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Is the VA a good place to work?

Posted

Specializes in Orthopedic, LTC, STR, Med-Surg, Tele.

Just throwing it out there to get some feedback. I have an interview at the VA coming up, and would like to hear about different experiences.

jfratian, MSN, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 9 years experience.

There are good VAs and bad VAs. I have no idea where you are applying. It's pretty tough to make a blanket statement like that. It would be like asking if Nursing is a good field to work in.

I am an AF nurse working at a joint VA-DOD hospital and I think it's fine (mostly on par with the last civilian hospital I worked at before commissioning). There are plenty of VA nurses who have been around for decades. I can't speak for all VA hospitals.

There are good VAs and bad VAs. I have no idea where you are applying. It's pretty tough to make a blanket statement like that. It would be like asking if Nursing is a good field to work in.

I am an AF nurse working at a joint VA-DOD hospital and I think it's fine (mostly on par with the last civilian hospital I worked at before commissioning). There are plenty of VA nurses who have been around for decades. I can't speak for all VA hospitals.

You will often hear, "If you've seen one VA hospital, you've seen ONE VA hospital", and the environment and the quality of the people you would be working with can even vary widely from floor to floor within the same hospital.

jeckrn, BSN, RN

Specializes in EMT, ER, Homehealth, OR. Has 17 years experience.

I enjoyed the VA I worked at it was a good facility. Like the others have stated each facility is different and depending on the leadership while you were there also makes a difference. The one thing about VA is the federal government red tape. You will not see things change as fast a VA as you would a stand alone civilian hospital.

Morainey, BSN, RN

Specializes in Orthopedic, LTC, STR, Med-Surg, Tele.

Thanks for the responses! I guess it is pretty vague. Most of the nurses I know who used to work at the VA say they wish they had never left, which I take to be a good sign, but they have been out of the VA for years.

I've worked at the VA in my community for 7 years now (Since I graduated from nursing school). Choosing to work here is the best decision Ive ever made. The pay is much more than other hospitals and I thorougly enjoy the work that I do.

The VA is an awesome place to work! I have worked there for 8 years, 4 in dialysis and 4 in primary care. Pay and benefits are great, autonomy and self governance, encouragement to take initiative and try new things, the interdisciplinary teamwork with mental health and pharmacy and social work and schedulers, etc. I Love going to work. But like it was mentioned, cultures can vary from place to place but it is worth your time!

ORTech2RN

Has 7 years experience.

Benefits are unmatched, IMO. You will have a choice of healthcare plans. We chose Blue Cross Basic Federal employees and have found it to be the best health care plan we've ever had. Dental and eyecare (FEDVIP) is solid as well. Some will say that then retirement system, FERS, is not as good as the old federal retirement plan. However, good luck finding a job these days that pays an annuity at retirement. FERS is basically social security, annuity and your thrift savings plan all bundled into one.

You will accrue 8 hours of Annual leave every 2 weeks, and 4 hours of sick time. It basically boils down to 5 weeks of AL a year. If you have self scheduling in your unit, you can schedule days off around AL and come away with nearly 2 weeks off. As far as sick time, use sparingly. I see some who use a bunch of sick time as mental health days. I generally only call in when I'm sick with a stomach virus or running a fever. This year I was hit hard with pneumonia and was forced to miss 2 weeks of work. Fortunately I had some sick time banked, but anymore absences and I would have been forced to appeal for LWOP (leave without pay).

Overall, it's a good place to work. We have great teamwork on my unit, and the staff are very good with the veterans.

I have worked at the VA for 6 years, it is a great place to work. Benefits, Union, set staffing ratios, it makes the private sector look like a joke!

In my experience, those that complain the most about working at VA have not had any jobs other than Federal ones, or haven't worked in the private sector for many, MANY years. Having an easy comparison between the two, I'm VERY happy to be with VA :) :)

lidleanjel

Has 4 years experience.

I love working in the VA I am employed with. There are problems everywhere, but it's the patients that makes this job the best. Maybe I am bias because I have a military wife myself, but I don't want to work anywhere else ever again.

I love working at the VA! I received hands down better benefits and pay than my previous hospital employer. And less stress also!! I plan on retiring from there. :up:

Has anyone had any experience working as a NP in the VA (Cleveland); I'm considering a position there, have interviewed and it looks good but it's a 45 -50 minute commute in good weather...trying to decide if benefits etc would make it worth the drive...

PG2018

Specializes in Outpatient Psychiatry.

I'm doing a lot of my intern work, for my APRN program, at a VA facility. I really like it there. I'd like to go to work there. However, they pay about 65% of what I could make elsewhere, and regardless of insurance, retirement, that's not a lot of money comparatively speaking. Yeah, I know you go to work there to help, etc., but still the salary needs to be more competitive.

I recently started working at the Orlando va medical center and i love it. They are very self aware of the public's opinion on the va and try their hardest to fight that reputation.

OUxPhys, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiology. Has 4 years experience.

I recently got hired full time at the VA after spending 2.5 years at a large hospital. I loved my old unit but they just didnt pay well. I got a pay raise by switching to the VA. Additionally, I am a vet so I can buy back my 4 years of military time towards my retirement. A lot of senior nurses on my floor and we all get along great, help each other out. Another perk of the VA is if you want to transfer to a different VA in another state your license is covered.

tt2323, BSN

Specializes in Primary Care/ Trauma. Has 12 years experience.

The VA does have a lot of great benefits and the pay is comparable or better then outside. Of course every VA is different as well depending on what time of area you are working in.

BrendaH84, BSN

Has 8 years experience.

i keep reading about the great retirement benifits. what are they? most large companies match IRA contributions at 6%, and i have good health insurance. also only a VET working at the VA gets a pension in 2018, so what is good about retirement benefits an R.N. who is not a former military person?