do everything for me,” he said.

Hathcock was once a veteran in the VA’s Drug Treatment Program. He gives the hospital credit for helping him start his life over because they gave him opportunity and a job, now career.

“I was only a bed washer, but I was going to be the best bed washer they had,” Hathcock added.

Inspired by care he received from now fellow nurses, the veteran tutored himself before taking the Nurse Entry Exam at Pulaski Technical College.

After continuing to further his education, he was offered a position in the VA’s Medical Intensive Care Unit. A place he calls home.

“For every bad thing you hear, there's a thousand things you never hear that go on here every day. That's what makes this place such a wonderful place to work. We have people who volunteer and stand in the hallways just to tell people where to go,” said Hathcock.

He hopes his story encourages other veterans and nurses to continue to giving back.

The VA employs veterans after they receive car more often than people think.

“The VA has programs to help people get into nursing and become nurses. The environment here is great, we really look out for our nurses,” said Public Affairs Officer for the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, Chris Durney.

The hospital works to appreciate care their nurses provide every day, not just one day or week in the year.