At VA, we’re committed to serving the health care needs of all Veterans, including the fastest growing group — female Veterans. A key element of that commitment is hiring women who also served in the military to help care for them.
“With our female Veteran enrollment rate growing rapidly, our female Veterans need us to be there to care for and relate to them,” said Patricia Hall, an Army Veteran and medical center director at Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital.
Hear from four exceptional women, including Hall, who decided to continue serving their country at VA.
Kristina Snell, Acting Intermediate Care Technician National Program Manager
Kristina Snell had years of training and experience under her belt as a flight evac medic in the Air Force when she left active duty in 2011. But without a professional license, she was unable to find a civilian position that required her skills.
Then she learned about VA’s Intermediate Care Technician (ICT) Program, which aims to hire former military medics and corpsmen in clinical settings across VA.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up, when I first came to VA. It took me a couple of years working as an ICT to even figure out which direction I wanted to go,” she said. “What I found was I had a love for growing this program.”
VA is ripe with such opportunities for professional growth. Leadership training programs, mentorships, scholarships and other professional development help employees like Snell move their careers in almost any direction they want.
“Working at VA is the best kept secret. Not only do you have our really amazing mission, but people at VA care about you,” Snell said.
For the last three years, she’s managed the growing ICT pilot program, which will soon be established permanently within VA’s Office of Primary Care.
“It’s so great to be alive at VA right now. I’m just excited for the next chapter,” Snell said.
Renetta Bradford, Program Analyst
Renetta Bradford follows the same advice she used to give job seekers as a Veteran employment program manager.
“Look for those opportunities that let you use those professional qualities that make you unique, that make you the exception in your field,” Bradford said. “Lead by your passions. Lead by your exceptionalism. When you do that, you’ll thrive.”
An Air Force Veteran with more than 15 years of service, Bradford knows she has found her calling working with Veterans. For seven years, she’s helped them navigate the federal hiring process by understanding which federal jobs best align with their skills and education. She recently moved to a new position as program analyst with the VA Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization to continue her support of Veterans.
A conversation with a Navy Veteran struggling to find a job particularly sticks out in her memory.
“He felt rejected because he couldn’t understand why he couldn’t get a job. What else did he need to do to prove to people that he was employable?” Bradford recalled.
Bradford was able to lend a compassionate ear and assure him that she had once been in the same position.
“Before we could even get into the training, knowing that someone understood what he was feeling and empathized with him changed his feelings of despair. He said, ‘Renetta, I know you care. I appreciate talking to someone who I truly believe cares.’ I’ll never forget that,” she said.
Heather Roe, Public Affairs Specialist
After a year of searching, Heather Roe finally landed her dream job as a public affairs specialist at the Cleveland VA Medical Center. Two days later, at the age of 28, she was diagnosed with breast cancer by doctors at that same hospital.
“It was very strange and serendipitous that I got hired by the place that was treating me and saving my life,” Roe said. “If it wasn’t for VA, I don’t know if I’d be here. They took me seriously from day one.”
Her personal experience has made Roe even more dedicated to spreading the word about VA’s world-class health care.
“It will never feel like work because I’m passionate about this field and I also get to help the people who protected our country,” said Roe, who served as a mass communications specialist in the Navy for nearly 5 years.
After leaving the Navy, Roe earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and promotional communications at Cleveland State University. She sent out about 150 resumes before spotting her current position on USA Jobs.
To those interested in applying to VA, she advises to “just to keep pushing — even if you’re at that crossroad where you don’t know if it’s going to happen.”
“If someone hadn’t pushed me, I might not be sitting where I am today.”
Patricia Hall, Medical Center Director
Even on a hard day, Hall doesn’t have to look far for a reminder of why she has spent her post-military career at VA.
“I only need to visit one of our waiting areas or inpatient units and hear a Veteran story to recharge my energy. I am so proud to work where every single staff person understands and embraces their role in VA’s mission,” Hall said.
Now the medical center director at Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital in Columbia, Missouri, Hall began her 26-year military career as a U.S. Army nurse.
“When I transitioned from active duty, nobody suggested exploring VA as a career. I was fortunate enough to have colleagues in my reserve units who spoke highly of VA and encouraged me over the course of several years to apply,” Hall said.
After landing her first VA job as associate director of patient care services at the Tomah VA Medical Center, she never looked back.
“I have found VA to be the best career decision I have ever made. I feel that I do incredibly important work each day,” she said.
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