In this series, we would like you to meet just a few of VA’s Patient Advocates – like Marilynn Jones (above) – and to read about why they love their job and some of the good things they do for Veterans.
I like the work that I do for our Veterans and their families for many reasons.
One reason is that I have a unique perspective as a Veteran employee on how our organization works to deliver the best care and services to Veterans and their families.
I get great satisfaction from helping my senior Veterans, who are another reason why I like my work.
Recently, a Korean/Vietnam veteran and his wife came to my office seeking enrollment assistance. Yes, at 82 coming to the VA for the first time to enroll!
We began the process of reviewing his records. To my surprise, he had the charred remnants of his military service records saved from the 1973 fire at the St. Louis, Mo., National Personnel Records Center. To verify his Vietnam service, I pieced together various documents that were in his 201 files (Military Personnel Records jacket). Going through those records brought back memories of my service as a U.S. Army personnel noncommissioned officer.
I just felt good.
I was able to find the document showing he did, indeed, serve on a joint mission in Vietnam. He and his wife expressed their gratitude throughout the interview. I was honored to make his experience a positive and memorable one. I escorted him and his wife to the enrollment department to make sure that it was a smooth transition and explained their needs to the Enrollment Specialist and left. I just felt good.
I also like this work because of the many professional working relationships I have built with other staff (directors, clinical, administrators, non-clinical, facilities, etc.) to resolve patient concerns when they contact the patient advocate office (visit or telephone).
Often, I call my experienced colleagues throughout Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina to resolve concerns that have crossed state lines and within our network as well.
Parents’ Values for Me and 13 Siblings
For me, it’s not just a job. Each day I have the honor to continue to serve our nation as a Patient Advocate, where Veterans are taking care of Veterans. For me, it is an opportunity to exemplify the I CARE (Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect and Excellent) values when you do the work that I do.
Why? I brought the longstanding values my parents lived and exemplified daily for me and my 13 siblings to this opportunity.
In summary, my days end with knowing that I impacted a Veteran’s life today, a great feeling of accomplishment! The most fundamental reason I enjoy this work as a Patient Advocate is simple: I work in service of the Veterans!
About the author: Marilynn Jones, is a patient advocate for the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center, Augusta, Ga.