My perspective: an outsider looking in on VA


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I wish you could see what I see.

As a contractor working with VA’s National Health Care Recruitment Office, I’ve had the privilege of visiting many VA medical centers around the country. I am a non-veteran, non-VA employee and not in the health care field. In fact, I specialize in employment marketing which is just about as far from the health care field as you can get.

With my team, I travel to different VA hospitals to capture and document authentic, real-life moments between Veteran patients and their health care providers. Publishing this content as a blog, a Public Service Announcement or social post helps shed a light on what it’s really like to work with Veterans in a career with VA. From the security officers in the lobby to the nurses in the OR and the Director of the VAMC, I have never met more dedicated, hard-working and mission-filled people in my entire career.

When my schedule permits, I make it a point to sit in the main lobby or the canteen/cafeteria of the VA hospital I am visiting. Inevitably, I will be joined by a Veteran looking for an open chair to rest for a minute. More than once, I have been surprised by Veterans saying they arrive early to their appointments in order to spend some time with fellow Veterans and feel like they are in a place where people care about their well-being. The tales of how hard it was for them personally to bring themselves to a VA hospital are often disheartening, but every time, they tell me how their lives have improved with the care they are receiving.

This is not just a regional or medical center-specific outlook. I’ve been to VAMCs in Washington, D.C.; Tucson, Arizona; Bay Pines, Florida; Houston, Texas; Los Angeles, California; Atlanta, Georgia; and New Orleans, Louisiana. I always come away knowing the people who dedicate themselves to Veteran care are living out a very important mission in our country—and it shows. The Veterans I’ve seen know their patient care team and feel like family when they’re with them. The health care teams tell me that they’re the lucky ones for having the opportunity to give back to those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.

In D.C., a group of sharply-dressed Veterans caught my eye. They told me they dress up in suits and hats each month to visit with each other at the VA hospital before and after their appointments. In New Orleans, our cab driver was a Veteran and said to me, “See how much they care for us that they built us this wonderful hospital!” At the Women’s Clinic in Houston, women Veterans came up to me one-by-one to tell me how much they loved their clinic and providers. In Tucson, I witnessed a former basketball player walking comfortably with help from his prosthetic team. We all had tears in our eyes that day.

The stories I hear of dedicated nurses, physicians, therapists and psychologists who go above and beyond always inspire me and encourage me whenever I’m lucky enough to spend some time at a VA hospital.

I wish you could see what I see. I wish you would take the time to visit a VA hospital and get to know the caring people who work there. And maybe then, if you’re inspired, you’ll consider a career with VA.

Author

VA Careers

Comments

  1. Dan F    

    I doubt anyone even reads these comments.

    Why isn’t the author of this identified? An anonymous writing of how good VA is to veterans? He is obviously a contractor, so identify him. Many veterans arrive early to talk to fellow veterans? I have been going to the VA for almost 50 years, all I can say is PLEEEEEASE.

    1. Gary Hicks    

      Agreed. I will ask VA careers to put a name to the words.

      1. Angela Gabhart    

        I’ve been a social worker with the VA for ten years and can say this is true of the clinic I just left last year (only because I transferred back home to another VA). I worked in Waco, Texas and have NEVER had an experience where Veteran’s arrived early, knew all staff by name and the Veterans were always in the waiting areas visiting with each other. They made it a point to stop by staff’s areas just to say “hello” and check in on us. When staff work together and support each other, it just flows over to the care provided to our Veterans. I consider it a privilege to work with Veterans. The VA isn’t always perfect…as we all know. But, the majority of VA employees want to ensure our Veterans get the care they deserve. We, as VA employees, don’t work for a private sector health care business. (been there…done that. We work for the VETERANS, paid for by the American public and have the freedom to create new programs-both socially and medically. Research the medical advancements created by VA doctors, nurses, social workers and psychologists…we don’t fit in a square box! Thank God and thank a Veteran!!!

  2. mr mud    

    I’ve been going to the v a for about 10 years. I’m a Vietnam veteran. Overall I say they do a great job.

  3. James Hart    

    Why isn’t this contractor a vet? There are many vets in each area that have a history in HR that another vet would share what is going on.
    Is this contractor doing what the Administrator at the center should be doing instead of sitting behind his/she’s desk.
    A vet that also has a background in I.E. would be even more qualified and has a intrest in improving the centers for fellow Vet’s.

    1. Mary Rose    

      Good morning Mr. Hart, I do believe in people spreading their wings and finding their way. He found this job/or it found him. While he is non vet, he expresses his love for the occupation that VA employees work in. We all have to serve and work in some capacity. I am a Veteran and I strongly believe in a collaboration of Vets and Non Vets. We all have so very much to teach one another. I hope your day is well. Be Blessed ~MBR~

  4. Pierino De Pari    

    Does it matter who wrote it? The fact that it was written in this way should be uplifting. Look at the positive of thing not only focus on the negative. I for one liked what he wrote. I use the VA and had my Liver Transplant at the Pittsburg VA Hispital with an outstanding transplant team….can’t thank them enough. They do this daily. Thank you team!

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