Save the Date: Chat with VA on Wednesday, July 23rd

Our health care professionals who work in rural locations enjoy benefits including top-flight facilities; flexible and generous time off; liability coverage; and incredible health, life, and retirement packages.

Plus they get a different flavor of benefits not as common in urban locations. Benefits such as:

  • A slower pace of life and less stress
  • A greater feeling of safety and security in the community
  • Less traffic and pollution
  • Lower housing costs
  • Getting closer to the great outdoors with outdoor recreational opportunities
  • And, commonly, an elevated status  in the community

VA is dedicated to caring for all of our Nation’s Veterans. That includes the millions who make their homes in rural areas following their service. In fact, the rural Veteran population accounts for 40 percent of all VA patients. And since nearly half of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans are from rural communities, this percentage is not likely to shrink.

Are you interested in learning more about a health care career in a rural location? Join us for a Twitter Chat this Wednesday, July 23rd, from 2:00-2:30 ET. This will be a great opportunity for you to learn more about career opportunities, while sharing your own experiences and learning from others—all in 140 characters or less!

twitterchat_7-23

What is a Twitter Chat?

A Twitter chat is a public Twitter conversation around one unique hashtag (ours is #WorkAtVA). The goal of a Twitter chat is to connect people with similar interests. By participating, you can gain real-time knowledge about careers at VA and also grow your professional network by meeting and following new people.

How does it work?

Imagine being in a classroom with a panel of experts at the front of the room, prepared to answer your questions. They’ve had time to talk, but now it’s time for the Q&A. Everyone in the room can raise their hand at once, or whenever something comes to mind. Questions get answered quickly and in the order they were received. Everyone leaves with a better understanding of the topic, and everyone has learned from the questions and answers of other participants. The bonus: You get a transcript of the Q&A session to take home, just in case you need to reference it later.

Now, move that experience online and you have a Twitter chat.

How do I participate?

If you don’t already, start following @VACareers on Twitter. On the day and time of the event, a host and group of VA National Recruiters will begin by tweeting and will be on standby to answer questions and address Tweets that use the correct hashtag. By using #WorkAtVA, you can follow the discussion and participate in it. You can also go back after the scheduled chat and reference tweets that are connected to #WorkAtVA.

Be sure to mark your calendars for Wednesday, July 23rd from 2:00-2:30 ET. We look forward to “tweeting” you then!

To learn about other ways to connect with VA Careers, click here.

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VA Careers’ Report Card

In our modern working world, employees are familiar with some standardized version of performance reviews. Done well, reviews are an incredible organizational tool that can ultimately improve all areas of business—and also help employees to feel more satisfied and recognized at work.

Using a popular online destination for career information, we sought out our grades from employees, and even looked at how VA stacks up against the competition.

Keeping in mind that the below data are neither the product of a formal survey nor inclusive of all employees, we did think the results were interesting. Take a look:

VA_reportcard

We have some areas to work on, but we’re also proud of our strengths. Our employees appreciate the benefits, compensation, and work/life balance at VA, and a majority would recommend us to a friend. We need to spend time improving the Culture and Values and the impression of leadership—the biggest reassurance being that this general opinion comes as no surprise, and VA has already taken steps (not influenced in any way by this blog post) to make those changes.

It’s always good to take a step back and gather honest feedback about what we’re doing well and where we need to be to keep getting better. The practice requires an open mind and humility, but it’s a sure route to growth and improvement.

If you’re interested in a career at VA—do your research! Then visit VAcareers.va.gov to learn more and apply!

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Lauren’s Story, Part 8: What’s in a name?

Written by: Lauren – Guest Blogger sharing her perspective as a VA employee and patient during her second pregnancy.

All is going well with the baby and me. We are about to embark on a nice summer vacation, where not only will I get to spend time with my family, but we are also making many stops in our road trip to see some of our Navy friends in Jacksonville, Florida. I am very excited.

In other good news, we also picked out a name: Hunter Wayne. Hunter just kind of came to us while we were looking at lists and it just seemed to fit. Wayne is a meaningful name, as it belonged to my husband’s grandfather. He was a United States Marine who served in the Korean War, and even made it to the cover of the Navy’s All Hands magazine in November of 1955.

lauren8

When my husband and I got married, Wayne accepted me into the family without question and was truly the family patriarch. He also did so much for the Korean War Veterans in his community, including helping to establish a Korean War Veterans memorial in Washington County, Maryland.

Wayne passed away last August, and we miss him every day. We always remember the man he was and how much family meant to him.

People use the phrase, “What’s in a name?” but for my family and me, there is a lot in the name Wayne—including love, pride and strength.

 

About Lauren

lauren_w Lauren is a Navy Veteran and current Public Affairs Specialist at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center in West Virginia. Throughout her second pregnancy, she will be sharing her thoughts and experiences as a patient at VA. We are all excited to follow her on this healthcare journey!

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Connect with VA: Save the Date for July 10th

In an effort to better serve our job seekers Nationwide, we are hosting short, informative Twitter Chats that highlight certain regions in the country. This week, we are focusing on positions at the VA Sunshine Healthcare Network in Florida and surrounding locations.

A great benefit of a career at VA is that you can practice virtually anywhere in the country, with only 1 active state license. So if you don’t currently live in Florida, but think the Sunshine State might be right for you, we encourage you to participate in the conversation!

Join us for a Twitter Chat this Thursday, July 10th, from 1:00-1:30 ET. This will be a great opportunity for you to learn more about career opportunities, while sharing your own experiences and learning from others—all in 140 characters or less!

TwitterChat_7-8

What is a Twitter Chat?

A Twitter chat is a public Twitter conversation around one unique hashtag (ours is #WorkAtVA). The goal of a Twitter chat is to connect people with similar interests. By participating, you can gain real-time knowledge about careers at VA and also grow your professional network by meeting and following new people.

How does it work?

Imagine being in a classroom with a panel of experts at the front of the room, prepared to answer your questions. They’ve had time to talk, but now it’s time for the Q&A. Everyone in the room can raise their hand at once, or whenever something comes to mind. Questions get answered quickly and in the order they were received. Everyone leaves with a better understanding of the topic, and everyone has learned from the questions and answers of other participants. The bonus: You get a transcript of the Q&A session to take home, just in case you need to reference it later.

Now, move that experience online and you have a Twitter chat.

How do I participate?

If you don’t already, start following @VACareers on Twitter. On the day and time of the event, a host and group of VA National Recruiters will begin by tweeting and will be on standby to answer questions and address Tweets that use the correct hashtag. By using #WorkAtVA, you can follow the discussion and participate in it. You can also go back after the scheduled chat and reference tweets that are connected to #WorkAtVA.

Be sure to mark your calendars for Thursday, July 10th from 1:00-1:30 ET. We look forward to “tweeting” you then!

To learn about other ways to connect with VA Careers, click here.

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VA Careers wishes you a Happy Independence Day!

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Sound familiar? We remember reciting these lines and more from the Declaration of Independence in the same elementary schools where we stood to salute the American Flag every morning. Back then, we learned the words alongside the history of our founding fathers—but it’s often not until later in life that we begin to recognize the significance of such an act.

american_flag

By declaring independence from Great Britain, America set a global standard for liberty—one that remains relevant and continues to challenge the U.S. and other nations to be better stewards of power. It incited the Revolutionary War and paved the way for our Constitution. On this 4th of July, we pay tribute to the landmark declaration that changed the path of our country’s history—a patriotic legacy that now extends to our Veterans and the freedom for which our service members fight.

We are grateful for this “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.” VA Careers wishes you a very safe and happy 4th of July!

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A Veteran’s Approach to a Job Search

This post first appeared on the VA Careers blog in April 2013. We are reposting today because it remains relevant and we hope you may find the information useful in your job search.

The military teaches us many things that we may never use again outside of the military. Most employers feel that Veterans are great employees who bring valuable skills to a company. I have noticed employers have formed opinions of Veterans as employees through enculturation. I know, big word; it’s the forming of opinions based upon one’s culture learned through experiences, observations and instruction. As such, some love and see value in Veterans, some may not.

Camo Suit Image

Military….Veteran!

Like many Veterans today, I am taking advantage of my GI Bill benefits and one of my assignments is to choose a topic and write a persuasive essay. There were many topics to choose from, but my background led me to “Mandatory Military Service”. I am instructed to pick a side and write about it. I will not get into my view on the topic, but I assure you that I am enjoying expressing it. Some will be for and some will be against, but it really makes one think about Veterans. What is a Veteran? Can anyone be a Veteran? I spent some time in recruiting and know first-hand that not everyone can be in the military, and that is the first step towards earning the title of Veteran.

We have many titles in America that may cause a pre-conceived impression. Doctor, Professor, Olympian, Tri-athlete, Lawyer, Used Car Salesman, Recruiter….what is the first thing you think of when you hear Veteran?

One difficult thing for Veterans is to convert valuable military skills into those valued in the private sector as well. Most of us have stood in front of a promotion board or Soldier of the month board at least once. Our leaders groomed and walked us through the steps to being recognized as among the best. We were taught the importance of knowing current events, specific information about our job skills, Military history, how to enter the room, to sit, to exit, to address the Board, even how to hold our hands. We were prepared for close scrutiny of our knowledge, our appearance – both personal and attire, posture and hygiene. Top candidates knew exactly how much education to have and how to demonstrate self improvement through training and development opportunities. The same people could win time and again. Why? Because they knew the work that it took to win, and were willing to do it.

Winning a job interview is no different in the private sector. Job seekers who have completed or are working towards their educational goals stand out. It is our job to demonstrate that our experiences equate to the skills desired by the employer. If we cannot convert our skills, how will a prospective employer do so? Those making the cut pay attention to detail, have prepared thoroughly and polished their shoes. They are filled with the confidence that comes only from practice and repetition.

I encourage everyone to take the same winning steps and attitude that made us successful as warriors and apply them into our daily lives and our job searches. I am Army, so I will reference that creed.

I am an American Soldier. I am a Warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values. I will always place the mission first. I will never accept defeat. I will never quit. I will never leave a fallen comrade. I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills. I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself. I am an expert and I am a professional. I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat. I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life. I am an American Soldier.

The same values and standards we lived by in the military are the same we bring with us into any career.

I am a Veteran. I am an example and a member of a team. I continue to serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values. I will place my employer’s mission first. I will never accept defeat. I will never quit. I will never leave a struggling team member or task incomplete. I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my career tasks and skills. I always seek self-improvement, and maintain my equipment and myself. I am an expert and I am a professional. I stand ready to support, engage, and lead the employees of my employer in all times. I am a supporter of freedom and the American way of life. I am an American Veteran.

If we take those ideas, prepare and live up to them, we can achieve great things, for us, our career and our families. Veterans continue to serve our country.

If you are in an active job search, try these steps. If you are working and desire to improve your position, these steps may work for you as well. They are not mandatory, special or secret, just an opportunity to take a warrior approach to an ongoing job search.

I Am a Veteran!

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Breaking Down the Job Request: A Lesson

“I really need a job please just help me.”

This is the exact message I received in a recent email. When I read it, it made me sad. Knowing the pain and struggle this person must have felt when they sent that message. I have felt that way before. If you have not, count yourself blessed.

Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he drinks beer in a boat all day…  Wait, well, you know what I mean. This is where one may think I am insensitive. But sometime the best help we can give someone is to be honest with each other.

ineedajob

Let’s learn to fish…

“I” – Very descriptive about identifying who needs and who has responsibility

“really”- Descriptive, added emphasis, no doubt it is a sincere, felt, emotionally call

“need”- Not a want, nor desire, nor option, but a have to, must have, need

“a job”- Any job, anywhere, anytime, anything, any amount of hours, no matter what it is

“please”- A plea, an acknowledgement that it is not someone else’s responsibility. A request, asking, admitting one needs another

“just”- Only, nothing more, nothing less. Anything other than a job is not requested, asked for nor wanted or needed

“help”- Assistance, favor lighten the load, carry a portion, carry it all, lift up, hold hand, encourage

“me”- Bringing it back to the one who needs, the requester, the one in need

Here is the best advice I ever learned. “No one cares more about your career than you do.”

Here is the fishing lesson.

“No-one”- Nada, zip, no Mom, no Dad, no friend, no stranger, no CEO, no recruiter, no BFF…etc.

“cares”- Heart felt emotion, love, respect, coddles, cuddles, protects, feeds, maintains, hugs,…etc.

“more”- More…a larger amount, bigger, greater

“about”- what it is, of what, for

“your career”- A series of jobs,  your need, means of survival, source of money, fulfillment, provides for self and family needs and wants. Ever growing…

“than”- instead, additional load, rather

“you”- YOU, one in the mirror, no one else, with others, leader, responsible, accountable, mature, grown, proud

“do”- Action, achievement, act, walk, talk, win, acquire

An employer hires someone to meet their own need and those of their companies. Very few places exist where jobs are available for solely the benefits of an individual. While I understand the intent, we have to be honest and look at what skills, experience and talents we bring to an employer. It is my responsibility to identify an open position for which I am qualified. I must then demonstrate this in a resume or application in order to get an interview. At the interview, I must continue to demonstrate my skills, willingness and ability to learn and excel thru past performance, and presentation of myself as a quality future employee.  The more I practice this, the better I get at it. A job search IS a full time job.

There are many, many resources available to assist in your career search. Start here and “Be all you can be!” I know you can do it, now you must believe in yourself.

Some people say I have attitude – maybe I do… but I think you have to. You have to believe in yourself when no one else does – that makes you a winner right there.

-Venus Williams

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Lauren’s Story, Part 7: Recognizing my Support System

Written by: Lauren – Guest Blogger sharing her perspective as a VA employee and patient during her second pregnancy.

Hello again! I am now 22 weeks and found out last week that my family and I are having another baby boy! I cannot lie, I instantly saw myself in an SUV taking the two of them to hockey practice. We are very, very excited. Now we have to think of names…

laurenbaby7

In other news, my social worker called me again last week for a checkup, and I told her all was well. We talked about resources VA provides for breastfeeding moms (more on that next time!) and how some of my follow up care will work.

My office coworkers, staff around the medical center and Veterans were excited to find out if it was a boy or girl. It’s nice to come to work and have people care about you and genuinely have an interest in how you are doing.

I love knowing that I am surrounded by a very supportive clinical team as well as supportive coworkers, supervisors and friends and family. Being pregnant and then being a mother to a newborn is stressful enough, but feeling like you have a good support system and resources at your fingertips can make a huge difference.

About Lauren

lauren_wLauren is a Navy Veteran and current Public Affairs Specialist at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center in West Virginia. Throughout her second pregnancy, she will be sharing her thoughts and experiences as a patient at VA. We are all excited to follow her on this healthcare journey!

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Connect with VA: Save the Date for Wednesday, June 25

Are you a job-searching health care professional interested in knowing more about a career at VA?

Perhaps you’ve started the application process, but want to speak to a “live person” about your qualifications.

Or maybe you’re already working at VA, and feel like your unique knowledge and insight might be useful to someone who is interested in a career.

If you identify with any of these scenarios, we hope you participate in our upcoming Twitter Chat on Wednesday, June 25 at 3:00-3:30pm ET. This will be a great opportunity for you to find new connections by sharing your own experiences and learning from others—all in 140 characters or less!

twitter_chat_6-25

What is a Twitter Chat?

A Twitter chat is a public Twitter conversation around one unique hashtag (ours is #WorkAtVA). The goal of a Twitter chat is to connect people with similar interests. By participating, you can gain real-time knowledge about careers at VA and also grow your professional network by meeting and following new people.

How does it work?

Imagine being in a classroom with a panel of experts at the front of the room, prepared to answer your questions. They’ve had time to talk, but now it’s time for the Q&A. Everyone in the room can raise their hand at once, or whenever something comes to mind. Questions get answered quickly and in the order they were received. Everyone leaves with a better understanding of the topic, and everyone has learned from the questions and answers of other participants. The bonus: You get a transcript of the Q&A session to take home, just in case you need to reference it later.

Now, move that experience online and you have a Twitter chat.

How do I participate?

If you don’t already, start following @VACareers on Twitter. On the day and time of the event, a host and group of VA National Recruiters will begin by tweeting and will be on standby to answer questions and address Tweets that use the correct hashtag. By using #WorkAtVA, you can follow the discussion and participate in it. You can also go back after the scheduled chat and reference tweets that are connected to #WorkAtVA.

Be sure to mark your calendars for Wednesday, June 25th at 3:00-3:30pm ET. We look forward to “tweeting” you then!

To learn about other ways to connect with VA Careers, click here.

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A Sunday afternoon in the ER

On Father’s Day, my wife and I were sitting in church when her jaw popped while chewing gum. “No big deal,” she thought, until after church services when we noticed the side of her face swelling. Of course, she thought it was nothing and tried icing it down. But the swelling didn’t stop.

During our Father’s Day lunch, we decided urgent care was a smart bet. My wife has experience with medical referrals and authorizations needed for services outside one’s primary care provider during non-business hours. She made a call to the answering service for her doctor’s office. After a little persuasion, we went to the closest urgent care. Good deal! Nobody was in the urgent care at 1:00 p.m. on Father’s Day. The urgent care had not seen my wife in over a year so they addressed questions about insurance, co-pays, and type of plan, while exchanging piles of paperwork. As we checked in, the doctor approached my wife, took one look at her and said, “You will need a CAT scan, and you will need to go to the ER.”

Not the place I'd planned to spend Father's Day.

Not the place I’d planned to spend Father’s Day.

At least he did not call 911, so we felt okay. My wife was pleased she would not have to fill out paperwork again as it is the same system and should have everything on file. At the ER, we told the same story to three different people and caught up on reality TV shows in the waiting room and exam rooms. We were in and out in 3 hours. Turns out, the CAT scan was clear, and the next step is visiting an Orthopedic Maxillary Specialist for TMJ…Google it!

Pleased that the problem wasn’t more serious, we continued with Father’s Day plans, although I lost 3 hours of my Father’s Day.

Five days after the event, my wife was dealing with her primary care physician to get a referral to a specialist and to inquire about this being a side effect of another treatment she had. The nearest specialist is about 35 miles away. She received the authorization on Wednesday to see the specialist, which isn’t bad timing. However, after contacting the specialist for an appointment, she learned the practice is not taking any new patients under her insurance plan. While contracted with our insurance company, it seems the insurance company has progressed to electronic filing only, and the small business is still filing the old fashioned way.

That leads me to last night, when she was still searching for a contracted specialist who will accept her insurance, is accepting new patients and is able to submit claims with our insurance company electronically.

Apparently, this is not a rare occurrence when dealing with private healthcare.

A recent article notes: “Yet, on average, veterans don’t appear to wait longer for care than other Americans.”

I am really glad that Veterans will continue to see improvements in access to VA care and those resources will likely improve for our Veterans due to recent events. But it does not mean that a Veteran cannot get quality timely care at VA, especially now. VA leaders are taking many additional steps to ensure that the problems are addressed and that the service, access and care improve. Much of this will be done with dedicated healthcare providers at VA and the new stay that will come on board to improve access.

Bring your healthcare skills to VA by applying at VAcareers.va.gov.

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