From a physician working on the front lines of emergency Veteran care to section chief of the Emergency Department at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System, Dr. Glennon Park has first-hand experience with the career growth opportunities at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). His early work with Veterans during medical training led to supervisory roles with increasing responsibility. As a VA health leader, Dr. Park impacts emergency medicine practices and policies on the regional and national level by consulting with VA and offering recommendations based on his clinical knowledge and expertise.
In this installment of our #ChooseVALeadership Careers blog series, Dr. Park talks about VA’s modern emergency medicine care and the rewards of working with Veterans.
What is your primary job at VA?
I see emergency patients, instruct medical students, oversee medical operations, maintain policy, develop quality improvement projects and support Veteran engagement efforts in our emergency department.
What was appealing about a career at VA?
My medical training exposed me to Veterans, who I really loved working with. Being of Korean heritage, I feel a strong appreciation for the Veteran population.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Being able to talk to the patient and family members and knowing that they trust us to do our best.
How has VA helped you grow in your career?
I’m very fortunate to have moved from being a physician on the front line to a supervisor, which is the position I’ve held for the past six years. In addition to serving as department chief, I’m working in a Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) capacity as the VISN 23 emergency medicine lead and adviser. I also serve in the National Program Office of Emergency Medicine, where I advise on policy. I work with Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization on the national emergency medicine council for the VA-Department of Defense electronic medical record transition.
What are a few key benefits of working at VA?
The patients — our Veterans — are the biggest benefit of working with VA. The pension and retirement savings programs are also pretty nice.
What do you find most surprising about working at VA?
It is surprising to learn that VHA researches and develops so many new standards of care that are ultimately adopted by the community. If people knew how much we do to impact the lives of Veterans and all Americans, I suspect that they would be skeptical and stunned at the same time.
What story do you most often tell people about your work at VA?
Recently, we had a patient for whom I coordinated same-day care with my gastroenterology colleagues to accomplish a significant procedure outside the emergency room, which avoided an inpatient admission. I often think of how we helped another patient with a brain hemorrhage who needed an emergency bedside procedure and stabilization. We were then able to transfer the patient to a neurotrauma unit in the community.
What would you tell other emergency healthcare professionals who are interested in choosing a career at VA?
The Veteran population is amazing. The reward of seeing and helping this group of patients during various stages of their life and illness is profound.
What else would you like us to know about your experiences as a VA emergency healthcare professional?
VA emergency medicine is evolving. It is not the VA you heard of in the past and it is not the VA you may have seen or trained in 10 years ago. It is moving forward into modern emergency medicine. It’s an exciting time for VA emergency medicine!
Choose VA today
Develop your emergency medicine leadership skills as you care for Veterans: Choose a VA career as a physician today.