I keep getting told by older nurses to do the VA

  1. I happened to apply for a position and even though their on a freeze in my area I was selected and going through the process.

    The position is 8 hours shift compared to my 12 I am used to.
    I currently am getting my masters in mental health NP.
    36 yr old.

    I am trying to figure out why everyone says "DO IT". I see the benefits and I hear four sides of a two sided coin.

    HELP ME understand why I should be as happy as everyone else is for me!
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   caliotter3
    I have never met anyone who worked for the VA that did not sing its praises as a place to work.
  4. by   jeckrn
    No call offs is one benefit.
  5. by   puravidaLV
    See that's the thing. Everyone sings like angles are coming down from the heavens for me. The red sea of tape has parted and now I am one of the chosen.

    I keep hearing retirement, yet again I am in school to be a NP.

    I am one of the lucky ones that never get called off as well. I am wondering salary versus hourly. Right now my wage is not "determined" till after the process. I make a good 32/hr OT a plentiful when I want it. Yet, I don't get any health insurance due to my wife getting amazing benefits from her company.
  6. by   jeckrn
    The VA is like any other employer, there are good points and bad points. The benefits are wonderful, where else do you get 26 days of vacation a year to start along with 13 sick days. The insurance is very good, but on the expensive side. The wages vary, if you stay there for a long time they are better then the private sector but at first they are on the low end. Getting things done can be difficult because of the federal government red tape. I enjoyed my time working at the VA but others hated it.
  7. by   caliotter3
    If you are not impressed with the idea of working there, then don't accept the position. It sounds as if you are happy with your present job.
  8. by   ontheway2crna
    You could work at any VA in the country without getting that state's license... I think that flexibility is nice to have.
  9. by   CraigB-RN
    Another thing to look at is as an NP you can move up the chain, and not have to "start over" You will still be collecting seniority, retirement, etc. AND it doesn't ahve to be in the same place you are now. Once you graduate and have license, and you decide you want to move to another state, It's possible to do that with the VA and not have to go through a complete licensing thing all along.

    The red tape parted fo me and I start just after Christmas.

    p.s. weekend night differential is 45%
  10. by   RNsRWe
    Quote from jeckrn
    The VA is like any other employer, there are good points and bad points. The benefits are wonderful, where else do you get 26 days of vacation a year to start along with 13 sick days. The insurance is very good, but on the expensive side. The wages vary, if you stay there for a long time they are better then the private sector but at first they are on the low end. Getting things done can be difficult because of the federal government red tape. I enjoyed my time working at the VA but others hated it.
    I counted 18 medical plans alone (not including dental and vision ones) and they ranged from very inexpensive to very expensive. Have you looked at what medical insurance can (and does!) cost in the private sector businesses that employ nurses? I could not afford the insurance plans at two jobs I was offered, before VA came along for me; I turned down those jobs. I had another interim job, but still couldn't take out their insurance, it was so expensive!

    FWIW, one of the major benefits of a Federal employer is the shear volume of options for personal insurance plans, savings plans, retirement plans. Options NOT available to most outside of gov't employ. Just my two cents.
  11. by   RNsRWe
    Quote from puravidaLV
    See that's the thing. Everyone sings like angles are coming down from the heavens for me. The red sea of tape has parted and now I am one of the chosen.

    I keep hearing retirement, yet again I am in school to be a NP.

    I am one of the lucky ones that never get called off as well. I am wondering salary versus hourly. Right now my wage is not "determined" till after the process. I make a good 32/hr OT a plentiful when I want it. Yet, I don't get any health insurance due to my wife getting amazing benefits from her company
    .
    And as long as your boss doesn't decide to trim expenses by cutting your overtime, or cutting your job out completely, then that's fine. But unless you have a great union backing you....you're always expendable. While people are wrong to think that Federal employees don't get fired (they do) they aren't let go on a whim, or just because the CEO/owner of the practice needs another house.

    Insurance through your wife is great, unless and until she finds herself on the losing end of the economy as well, and finds her benefits cut...or her job cut. Just something to think about.

    Bottom line is you have to want to do this. If not, you won't stay long and will have wasted everyone's time, including your own. If you don't want the job, you should let someone else who wants that opportunity grab it. But don't say we didn't warn ya!
  12. by   jeckrn
    I am not sure what you mean about salary, at the VA you are hourly unless you are management. Most federal job's are listed by their yearly pay vs hourly pay rate.
  13. by   RNsRWe
    Quote from jeckrn
    I am not sure what you mean about salary, at the VA you are hourly unless you are management. Most federal job's are listed by their yearly pay vs hourly pay rate.
    I'm an RN who was quoted a salary when HR called to inform me of the Board decision (on pay, I was already selected).

    I'm paid hourly, like the rest of nursing, but they do phrase it as a salary. Even the USAjobs website shows the salary range, not hourly rate range. Maybe it sounds better

    Come to think of it, my pay/leave statement shows BOTH: salary AND hourly rates broken down.
  14. by   jeckrn
    That was how my LES was listed when I worked at the VA.

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