Veterns Hospital vs. Regular hospital

  1. I a NS that starts in April. I would like to know if there is anyone her that has ever worked in a Veterns Hospital? How do they differ from your everyday hospital other than the fact that those you would care for in the Veterns Hospital is Veterns that has been injured in the war. Not to be taking the Veterns Lightly. I have a son that is leaving in about 3 weeks to go to Iraq. I have a very very special place in my heart for the very brave men and women.
    I personally think I would Absolutely love to work in an veterns hospital in order to give these fine men and women who unfortunatley have been injured, the best possible care that I am capable to give. I think in my mind, this would be kinda like me giving back to them what so many have freely given to us. I think that would be an honor.
    But, how are these VH different from the regular hospital? If any? Please give me opinions on your thoughts of veterns hospital.
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    About Bella Donna

    Joined: Jan '07; Posts: 77; Likes: 2
    Being a mom, and wife, and maid
    Specialty: 4 year(s) of experience in hospice, and home health


  3. by   Daytonite
    i worked in a large va hospital for 5 years. as far as the kind of hospital services that are provided, there isn't much difference from any other acute hospital. the difference is in the staff and the air about the facility. a good number of the staff are former military, many were nurses or corpsman. so, they are accustomed to using the military jargon that you will hear used there. i've never worked in any other facility that had so many male nurses either. not that i am complaining. it really was nice. while we did occasionally have female patients, it was very, very rare. the patients were almost all male. you can lose the idea that all the patients are veterans who were injured in the line of duty. that just isn't so. we had patients with many of the same kind of medical problems that you would see in any acute hospital. one thing that i never quite got over was the incredibly long stays of some of the patients. the va can do this. many patients were homeless and had no where else to go, so they were just kept on as inpatients until their conditions were resolved. the facility also offers many types of assistance to vets so there are people coming into the facility on an outpatient basis for treatment or some type of service. also, each va hospital is specialized in caring for certain types of patients. for example, the va facility in brecksville, ohio is strictly a psychiatric facility. the va in columbia, missouri does open heart surgery. another va will specialize in brain surgery. another in drug and alcohol rehab. patients will be transferred between these va facilities if they need the specialized care and services provided at one of these facilities. the hospital i worked in had a section of domiciles for homeless vets. homeless vets could get a room for the night there in a special wing that was set up for this. almost every va hospital is a research facility with a large group of doctors on staff who are actively engaged in medical research. medical students and residents often make rotations through these hospitals and provide most of the patient care. the research docs only had to see patients clinically on a full time basis for a total of 3 or 4 months out of each year. the remainder of the time they holed up in their research labs. if you work for a va you can pretty much expect to be involved in some kind of research that will be going on. you may be required to help collect data in some way or another. someone or some department is always involved in some kind of research project. these projects bring money into the facility. when i was working there we were one of the few hospitals in the country that was trialing the spring loaded retractable iv stylets on iv needles long before they came out on the market nationwide as part of a research study. i think the one thing that overwhelmed me at first was that the patients were never in their rooms. it seemed that as soon as they got their breakfast, they were off and gone. in some cases they would take a bus and go downtown and return later in the day. there were many places in the facility for the patients to go to occupy their time. our hospital had 12 floors. there were a number of different lounges and games rooms where they could "hang out". consequently, you constantly heard patients being paged to return to their rooms. something that many people don't know is that your boss is the u.s. government. as long as you have a nursing license in any one of the 50 united states you are permitted to practice in a va hospital, even if you don't have an active license in that particular state. also, you will be investigated by the fbi as part of your employment. this investigation is completed during your first 12 months of employment.

    i don't want to dissolution you. i know you think of many vets as being brave. please take off the glasses with the rose colored lenses. military service was rarely discussed. many people go to the va hospitals because they do not have the insurance coverage to go to the community hospitals for care. in many cases you are working with poor and indigent people. some are homeless. there is a high incidence of alcohol and drug abuse among vets. and, unless things have changed in the past few years, many are heavy smokers as well. some of the circumstances you will see are extremely sad. consequently, a fair number of social workers and va volunteers are working very hard to find community resources for the patients. there are a lot of va volunteers helping out.
  4. by   traumaRUs
    Daytonite I couldn't have said it better. I worked at the Indianapolis VA hospital for a couple of years in their MICU/CCU. I am a military vet (USN) married to a retired AIr Force guy. I think there are more female patients now. However, (and I must be blunt here), most of us veterans and military retirees make way too much money to even think about receiving care at the VA. As a result, you see service-connected illnesses/injuries from their military service. You also see many poor and homeless folks with lots of substance abuse issues and the attending lack of medical care.

    Plus, there is a huge wait for services. I live near Peoria, IL - (central IL) and we have a small VA clinic here without so much as an xray machine. They send patients to Danville VA (120 miles away) or to Indy (250 miles away). Its not the most efficient system.

    All of that said, the benefits are terrific. I have over 11 years with the federal government and loved it for the most part. I know the VA was realigning though and only taking BSN grads - you might want to check into that too.

    Good luck.
  5. by   Achoo!
    I just finished a clinical rotation at our VA hospital- (rated #1 by the way- go Madison!). I was on a cardiac unit and absolutely loved it. I can't say much about the politics, but the patients and staff were wonderful, and I got to see some amazing things. This hospital does transplants so I was introduced to alot of treatments and medications I otherwise would not have been exposed to. They pay for nurses is wonderful as well.
  6. by   ladyinred667
    I am doing my clinicals at a VA hospital right now. I'm on a MedSurg/Oncology floor. The only difference I could see between this and a regular hospital is that as Daytonite said, female patients are very rare, and there is a high incidence of alcohol abuse. Just about every patient I have had has some sort of alcohol related medical problem. Most are older. And no, they are not there for service related injury (at least not on my floor).One other thing, I guess, is that the hospital bldg is so much more than acute care. There are doctors' offices, a tax free shop, and a pharmacy.

    I've found it a great place to do my clinicals. The only not-so-great part was taking two days to fill out paperwork and get fingerprinted at the beginning of our rotation.
  7. by   Bella Donna
    I want to thank all of you for your input. I did not mean to state that they would treat only injured vets, if I did I am very sorry. I am just trying to think about where I would like to work. I have done hospice care, and LTC (not for me) and homehealth care. I apologise if I misrepresented the statement about VA hospitals. It would not bother me that their are more men there than women. But I truly would like to thank each and everyone of you of replied, I enjoyed reading your responses.
  8. by   ladyinred667
    You don't have to apologize! I personally just want you to have a good idea what the VA is and is not. I have heard it is a great place to work with wonderful benefits. Good for you doing your research!
  9. by   Bella Donna
    Thanks for all of ya'lls input. I truly appreciate it. I am getting very nervous about starting NS, I have read some horror stories on here and it has scared the bejesus out of me. But I will not give up, because I feel this is what I was put on this earth to do. Be A DARN GOOD NURSE! So I refuse to give up now.