That's a lot of money in student loans that you will owe. I'm just looking at this from a practical standpoint, economically speaking. Since it doesn't sound like you plan to leave the VA any time soon, you will be in student loan debt as well as not earning as much as you would in the private sector, plus you would have more professional responsibilities on top of all that. If however you got your NP and left the VA and earned a much higher pay then I could see the investment in furthering your education paying off. (With the tradeoff of course being you wouldn't maximize your retirement with the fed gov't).
I guess I'm hearing so many stories of people out of college/university with huge student loan debt and unable to find a job in their field to repay the loans. I know your situation is different as you're already an established professional but you'd still have to pay off that loan.
I also listen to Dave Ramsay, the financial guru on talk radio a lot too!