It’s Bob calling: VA Secretary takes recruiting personally


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“We need tens of thousands of new doctors, new nurses, new clinicians,” VA Secretary Bob McDonald told reporters Monday at news conference.

McDonald recently launched a national recruiting campaign, and is leading the charge by speaking directly with medical students, military medical professionals and others who can bring their experience to work at VA.

“What I have heard from our doctors and nurses is there’s no better patient than the Veteran. We have to get that inspiring story out,” McDonald said.

Sec. McDonald shared a story from a recent flight of a retired Air Force Veteran whose daughter is now a student at the Uniformed Services University and was hesitant to consider working for VA.

“I said, ‘Give me her phone number,’” McDonald recounted. “I called her three times.”  The student arranged for McDonald to recruit from her medical school. “I think we’re pretty close to convincing her that the VA is a great place to work.”

McDonald has also been speaking with members of the military who are close to retiring from service about continuing their careers at VA.  Here’s video of one of those phone calls.

 

Expanding its recruitment and retention efforts to fill staffing needs and attract the best and brightest medical professionals to serve Veterans is just one of the key actions VA is taking on its “Road to Veterans Day.”

To better fulfill our mission and to improve our service to those who have “borne the battle,’” their families, and survivors, VA is implementing a series of strategies and actions that will enable the Department to rebuild trust with Veterans and the American people, improve service delivery and set the course for long-term excellence and reform.

Read more about the Road to Veterans Day 2014 here.

Author

Reynaldo Leal

– Reynaldo Leal is a public affairs officer for VA’s office of Digital Media Engagement and member for the VAntage Point’s staff. He is a proud Marine Corps Veteran who deployed to the Al Anbar Province with 3rd Battalion 5th Marine Regiment in 2004 and 2006. He also took part in some of the heaviest fighting during Operation Phantom Fury in 2004.

Comments

  1. sal    

    Why do VA physician recruiters NOT return calls.

  2. PATRICK BRYAN    

    WHAT A JOKE. THIS NEW SEC OF VETERANS AFFAIRS IS NOTHING MORE THAN ANOTHER PUPPET TO THIS ADMINISTRATION. AS A VETERAN, I HAVE BEEN IN AN ONGOING BATTLE OVER MY BENEFITS CLAIM SINCE 2008, BEEN THROUGH THE PROCESS, EVEN TO APPEAL TO THE BVA, OF WHICH THEY REMANDED BACK TO THE BALTIMORE RO. THIS WAS OVER18 MONTHS AGO. BALTIMORE RO HAS NEVER SENT MY CLAIM FILE BACK TO THE BVA, AS REQUIRED BY LAW, AND THE BVA SAYS IT HAS NO JURISDICTION TO GET IT BACK. SO MY ABILITY TO GO FORWARD WITH AN APPEAL IS STALLED. THIS IS JUST WHAT THEY KNOW HOW TO DO REAL WELL, STALL TILL YOU DIE. WE DON’T EVEN HAVE A DIRECT WAY TO CONTACT THIS SEC. OFFICE, AND THE 1000 NUMBER IS A JOKE, NO ONE HAS ANY REAL ANSWERS TO ANYTHING. EVEN SENATOR SANDERS AND REP. JEFF MILLER CAN’T DO ANYTHING WITH THEIR COMMITTEES. JUST MORE WASTE OF TIME AND GIVING FALSE HOPE TO VETERANS. WHEN WILL THEY TAKE A REAL LOOK INTO THE PROBLEMS ON THE BENEFITS SIDE OF THE VA JUST AS THEY HAVE ON THE HEALTH SIDE, WON’T EVER HAPPEN. CAN’T EVEN GET CALL-BACKS WHEN A MESSAGE IS LEFT. I WILL KEEP MY FIGHT GOING AND PUSH FOR ANSWERS TILL I TAKE MY LAST BREATH.

  3. Ronald Sharp    

    Bob,
    I am a 2010-11 OEF Combat Veteran, I have had some really hard times with the CNVAMC. They refused to do a colonoscopy for so long I had to go outside the va to get it done. I had precancerous polyps and reuired an involved surgery that quite simply saved my life. If I had stayed with the VA I would have cancer today I believe. Wesley Brown with the Augusta Chronicle ran a front page story on me in the paper. I filed a tort claim in response to the harsh rejection of the CNVAMC to pay those bills. Needless to say when I asked the va to pay for the bill, they refused and they are refusing to this day. I am also in a claim status with Columbia SC that has had be going for over 1000 days, now of course they will say less days because they keep resetting me in the system. Bob, I served with honor, In the process I saw 27 IED blasts and suffered one right under my truck, I have horrible nightmares all the time and this feeling of betrayal is making me hate…. I am so angry all the time… The wait, the shoddy service, the attitude and the delay deny and wait till I die attitude is horrible. I was a victim of the gastroenterology department at the CNVAMC. And No they did not cause my polyps, but their delay could have cost me my life. The arrogance of the staff there is disgusting.. Even the patient advocates are hateful… To make matters worse is that I have had my C & P exams for my claims and the timeline is Jan 2015 to Sept 2015, those guys in Columbia wont even answer the phone, used to be you could get a call back, now they dead end you….I am a Decorated Combat Veteran that lived outside the wire, I think you know what that means….So I need the VA to help me in so many ways. I earned it. Bob, are you gonna help me…

  4. Sharon H    

    My 97 year old Dad who served during WWII in the 82nd Airborne and participated in 5 invasions including D-Day and then spent 11 months as a German POW cannot get the V.A. to approve a wheelchair to keep him independent. He has very weak legs, congestive heart failure treated with a pacemaker, renal issues, etc. After multiple 150 mile round trips to a V.A. center in Danville, Illinois it was determined that he has everything that he needed. Unfortunately, while there are some people in the V.A. that are very nice, many are not even U.S. citizens and have no sympathy for American veterans. We have even been told by a staff member of a U.S. Congressman that even their office has little hope of assisting Dad. The V.A. is just waiting for him to die so he is no longer their concern. I thought about posting a YouTube video of Dad trying to walk to shame the V.A. but I know that they are immune to the suffering endured by the very people that guaranteed their freedom. I don’t know what our next step is. I would help if the V.A. hired from within the ranks of its own military veterans. I’ll take an “inexperienced” veteran over a non-citizen in the V.A. any day. Can you fix this, Bob?

    1. David Cooper    

      Seems to me the solution here is pretty simple – As the son of a deceased World War 2 Veteran who died after during or after his routine hernia surgery (How, Robert M Cooper – Army Air Corp – Pacific Theater- died in Helena MT VA November 1987, it was really never explained his exact circumstances of death) But given the VA scandal today I am not surprised. Anyway 1st hire veterans for positions, second hire only sons or daughters of US Veterans, then US citizens after that. I was asked to be a paid intern in the VA in Chesterfield MO in the summer of 2013, but declined for a Forest Service job in Montana only because I had already purchased my airline tickets for Montana and the VA wanted me o report to work the following Monday. I was always curious at this inefficient manner of recruiting. I am still interested in working with the VA. As I was under contract for 4 years in US Army ROTC from 1978 to 1982, but never commissioned because of a medical problem. Perhaps someone from the VA will contact me again about working in a suitable capacity.
      Regards
      David Cooper
      Austell Georgia

    2. Marion Sherman    

      Sharon,
      Your father is a hero among heroes! I’m a psychiatric physician at Loma Linda VA where I have the honor of providing treatment for our region’s POWs. We are trying to reach out to all of the POWs to try to assist with getting them and their families the services they deserve. WWII, Korea, VietNam, and even a few dozen ex-POWs from recent Middle East conflicts- they deserve so much for what they have endured for our country. If you write, I would be glad to try to connect you up with someone who might be of help.

  5. Dan F    

    Tens of thousands? What planet does he think they will come from? The new Secretary is blowing smoke up your butt if you think that is going to happen. That would be 100’s of doctors, nurses and technician for every VAMC and CBOC in the country for each 10,000 hired. Last year they couldn’t fill 500 physician positions.

    This is a two year job for “Bob” and it will just be one more failed promise when he leaves because of a change of administrations. Too bad our congress critters can’t do simple math or know when someone is blowing smoke.

  6. Jeff    

    How do you propose hiring PA’s when the very top of pay salary is 90k in my area and yet this is what new grads make. I am prior service, and wanting to work for the VA, but I can not justify a 40-50% PAY CUT to work with the VA.

    Also, the hiring practices of preferring NP over PA has also got to stop – we are both great providers and should be treated equally.

  7. PJ Babcock    

    Questioning why most postings, other than doctors, for VA on USAJOBS show those eligible to apply are permanent VA employees or from the same VISN (region). If VA is pushing civilian employers to hire veterans then why is a medical center Police job posted with only VA employees allowed to apply. Doesn’t this leave another police slot empty for the 6 months it takes VA to fill a slot?

    1. Denise    

      The va does not tell you if you are service connected at 30%or more that you should be included in that posting if you apply. I was passed over for jobs as a preference eligible an a non veteran was hired. Right now in the process to speak with Robert McDonald on this process ,and the flawed and deceitful way the va hospital had hired non veteran s.

  8. Dan Duffy    

    That’s funny, after 28 years of combined active duty, Air National Guard and USAF Reserves, I used the Post 9-11 GI Bill to go to nursing school but the VA will not hire new nurses. According to the National Nurse Recruiter the policy is 3 years experience and the local hospitals have the ability to hire with 1.5 to 2 years experience. I understand that nurses are not hired under Title 10 and you need the experience but how can you get in? I did an interview at the DE VAMC for a long term care unit but I guess those I was going against had more experience, I guess with the trouble that has been plaguing the VA they don’t want people who have been in the trenches that will actually care about their brother and sister vets. Way to go Mr. Secretary, why don’t you call me?

    Dan Duffy, BSN, RN
    CMSgt (Ret) USAFR

    1. Stacy Moody    

      Hi Mr. Duffy, I dont know about the nursing requirements etc. But I can say last time I checked around 2012, about 30% of VA employees are in fact Veterans. Including myself. I am unsure what that number stands at now, but I am pretty positive it is significantly more. I am proud to serve my brothers and sisters in arms, and I care. It’s a great job. Hope you can come join us soon, a positive attitude is definitely required! Take Care Sir.

    2. John Clayborn    

      Hiring more professionals will help, but will not solve the root problem. I recently went through an in-house psychiatric evaluation. I was “awarded” 30% service related disability – but no compensation! I will reapply and set the wheels in motion. My personal package weighs 10 pounds, most of which are NODs. It would have solved many time delays and hard feelings had my case been properly reviewed on the first review. The reviewing person has a short and finite amount of time. The easiest thing to do is approve one tiny portion, or none approved and set the clock to the “its out of my hands and I get a bonus for rapid turn over time.” I am frustrated. Seems that they are waiting for us to die. I answered my country’s call and am being pushed aside.54

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