Maximize the Benefits of VA Twitter Chats

The VA Careers team is dedicated to streamlining your job search efforts through social media efforts. The most recent Twitter Chat, focusing on Mental Health professionals, was a successful event—reaching an audience of 33,100 people and making connections between social followers, health care professionals, and VA recruitment experts.

We will continue to promote these events through our Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles. In order to make the most of these events, make sure to consider the three stages—before, during and after—and learn how to maximize the benefits from these interactive chats.

Before the Event: Follow VA Careers on our social channels so that you can be the first to know when the next Twitter Chat is scheduled. About a week before, we’ll announce the date and time of the event, along with the topic for discussion. If you need more information on how to participate in a Twitter Chat, check out this blog post.

During the Event: After logging on to your Twitter account, search Twitter for #workatva. We encourage all participants to use the designated hashtag so that all Tweets—whether questions or answers—are easily accessible in one place. Most important, the chat gives you an opportunity to ask your questions about applying and vacancies. @VACareers will be moving the conversation along, and depending on the topic, VHA National Recruiters and subject matter experts also contribute to the discussion.

After the Event: If you are not able to join the chat, you can catch up by logging into your Twitter account and searching for #workatva. Our team continues to monitor the chat room dialog for several days after the event to ensure that someone will get back to you with an answer to your questions.

The VA Physician Recruitment Twitter Chat is scheduled for March 19, 2015, 2:00 to 2:30 p.m. EST. If you are a physician interested in career opportunities and growth at VA, or a member of another health care discipline who wants to learn more about applying at VA, we encourage you to join us. If you should have questions about using Twitter or navigating to #workatva, please call Wade Habshey, VHA Healthcare Recruitment Marketing Liaison, at 504-565-4341.

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Innovative Leadership + Coaching Skills Earns Top Award for Dr. Ramsel

Dr. Dee Ramsel, PhD, Executive Director of VHA’s National Center for Organization Development, was honored during the Society of Consulting Psychology Mid-Winter Conference in San Diego, CA earlier this month.

Ramsel 2013 - resizedDr. Ramsel received the Leadership Worth Following Award for Excellence in Developing Consulting Psychologists in recognition of her distinguished career and for her tangible and consistent investment in the development of students, early career practitioners, and/or other consultants who are making the transition into consulting psychology.

Her philosophy considers the Veteran first: “As I told my staff [in my early career], ‘We are saving lives every day. Not dramatically, like in an emergency department, but over the long-term, by helping Veterans deal with mental health and substance abuse issues,’” she says.

Known as an innovative leader and educator, Dr. Ramsel has developed a unique postdoctoral training program that targets clinical psychologists transitioning into the field of consulting psychology.

As a leader and educator, Dr. Ramsel directly impacts training through her faculty role at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and professional activities of the Society of Consulting Psychology, American Psychological Association, and the Society of Psychologists in Management. Her generosity is demonstrated by the countless students and early career practitioners she graciously shares her time and expertise with.

And while she regularly mentors Psychology students and professionals in her field, she has a point of view and advice that extends to all health care professionals.

“For those who crave variety in their career, VA offers unparalleled opportunity; I personally have been able to provide direct patient care, conduct research, engage in administrative leadership, teach at the local medical college, and consult to leaders and employees across the system,” she says.

This is not the first time Dr. Ramsel has been recognized for her work and leadership. Other awards include: Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Mental Health and Behavioral Science’s Service Director’s Award and the Outstanding VA Administrator’s Award from the Public Service Division of the American Psychological Association.

Dr. Ramsel attended Valparaiso University for her undergraduate training and then received her doctorate in clinical psychology in 1985 from the University of North Dakota. She earned her MBA from Marquette University in 1999.

And while her awards are many, she considers it a reward to serve those who have served. “There is very little more fulfilling work anywhere,” she says.

Thank you, Dr. Ramsel, for your commitment to serving our Nation’s Veterans and for your innovative work at VA.

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Leveraging Social Media for Your Job Search – Facebook

Many people on social media are comfortable using their profiles to keep in touch with family, friends, and acquaintances, and to form new relationships, but we don’t often think of how the individual networks could benefit us as professionals. Indeed, one of the most essential skills for any job seeker is an understanding of how to use strategically leverage social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and even blogs.


VA Careers stays connected to active job seekers and those interested in learning more about careers at VA by keeping our social media profiles on the leading edge—connecting our followers to the jobs and information that is most relevant to them. This is the first in a three-part series explaining the different social media platforms VHA can offer qualified health care candidates.

The VA Careers Facebook profile is an award-winning page that combines the mentorship aspect of recruitment with the community and support of a social media network.

The page has recently incorporated a branded career tab that seamlessly integrates with the VA Careers Facebook page. This new functionality comes through VA Careers’ partnership with TweetMyJobs, the leading social and mobile recruitment and job distribution network. Features include:

• Automated distribution of jobs enabling job seekers to search and apply from within VA Careers’ Facebook page

• Functionality for job seekers to explore open positions on an interactive map

• Sharing tools for employees or other Facebook users to share jobs through their network

• Alert sign-up for jobseekers to receive email or text notification of relevant jobs

In addition to the job search feature, the VA Careers community on Facebook is large and robust—a network of over 180,000 professionals, job seekers, and employees who regularly ask questions and provide support.

If you are interested in learning more about a career at VA, Facebook is a great place to start. You can also visit to search jobs and apply for a position.

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Proactive, Personal, Patient-Driven Health Care for Veterans in Rural America

In a recent message to VA employees, Dr. Carolyn M. Clancy, MD., the Interim Under Secretary of Health for the Department of Veterans Affairs, noted that there are currently, 3.2 million—35 percent—of our enrolled Veterans in rural locations, and the number is growing.

clancymd“Veterans who live in rural communities will be a key population to target in our efforts to provide equitable care,” Dr. Clancy stated in her memo. And this is a challenge where both current and future VA health providers a positive impact in the lives of Veterans and their families.

According to Dr. Clancy’s memo, Rural Veterans face some unique barriers to care, including a lack of public transportation, limited broadband coverage, and a smaller number of community providers.

VA’s Office of Rural Health (ORH) works to ensure rural Veterans receive the same level of care and access to services as their urban counterparts. ORH’s programs focus on improving the health and well-being of rural Veterans by increasing their access to care and services. A key component of this targeted, solution-driven approach is ORH-funded pilot projects, which served 649,000 Veterans last year. The office also works to remove barriers to care through a variety of local efforts, including projects that focus on telehealth, transportation, and mental health.

“I encourage everyone to watch ORH’s new three-minute video, ‘Caring for Rural Veterans,’ which spotlights the needs of our Veterans in rural communities, and a few of the many ways we are making a difference, as validated by a Veteran filmed at a community based outpatient clinic,” wrote Dr. Clancy. You can also learn more about ORH’s projects at

Dr. Clancy believes strongly that teamwork will be essential to VA’s success in providing safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient, and equitable health care for our Veterans.

If you are a health care provider and share Dr. Clancy’s model for providing VA health care to our Veterans, please consider career opportunities in rural communities. Go to today to learn more.


There are currently openings for mental health professionals in rural locations at both the VA Montana Health Care System in Fort Harrison (Helena) and the Sheridan VA Medical Center in Sheridan, Wyoming. These positions include:

  • One nurse practitioner or Psychiatrist at Kalispell, MT
  • One Nurse Practitioner and three Psychiatrists at Fort Harrison, MT
  • One Psychiatrist at Billings, MT
  • Four psychiatrists, and nurse practitioners with high-quality mental health experience at Sheridan, WY

For more information about these positions, contact Tim Blakney, National Healthcare Recruitment Consultant, VHA Healthcare Recruitment & Marketing (WMC) at


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Leadership Profile: Shawanda Poree, Part 2

In Part I of Shawanda’s story, we learned about the beginnings of her career and her first exposure to VA’s ICARE core values. Today, we’ll learn how Shawanda incorporated these ICARE values into her own leadership style as she performed her duties as a nurse recruiter.

While Shawanda worked at the intensive care unit at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System (SLVCS), she was always seeking ways to be part of committees, task forces and work groups within VA. “I was a young nurse really eager to learn and so wherever I could make my mark I did so.”

Eventually, the human resource office at SLVCS issued a vacancy announcement for a nurse recruiter position. The same supervisor who encouraged Shawanda to apply for the ICU position strongly encouraged Shawanda to apply—she knew she would be perfect for the job. “She told me, ‘You’re eager, you like to talk, you like to socialize and you definitely show that you care and always try to help,’” said Shawanda.shawanda2

Shawanda captured the moment and began to prepare her application package.

She prepared and practiced answering interview questions at home with her husband. “I really studied for the interview just like it was an exam,” said Shawanda.

It was through this preparation that she positioned herself ahead of the other applicants, 10 other qualified nurses, some with prior experience as nurse recruiters.

Shawanda realized that to be able to sell VA to qualified nursing candidates, she would have to be well versed in the basics of the VA business. Meeting with the public affairs officer and several key hospital administrators, Shawanda quickly developed a strong knowledge base about the founding of the hospital as well as the various levels of care and services VA provides.

“When I had my interview I was able to articulate what my goals were and what I was going to do in the first 90 days. I truly believed I could make a difference in the job.”

The selection board chose Shawanda for the position as nurse recruiter in July 2002.

And even though VA New Orleans had a nurse recruiter in the past, a new alignment of the position under human resources (rather than under the nursing department), allowed Shawanda to create a recruitment program from the ground up.

“We had a delay in hiring at VA in New Orleans because there were so many people involved in managing the process,” said Shawanda. “I was successful in the role because I was able to manage from recruitment to hire.”

From the initial engagement to completing the applications, to verifying licensure, confirming references and preparing board folders, Shawanda made sure the candidate’s recruitment experience was a positive one.

“We did a lot of things that traditionally would not be seen at a VA facility,” says Shawanda.

For instance, if a candidate showed promise, Shawanda would pick up the phone and call the hiring manager and ask if she could bring that person by for an informal interview.

In streamlining the process, she was rising to the original challenge from her manager to be part of the solution, rather than to walk away from the problem. Her dedication to improving a fractured process meant that top nurses were hired more quickly.

“Those bright candidates—those stars—I would get them in immediately,” she says.

As an advocate for the nurses she recruited, she was contributing to the overall improvement of care at VA, and strengthened her commitment to providing the best care for our Nation’s Veterans.

The next installment in Shawanda’s profile includes how she discovered another opportunity to assist in the building of a health care recruitment program. But this time, it would be at the national level.

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Improving Mental Health Services for Veterans

On Feb 2, 2015, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act, critical legislation that increases access to quality mental health care and combats veteran suicide. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert A. McDonald commented recently on this historic legislation stating that “the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act complements VA’s on-going, multi-faceted efforts to improve mental health care for our nation’s Veterans.”

“A growing number of Veterans are seeking mental health care, and VA has deployed significant resources and increases in staff toward mental health services,” McDonald added.

VA provides a continuum of forward-looking outpatient, residential, and inpatient mental health services across the country. At VA, there are many entry points for care: through our medical centers, more than 800 community-based outpatient clinics, 300 Vet Centers that provide readjustment counseling, the Veterans Crisis Line, VA staff on college and university campuses, and other outreach efforts. VA offers expanded access to mental health services with longer clinic hours, telemental heath capability to deliver services, and standards that mandate rapid access to mental health services.

“We know that the suicide rate is lower for those Veterans who use VA health care, losing just one Veteran to suicide is one too many,” said McDonald. “So, VA will continue to develop and improve mental health and suicide prevention services so that Veterans who reach out for help receive that help when and where they need it.”

Serve those who have served us.

Serve those who have served us.

Following President Obama’s 2012 Executive Order, VA increased its mental health staffing, expanded the capacity of the Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255 and, enhanced its partnerships with community mental health providers, and increased suicide prevention awareness efforts.

Mental health care professionals can play a proactive role at VA by improving mental health services for Veterans and their families and ensuring better outcomes for all concerned.

If you are an experienced mental health care provider with a passion for serving Veterans, please join us on our next Twitter Chat for Mental Health Care Professionals on February 19, 2015, 2:00 – 2:30 p.m. EST. Learn more about the Twitter Chat here.

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Mental Health Professionals: Join our next Twitter Chat

VA mental health employees recognize the nuances of our mission “to care for him whom shall have borne the battle.” Military service, in war and peacetimes alike, is no doubt physically demanding—but it’s often the unseen marks that plague our Veterans most. PTSD is a reality for many, but mental illness can come in all forms.

From experienced Psychiatrists to Peer Support Specialists, Social Workers to volunteers, VA hires a variety of mental health professionals to care for our Nation’s Veterans. Positions include:



Psychiatric Nurses

Social Workers

Peer Specialists

Licensed Professional Counselors

Mental Health Volunteers

Join us at our next Twitter Chat to learn how you can make a difference in the lives of Veterans as a mental health professional at VA. This Thursday, February 19th from 2:00pm – 2:30pm ET, VA national recruiters and employees will be discussing career opportunities, answering your questions, and providing advice on Twitter, through the Twitter account @VACareers and on #WorkatVA.

twitterchatWhat 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, February 19th 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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Presidents and VA – A Legacy of Caring for Veterans

In honor of Presidents Day, we recognize the many contributions our American Presidents, a majority of whom served in the military themselves, have made in advancing benefits, education, health care, and more for our Nation’s Veterans. The Department of Veteran’s Affairs is guided by our mission “to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan”—a promise originally made by President Abraham Lincoln in his second inaugural address. Since then, Presidents have made speeches, signed laws, and supported efforts to improve the quality of life for Veterans after serving in war or in peacetimes. It is the noblest mission supporting the greatest clients of any agency in the country—our Veterans.


Following World War I, President Herbert Hoover established the Veterans Administration, uniting three existing bureaus in an effort to better serve Veterans. By the end of World War II, millions of Americans had served for four years or more; some 671,8l7 men and women had been wounded, and 405,399 had been killed. Hundreds of thousands of dependents were left in need. Congress responded in 1944 with the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, the “GI Bill of Rights.” The bill, which transformed the economy and society of the United States, was signed into law by President Roosevelt on June 22.

President Roosevelt also signed the Veterans’ Preference Act of 1944—a bill that gave veterans hiring preference where federal funds were spent. The President was authorized to set aside government jobs for veterans for the duration of the war and for five years afterward.

Recently, President Obama proposed a $168.8 billion budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in fiscal year 2016. The proposed budget will support VA goals to expand access to timely, high quality health care and benefits, continue the transformation of VA into a Veteran-centric department and end homelessness among Veterans.

While the development and continuous improvement of the modern Department of Veterans Affairs has been an ongoing effort of current and former service members, civilians and government officials, the Department has been aided tremendously by the attention and leadership of the highest office in the Nation.

The brightest and the best in health care at VA close the circle of Lincoln’s promise as they continue to provide proactive, personalized, patient-driven health care for our Veterans and enhancement of quality of life for them and their families.

Happy Presidents Day!



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Opportunities for Mental Health Professionals to Serve Veterans in Rural America

As the Nation’s second-largest health care system, the Veterans Health Administration has hospitals, clinics, and facilities in every corner of the country. As such, VA is in need of qualified health care professionals to serve the over 40 percent of our Veteran patients living in rural areas, and nearly half of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans from these communities. There are currently two VA Health Care Systems with critical need for qualified mental health professionals.


VA Montana Health Care System at Fort Harrison (Helena) is a Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) accredited facility that provides inpatient medical/surgical, and outpatient ambulatory medical, surgical and behavioral health care to our Nations Veterans.

Open Positions

One Nurse Practitioner or Psychiatrist at Kalispell, MT

One Nurse Practitioner and three Psychiatrists at Fort Harrison, MT

One Psychiatrist at Missoula, MT

One Psychiatrist at Billings, MT

If you want to learn more about these areas, visit their Facebook Page, or the Helena Chamber of Commerce.



The Sheridan VA Medical Center in Sheridan, Wyoming is hiring four psychiatrists as well as nurse practitioners with high quality mental health experience.

Connect with the Sheridan VAMC on Facebook!


VA offers Education Debt Reduction Program initiatives along with Recruitment/Relocation Incentives for these positions.

What’s more, health care professionals at our rural locations receive the same benefits shared throughout VHA. Whether you’re looking for a change of scenery, or you’re from a small town and want to stay close to home, you can enjoy the benefits of:

  • Advanced facilities
  • Flexible time off
  • Robust liability coverage
  • Generous health, life and retirement packages

Rural providers also get benefits that are not as common in urban locations, such as:

  • Lower housing costs
  • Less traffic and pollution
  • A slower pace of life and less stress
  • A greater feeling of safety and security in the community

For more information about these positions, contact Tim Blakney, National Healthcare Recruitment Consultant, VHA Healthcare Recruitment & Marketing
(WMC) at

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VA is Hiring Nurses in Sunny Orlando, Florida!

Nursing is the single largest occupation at VA, with a projected growth of nearly 16% in the next four years as the population ages and many professionals leave the workforce. What’s more, Americans continue to identify nurses as the most trusted professionals in America according to a Gallup poll that ranks professions for their honesty and ethical standards. They are in high demand and are held in high regard—the career outlook for nurses has never been better.

At VA, nurses enjoy many benefits, including a healthy work/life balance, continuing education opportunities, career mentoring and competitive salaries. Another benefit is the opportunity to work at brand new, state-of-the-art, tertiary care medical facilities.

One such medical facility is the Orlando VA Medical Center in Orlando, Florida. The new medical facility will open in 2015 with 134-inpatient beds and we are actively recruiting for inpatient nurses for our Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Medical/Surgical Unit, Inpatient Mental Health Unit and the Emergency Department.

The Orlando VA Medical Center is located in “Medical City,” otherwise known as the Lake Nona community, and is centrally located to downtown areas, shopping, Orlando attractions and the beautiful beaches for which Florida is famous.


The new facility is located minutes from the airport in the heart of Medical City, along with other prestigious medical research institutes, including the University of Central Florida’s new College of Medicine and a highly specialized Children’s Hospital. Florida is recognized for its warm sunny climate, abundant housing options and has no state income tax.

Open positions include:

Come see what everyone is talking about and apply online today! For specific questions regarding the vacancies, please contact:

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