Amen. I work with a few RNs, for that very reason, will never be transferred, nor hired anywhere else. I'm sure this is not only at VAs, but most VAs are smaller, the nurse managers are very tight and the abuse of paid time, is not tolerated well. Most VA nurses are older, therefore sicker, but it amazes me, how much the paid time is abused for "other" reasons, which certainly wouldn't be tolerated at regular hospitals. As a former manager at an outside, major medical center, I thought we had a liberal HR department, but they still allowed firings and after a few write ups, bam, we terminated the employee. The VA? Never.
Otherwise, I find the VA to be a great place to work. Most of the old vets are tough, appreciative and are a hoot to talk with. Now, as for the employees, not so much. Most of the physicians are rather laid back, a lot of foreign docs, but for the most part, they are easy to work with, the pace is a lot more enjoyable vs outside hospitals.
I know some VAs are run-down, but the .gov is pouring a lot of money into remodeling a bunch of centers. Hiring is slow, but once your in the .gov, you really have it made as far as transferring and retirement. Nice to travel to different parts of country and know you are still counting toward retirement. Best of luck!