Anyone work at the VA hospital?

  1. I was just wondering what it is like in comparsion to other hospitals. I am intrested in the VA in Lexington. Thanks!
  2. Visit crb613 profile page

    About crb613

    Joined: Feb '04; Posts: 1,715; Likes: 542

    14 Comments

  3. by   Lacie
    Been a long time but I did my med/surg clinic at the VA in Lexington and was not all too impressed. (I'm an EKU grad) Being a vet myself and also having been in the VA hospitals both in Lexington and in Pittsburgh as a patient too. The VA hospitals do the best they can for the amount of funding they get but it does lack a great deal comparitive to the private and other public sectors of health care. Remember it is also a "teaching" hospital. During my clinicals when I was literally told not to "interrupt" the resident during rounds as my patient had no pain meds ordered and was a CA patient with severe abdominal ascites. This man was literally screaming in agony. That wait took over 45 minutes!!! When I complained I was told "This is a teaching institution"!! To me that priority was in the wrong place and layed with the rounds over the patients needs as a veteran whom we promise to care for. On the other hand as a patient and being female they had no place to really "put" me as a renal patient so I was placed on the ENT unit lol. I can tell you the care very much lacked and most likely was due to short staffing. I developed a secondary infection related to my IV sites resulting in severe cellulitis. If you are interested in the VA then visit them and request a tour. While your at it ask the nurses. The benefits are great but consider and seriously investigate the work enviroment. I have a service connected disability and I know it's a daily battle with the VA system to get appropriate treatment and involves a great deal of red tape that the civilian systems dont have to deal with when it comes to patient needs. Feel for the poor guys/gals coming home in need of care during these times. Dont get me wrong I'm not dogging the nursing but I am dogging the system as a whole. I will say working with the older veterans and hearing the stories they love to tell is something to be cherished though. Many of them just enjoy the company although it may only be a few minutes at a time. They just want to be heard and appreciated. Keep that in mind if you do take employment there. You will find it is very different then the general hospital population in the civilian sector.
  4. by   crb613
    Thank you so much for your very honest reply. This was kinda what I was thinking, and hoping I was wrong. My dad currently goes to the VA in Lexington, & I know the wait times are long to see his doctor. This really upsets me as I strongly believe these people should be getting the best of care w/all modern medicine has to offer. He will be going this Friday...so I am going to take your advice, & tag along, take a tour, & talk to the nurses. BTW...I noticed you were a pt, & am assuming you are also a vet? I just want to thank you for your service! It means a lot to me.
    Thank you again.
  5. by   Lacie
    Your very welcome. If your in the Lexington area of all the hospitals in that area I would recommend St. Joseph's. Large enough to learn alot but not as big as those like UK (I didnt care much for working at UK as too big that I left there less than 6 months) etc that you get looked over in the mix of things. I was telemetry clinical manager and also worked CTU/CVICU at St Joseph's. They were an excellent employer.
  6. by   crb613
    St. Joe's name keeps coming up as a great place to work. I live about 90 miles south of Lexington, & was hoping to find a work only weekend type program. Actually I was planning to contact St. Joe's today. VA, St. Joe, & Baptist East in Louisville are the 3, I am considering at this time.
    I am a little intimidated as the hospital I work in is a rural one, & the whole M/S has only 40 beds. I would love to stay where I am if they could just get their act together....most of the the people I work with are great...its a couple of mins from home....the admin is terrible. BTW... my sister also went to EKU. Thanks again for your help!
  7. by   Lacie
    Check as St. Joe's used to have a baylor plan for weekenders. I feel for you being in a small rural hospital as I worked in a 90 bed in Louisa (Lawerance Co). Learned a great deal there comparative to the larger hospitals as didnt have all the priviledges such as docs actually in the hospital LOL. If the ER doc was tied up then you toughed it out on your own as you couldnt find anyone else to help. Heck we didnt even have paramedics in the area. I'm originally from Miami so you can imagine the culture shock for me. My husband was from Fleminsburg/Maysville area and there was absolutely nothing there either. I'm now back in my home state. Ky was a nice place to live but I just couldnt tolerate the weather. I will say I think the EKU program is one of the best though!!!!
  8. by   charebec65
    Quote from crb613
    ... BTW... my sister also went to EKU.
    fftopic: I realize this is off topic but..... Go Colonels! (my daughter is a recent grad of EKU and is now teaching in L'Ville....
  9. by   crb613
    LOL...We don't even have pharmacy at night, the charge is also the house supervisor, & we sure don't have doctors at night! We have pt's in M/S that should be in ICU....its full, so is Tele..so we get'em! Nothing like having a pt gored by a bull, chest tube in, ribs/arm broken (among other things)....goes into ards, codes....THEN doc decides to come in, on a ventilator in ICU finally! Yes I am learning a lot!
  10. by   crb613
    Quote from charebec65
    fftopic: I realize this is off topic but..... Go Colonels! (my daughter is a recent grad of EKU and is now teaching in L'Ville....
    Congrats to your daughter! I bleed blue!
  11. by   LisaCRN05
    Hi!

    I have just gone through the lengthy process to get into the VA Hospital in Rhode Island. Has anyone else ever worked at a VA? I'm a little skeptical. Thanks.
  12. by   Janet_B_RN
    Hello, just joined this forum. I work at the Dayton VA Medical Center in SW Ohio. I've been there for 22 months now, and after having many job changes over my nursing career, I know I will never leave this job. There are many good AND bad things about working at the VA. I'll try to be concise and brief.

    GOOD:

    1) 5 weeks paid vacation/year beginning immediately
    2) 10 paid sick days/year, which you can build up to a maximum of 6 months (then it's "use or lose")
    3) 10 paid holidays/year
    4) Free education (includes ALL levels of nursing)
    5) EDRP (Education Debt Reduction Program), which pays off your student loans
    6) Paid CEU's (for example, I went to Southern CA this past May and the VA paid the $480 conference fee, which was all that I asked for, but then they gave me an additional $500.00 for "incidentals" which I used to pay for rental car and hotel AND I got the money UP FRONT!)
    7) EXCELLENT health insurance packages, in fact at my location there are more than 10 different plans to choose from)
    8) NO TIME CLOCKS (at the Dayton location)
    9) Longevity-people who stay never leave! (that's IF they make it through the first few months)
    11) Free Parking
    12) Voluntary membership in UAN-United American Nurses Union
    13) The Vet's need, and DESERVE, great nursing care and not one bit less than that!!!
    14) ALL meds and charting are done on computer, which is a big time saver
    15) And last, but definately not least, THE BEST PAY I've ever gotten in my entire career (and that's 22 years)

    BAD:

    1) You'll hear over and over again when you first start "That's the VA way", which you WILL find very frustrating
    2) The LAZINESS of many of the employees; I find myself saying over and over again, under my breath, "Close enough for government work"
    3) Resistance to change-this system has been around for a long, long time
    4) Patient's getting substandard care from the lazy nurses on your shift (and believe me, this IS an issue)
    5) Feeling frustrated when you try to address the substandard care delivered by the lazy nurses (again, this goes back to resistance to change and seniority of the employee)
    6) Management seems to not care, or listen (but I've encountered that at many jobs I've had)
    7) Rotating Residents every 2 weeks on the units (it IS a teaching facility and the residents have the power, especially on night shift when you have NO ATTENDINGS in the entire facility!)
    8) Less pay if you don't have at least your Bachelor's Degree (you are shown the pay scale before you are even offered the job, and are also told exactly where you will be)
    9) Watching the vets get substandard care by lazy nurses breaks my heart

    TIDBITS:
    - I work CCU/ICU and can tell you that the best nurses with the longest experience work in this area in our hospital-I can't speak for any other VA
    -6 out of the 10 nurses hired just since I've started (22 months) left within the first 6 months. The main two reasons seemed to always be the same: "The VA Way" and every one of the nurses who left had their Associate's Degrees and were upset about the difference in pay between the ADN and BSN (or higher) nurses. BUT, as previously mentioned, the VA pays 100% of tuition and books!
    -if you choose to work nights, you must be a very responsible, independent thinker and bold! Since there are no attendings on nights, you have to be able to "suggest" alot of things the docs need to do, and/or order, if you have a not-so-bright doc on rotation

    Hope this helps!! THE VA NEEDS EXCELLENT NURSES!!!
  13. by   Lacie
    Quote from crb613
    LOL...We don't even have pharmacy at night, the charge is also the house supervisor, & we sure don't have doctors at night! We have pt's in M/S that should be in ICU....its full, so is Tele..so we get'em! Nothing like having a pt gored by a bull, chest tube in, ribs/arm broken (among other things)....goes into ards, codes....THEN doc decides to come in, on a ventilator in ICU finally! Yes I am learning a lot!
    LOL, yep sounds no different. I was also a house supervisor. When I was on shift then I was the pharmacist, the ob/gyn nurse, the ER coverage, lead code nurse and the list goes on. The larger hospitals have no idea just how good they really have it. We started our own art lines and some of us did the intubations when necessary. When I returned to a larger teaching hospital I felt the nurses were so "spoiled". Omg start an IV without the IV Team??? LOL.
  14. by   LisaCRN05
    Thanks so much! That was very helpful. My husband keeps telling me that the benefits are too good to pass up. I've only been a nurse for a year and a half and haven't found my niche. In fact, I have been very discouraged. I was hoping the VA would change that. Thanks for your honest input.

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