VA/Govt Nurse Satisfaction - page 5

I would like to hear from VA nurses or US govt nurses. Do you like your jobs, pay and benefits? Two of my friends worked for the VA Dallas hospital and they reported the med surg/ ICU staffing was... Read More

  1. by   va nurse
    Hi 4ZBirds,
    I'm so sorry to hear that you are having such trouble using your leave. It sounds like you happened into a poorly managed V.A. hospital unit. They are probably perpetually understaffed due to staff members leaving for the reasons you listed. They are in a viscious cycle and "can't see the forest for the trees". Before giving up on the V.A., have you considered moving to another postition at your hospital or even to a different city? At the very least, let someone know how all of you feel. Come January, if I understand correctly, the V.A. will no longer be able to use mandatory overtime. Have you heard of this? I wish you luck in finding a better position.

    VA Nurse





    Quote from 4ZBirds
    I'm about to bail on my VA staff RN position....have been there less than a year, was told in a staff meeting today that it didn't matter that we newer nurses earned 5 wks leave per year, all we were assured of getting is 1 week during 'premium' season (June-Sept) otherwise more senior staff get their picks and they could cancel ours out at will (they are all on an open calendar, viewable to everyone).

    Manager then said I and other newbies might not get any leave this coming year if it conflicts with that of longer-term hires; there are over 20 nurses on the floor and only one can go at a time due to 'patient needs' (the ever-present excuse for denying everything and mandating overtime, which is daily for some poor unlucky nurse).

    What good is lots of annual leave-one of the main VA benes- if you can't use it?

    Another reason I will likely leave is I've only gotten 2 days off in a row once during the past 6 wks, and that wasn't even on a weekend. Have been doing day/eves with just one day off between shift changes, talk about no life! It's wearing me out, plain and simple.

    Hope your VA has better management.

    4ZBirds
    Sad and disappointed
  2. by   Birdwatcher1
    Thank you VA Nurse for the encouragement; I do love serving the veterans and this facility is just 10 minutes fromhome. I did not know about the mandated OT going away, I will check that out--sure hope it's applicable here!

    I and some other new nurses on that unit have a meeting with the DON today to tell her (again) we are between a rock and a hard place. I am hoping to transfer within the hospital but openings are few and far between, and are primarily done to satisfy union reqs as a person has already (unofficially) been chosen. Plus although I have a BSN I have been a nurse <4 yrs and most positions require at least that.

    You are right about the poorly managed unit. The manager has a pet who gets away with amazingly dangerous things that are also against practice standards and some are downright illegal. She's been written up many times and people who write her up become her enemies, subject to all sorts of things. That's another vicious cycle I was unaware of when I was hired on here.

    Anyway please keep your fingers crossed for us!

    4ZBirds

    Quote from va nurse
    Hi 4ZBirds,
    I'm so sorry to hear that you are having such trouble using your leave. It sounds like you happened into a poorly managed V.A. hospital unit. They are probably perpetually understaffed due to staff members leaving for the reasons you listed. They are in a viscious cycle and "can't see the forest for the trees". Before giving up on the V.A., have you considered moving to another postition at your hospital or even to a different city? At the very least, let someone know how all of you feel. Come January, if I understand correctly, the V.A. will no longer be able to use mandatory overtime. Have you heard of this? I wish you luck in finding a better position.

    VA Nurse
  3. by   va nurse
    I'm happy that I may have shown you some options. I believe that the overtime rule is mandated V.A. wide for January. You should definitely bring it up. It is amazing how similar the V.A. that you work for sounds to the one that I work for. I have run into the same sort of problems; not so much with O.T. but definitely with pre-selection of positions and promotions. EEOC should be involved in such illegal activity. I guess one of the reasons that I refuse to let them discourage me is because I'm a Vet. In fact, I'm a 10-point Vet with a 30% service connected disability. They are not going to run me off. I have worked in 4 different positions in the last 6-years. The advantage of this is that I'm getting a broader picture of how things are run and how they fit together. I'm considering moving to another city in the future. Hang in there.

    va nurse

    Quote from 4ZBirds
    Thank you VA Nurse for the encouragement; I do love serving the veterans and this facility is just 10 minutes fromhome. I did not know about the mandated OT going away, I will check that out--sure hope it's applicable here!

    I and some other new nurses on that unit have a meeting with the DON today to tell her (again) we are between a rock and a hard place. I am hoping to transfer within the hospital but openings are few and far between, and are primarily done to satisfy union reqs as a person has already (unofficially) been chosen. Plus although I have a BSN I have been a nurse <4 yrs and most positions require at least that.

    You are right about the poorly managed unit. The manager has a pet who gets away with amazingly dangerous things that are also against practice standards and some are downright illegal. She's been written up many times and people who write her up become her enemies, subject to all sorts of things. That's another vicious cycle I was unaware of when I was hired on here.

    Anyway please keep your fingers crossed for us!

    4ZBirds
  4. by   Mais-Rose
    Quote from 4ZBirds
    I'm about to bail on my VA staff RN position....have been there less than a year, was told in a staff meeting today that it didn't matter that we newer nurses earned 5 wks leave per year, all we were assured of getting is 1 week during 'premium' season (June-Sept) otherwise more senior staff get their picks and they could cancel ours out at will (they are all on an open calendar, viewable to everyone).

    Manager then said I and other newbies might not get any leave this coming year if it conflicts with that of longer-term hires; there are over 20 nurses on the floor and only one can go at a time due to 'patient needs' (the ever-present excuse for denying everything and mandating overtime, which is daily for some poor unlucky nurse).

    What good is lots of annual leave-one of the main VA benes- if you can't use it?

    Another reason I will likely leave is I've only gotten 2 days off in a row once during the past 6 wks, and that wasn't even on a weekend. Have been doing day/eves with just one day off between shift changes, talk about no life! It's wearing me out, plain and simple.

    Hope your VA has better management.

    4ZBirds
    Sad and disappointed
    4ZBirds, your VA sounds an awful lot like my VA. I have been there less than one year as well, and I have seen at least 5 RN's and a few LPN,s resign. I feel like I am right behind them. I truly am shocked at the way things are. It is not only one area that is lacking, it is a total breakdown. Many people say it that way where ever you go, but I have been at at least two other hospitals and the only things I can complain about are the things that are an evidence of nationwide nursing shortage, e.g high patient to nurse ratio, working short staffed, or being pulled to other floors. The other things here at the VA leave me permanently jaw-dropped, and shaking in my boots. Anyhow, here's hoping another job will come available soon. I don't believe VA nursing is for me.
  5. by   mak2
    I have worked for the VA for years and love 90%, which is about 50% more than anywhere else I have worked. There are some incredibly lazy people working for the government that cannot be fired. It is difficult to get nurse 3. Hey, wonder if I can call this posting being published? But other than that it really is all good. My wife works at another hospital and I know how much they make really. We make lots more. Vacation time really makes my wife mad.
  6. by   clc79092
    I would not work for the VA for love or money! When I graduated the first and only place I applied was the VA. That is where I wanted to be even though they paid a little less than the other local hospitals. I interveiwed and was told the job was mine. I did my physical and the doctor went on vacation before filing her report. Every week for 10 weeks I was told I had the job they just needed to get the doctors report to give me a start date. After the doctor returned from her vaction she had lost everything. I was called and asked to come to her office for a few questions. When I arrived I had to redo the complete physical including 14 x-rays. Finally after 10 weeks of frustration I was told I could not work for the government since I had had knee surgery 10 years previously (arthroscopic). The lady (and I use that term very loosely) running HR was smug and took great delight in telling me I was not a fit candidate for a nurse for the government. I did not meet their high standards. I graduated with honors. I went that day to another hospital applied, interviewed and was hired the next day. I work in a telemetry/ stepdown unit. The 12 hour shifts have never bother my knee either. If the government needs nurses too bad they can just stuff it.
  7. by   Birdwatcher1
    va nurse, I am again hoping you are right about the end of mandating in January (except in case of disaster/bad storm, of course)...today I worked, it's a holiday weekend and 3 people called off, so 2 were mandated and 1 floated from another unit. I am still new enough they didn't make me stay but it will happen soon enough. BTW more people quit this week so they will never reach their staff goal anyway, which is their excuse for not making our schedule 'normal' again-and the carrot they dangle in front of us. Time for me to get serious about getting out! :stone

    4ZBirds
  8. by   Hoozdo
    Quote from clc79092
    I would not work for the VA for love or money! When I graduated the first and only place I applied was the VA. That is where I wanted to be even though they paid a little less than the other local hospitals. I interveiwed and was told the job was mine. I did my physical and the doctor went on vacation before filing her report. Every week for 10 weeks I was told I had the job they just needed to get the doctors report to give me a start date. After the doctor returned from her vaction she had lost everything. I was called and asked to come to her office for a few questions. When I arrived I had to redo the complete physical including 14 x-rays. Finally after 10 weeks of frustration I was told I could not work for the government since I had had knee surgery 10 years previously (arthroscopic). The lady (and I use that term very loosely) running HR was smug and took great delight in telling me I was not a fit candidate for a nurse for the government. I did not meet their high standards. I graduated with honors. I went that day to another hospital applied, interviewed and was hired the next day. I work in a telemetry/ stepdown unit. The 12 hour shifts have never bother my knee either. If the government needs nurses too bad they can just stuff it.
    Hi all,
    Ruh row, how intense is this physical? I am a new grad ADN that accepted a job with the VA earilier this week. My physical is on 1/4. I had a liver transplant six years ago. If people are flunking the physical due to arthroscopic knee surgery........just imagine what they will think of me Should I be concerned?
    Thanks!
    Last edit by Hoozdo on Oct 7, '10
  9. by   mak2
    the intensity of the physical must be a regional thing. I remember taking one, but it was certainly no big deal. I think I had an ekg but did not need a CXR, because the TB test did not convert.
  10. by   newnurse2005
    My physical was no problem at all. Blood, drug, and TB tests were about it for me. Also, a basic eye exam and hearing test. They asked for a detailed health history, but I didn't think it was a big deal. I think it all depends on the healthcare provider doing the assessment. Good luck!
  11. by   Hoozdo
    Thanks for the replies guys and gals. I will let you know if I flunk or pass! If I flunk I guess it was meant to be, but I have a couple of other jobs lined up. I would REALLY like that 26 days of vacation though!
  12. by   Hoozdo
    Quote from lu_ann
    Thanks for the replies guys and gals. I will let you know if I flunk or pass! If I flunk I guess it was meant to be, but I have a couple of other jobs lined up. I would REALLY like that 26 days of vacation though!
    Well, to follow up..........I am now in nursing orientation, but I still don't know if I have passed the physical! The physical was pretty thorough - labs, xrays, EKG and I had to get a note from my own doctor stating I was OK to work in a hospital setting. I should find out Tuesday whether I passed or not. If not, the government owes me one week's pay though.
  13. by   djv
    As a Nam Vet, I have been in a few VA hospital in my time, some are bad and then some are great. The bad ones are that way cause most of the people that work there don't have the love for there job, just there to get a check. Then all these office personnel are working everyday to keep there job and that they don't care as well.
    The hospital I go to are union and that is one of the major problems here. The union don't do nothing but take the money and will not support the employees. Then you will fine the DON etc, if you are not in there click then you no body, and they to fight each day to keep there job. So over all folks, the Va's can be a great place to work, but take my advice and really do your home work on the VA be for you get hired, being there as a patient and employed, if you like to no more info on the VA I am talking about and tell you more fell free to email me and I will do what I can.

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