VA Reputation vs Private Sector

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    This is my first time to post but have read for a while. I'm just curious how working for the VA compares to working in a "regular" hospital. From what I have researched, the benefits at the VA outweigh the others by far but, I'm wondering why every time I mention the possibility of working at the VA I get the same response... "Eeeewww, are you sure you want to work there?" Does it have an underserved reputation or is it really that bad? From what I've read on these boards, 99% of the VA nurses seems to love their jobs - maybe it's just OKC?

    I'm getting ready to graduate with a BSN, have no prior healthcare experience but have several other degrees and have had my own business for about 20 years, which I will continue to work. The VA seems like population with which I want to work, but after all the comments, I'm a bit leery.

    Does anyone work at the VA in Oklahoma City? Do you like it? I'm planning on making a visit to the hospital and doing a little investigative work to see what the general consensus is amongst the nurses and staff. However, I thought I might get a more candid response if provided a little anonymity. Anything you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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  3. 5 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    Hmmmmm... Maybe I should post this in Oklahoma Nurses?
  5. 1
    I've been a VA nurse since February, after having worked as a (2nd career) RN for 4 years in the private sector.

    The hiring process is long & drawn out. Plan on about 4-6 months from application to actually working at the VA (assuming that you're hired following application).

    The patients are amazing. Very appreciative. Yes, there are some who are a pain, but such is life.

    My coworkers are generally dedicated, with a few mega-slackers added in for spice.

    In my ICU, I have seen no shortcuts compared to the patient care offered at my prior hospital.

    Yes, the VA did have a horrible reputation for pt care years ago, and the patients will tell you about it. My current pts, on the other hand, will tell you how the quality of care has improved over the years.
    SummitRN likes this.
  6. 0
    I'm not familiar with the Oklahoma City VA but I worked in medsurg at a VA in the midwest for 1.5 years after graduating. I left to pursue critical care in the private sector as there were no openings within the VA. Needless to say, I am returning to the VA after only 7 months as I quickly realized how much I loved working in the VA system. The atmosphere can't be beat- wonderful patients, co-workers and nurse satisfaction, at least in my opinion. The grass is not always greener.
  7. 0
    Quote from CrufflerJJ
    I've been a VA nurse since February, after having worked as a (2nd career) RN for 4 years in the private sector.

    The hiring process is long & drawn out. Plan on about 4-6 months from application to actually working at the VA (assuming that you're hired following application).

    The patients are amazing. Very appreciative. Yes, there are some who are a pain, but such is life.

    My coworkers are generally dedicated, with a few mega-slackers added in for spice.

    In my ICU, I have seen no shortcuts compared to the patient care offered at my prior hospital.

    Yes, the VA did have a horrible reputation for pt care years ago, and the patients will tell you about it. My current pts, on the other hand, will tell you how the quality of care has improved over the years.
    The hiring process is definitely long! If you can get past that hurdle you will more than likely love it. I work in a unit where the nurses know their stuff. I've never seen such a smart group and our vets love us. While is sounds mushy, I must say that taking care of veterans is very rewarding!
    ~krw~
  8. 0
    Thank you for your replies. A friend's son just graduated from medical school and he did a few rotations through the VA. He said the only drawback he can see is they seem to be short-staffed and the nurses many times are required to work longer hours. I know the patients and their families would be a pleasure to serve so will continue with my research. I'm not too concerned about the slackers. I've seen them at EVERY hospital I've been to - I think they're unavoidable. At this point in my life, the retirement benefits are very important and the VA appears hard to beat! I requested a preceptorship at the VA but I don't think that is even a possibility. We shall see... Thanks again for taking the time to respond!!!


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