The Truth about working at the " VA"

Specialties Government

Published

I have worked for the VA for ten years. I am a dedicated employee to what the VA does.

The administration and staff leave something to be desired.

THE BAD

1. Housekeeping walks around and goofs off and goes down to smoke all the time.

2. A stat bed has to wait because the housekeeper is on his or her lunch break.. those lunch breaks seem to

last the entire shift.

3. Secretarys are rude in person and on the phone

4. It is the most politically correct place in the world to the point of being annoying. Every picture has

every demographic represented.

5. Although they deny it, I believe they have a quota system for hiring.

6. The administration has no concept of reality when it comes to patient care.

7. People are hired as adminstrators that have no leadership quality what so ever.

8. Time and money are not factors of waste at the VA.

9. The person that works at the front desk in a clinic should be nice to people, all of the time, Some of my

experiences as a veteran have been that this person is normally hostile.

10. It seems that no one ever goes above and beyond the call of duty or to meet the standards, the exception being the patient care staff.

11. Housekeepers cant clean rooms worth a darn in the inpatient settings.

12. Some pharmacists are rude to both nurses and patients at times.

13. Alot of VA nurses have only ever worked at the VA, they have no idea how good they have it, none at all.

and when it comes to being pulled or having a heavy assignment every blue moon, all hell breaks loose.

14. It is sad when the union backs up a nurse who is lazy and has a bad attitude but yet can not be fired.

The GOOD

1. Patients are taken care of for the most part

2. Each hospital has a outpatient pharmacy for the veterans, the wait time is long, but they also deliver via

postal service.

3. They spend alot of money rebuilding things, new computer systems, new equipment

Specializes in ED.

i have to jet in here and add some more good, cause there just wans't enough.

  • the staff i work with in my va er are fanominal. we get along like a well oiled machine and family, and i know they have my back and i have theirs if something happens.
  • the patients i treat here are for the most part kind and respectful people as opposed to the other er i work in.
  • we have social workers that are dedicated mostly to us, so we can get people who are intoxicated, homocidal or suicidal (or just plain crazy) up to psych which at my other place of employment takes many many hours.
  • i definaly have more autonomy and respect from the providers i work with.

    is there anyone else that would like to list something?
Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

I am glad that your staff works like a well oiled machine. I agree with that statement after working tonight, we had three codes... Of course a bunch of physicians come running to the code, stand in the way with their arms crossed asking about stat lab results which have not been even drawn yet. I guess I should have mentioned that I work the night shift, we dont have much ancillary support at night as they do during the day. I guess patients who are admitted in a ICU at night require less staffing.

And yes, most of the patients.. Most are polite, Some are not though. I am also a injured combat veteran, and some of my patients feel compelled to tell me that the reason I have a job is because of them. Thank you Mr. Obvious.. One time though, I had just got back to work after being in the war, I had a patient start telling me how good I had it working in a cushy hospital, blah, blah, blah.... He had this sense of superiority because he served in the Nam. I had literally been home a month from the middle east ( as a combat medic with the infantry) and this fellow had the nerve to tell me how todays soldiers were undisiplined and lazy. I told him that I am glad he felt that way because I just spent the last 18 months in that hell whole myself and said thank you. I dont feel like I have to identify myself as a veteran to earn my patients respect as a health care provider. My work should do that in and of its self.

prison_nurse

62 Posts

Specializes in corrections, psychiatric.

I'd like to see some more responses. I have just been interviewed for an Assistant Chief position at the VA and would like to get the perspectives of people who already work for the VA.

jeckrn, BSN, RN

1,868 Posts

Specializes in EMT, ER, Homehealth, OR.

Patrick, sounds like you have a VA which needs improvement. When a VA is bad or has a problem it goes all over the nation, but if your local hospital has a problem it doesn't make it 50 miles from there. If the US goes to socialized healthcare the whole system will be run like them. Good care but a lot of waste.

jerrylundergard

128 Posts

Specializes in CVICU.
Patrick, sounds like you have a VA which needs improvement. When a VA is bad or has a problem it goes all over the nation, but if your local hospital has a problem it doesn't make it 50 miles from there. If the US goes to socialized healthcare the whole system will be run like them. Good care but a lot of waste.

Globally, Its a myth that socialized healthcare is wastefull. For example, private healthcare in the US costs us nearly 20% of our GDP. In France and Sweden and most other west-euro countries their healthcare tab comes to around 10%. Quite a difference even though everyone of their citizens is covered.

Ive lived over there and their socialized medicine runs great. Our mismanaged, corrupt, and flawed healthcare system shouldnt be indicative of what good socialized medicine is.

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.
Globally, Its a myth that socialized healthcare is wastefull. For example, private healthcare in the US costs us nearly 20% of our GDP. In France and Sweden and most other west-euro countries their healthcare tab comes to around 10%. Quite a difference even though everyone of their citizens is covered.

Ive lived over there and their socialized medicine runs great. Our mismanaged, corrupt, and flawed healthcare system shouldnt be indicative of what good socialized medicine is.

Jerryundergard, the cost of socialized medicine has nothing to do with The Truth about the VA hospital system, but since your a proponent of socialism of medicine, you should exploit all the facts and not a nations GDP. The GDP means nothing in a socialized system, since the citizens are taxed heavily. Please if you want to discuss socialism, go to the socialist health care part all nurses, but what do you think of the care at the VA ?

BBFRN, BSN, PhD

3,778 Posts

Specializes in Trauma,ER,CCU/OHU/Nsg Ed/Nsg Research.

Yes, let's please stick to the topic at hand. Patrick started this thread to discuss pros/cons he has seen with the VA hospital system, and he is correct: socialized medicine can be discussed in the politics forum.

Thanks.

Skeletor

601 Posts

i have worked for the va for ten years. i am a dedicated employee to what the va does.

the administration and staff leave something to be desired.

the bad

1. housekeeping walks around and goofs off and goes down to smoke all the time.

sure they do, they have a union to back them up. no fear of reprimand.

2. a stat bed has to wait because the housekeeper is on his or her lunch break.. those lunch breaks seem to

last the entire shift.

3. secretarys are rude in person and on the phone

4. it is the most politically correct place in the world to the point of being annoying. every picture has

every demographic represented.

5. although they deny it, i believe they have a quota system for hiring.

gee, you think? what hint gave that one away?:lol2:

6. the administration has no concept of reality when it comes to patient care.

7. people are hired as adminstrators that have no leadership quality what so ever.

8. time and money are not factors of waste at the va.

9. the person that works at the front desk in a clinic should be nice to people, all of the time, some of my

experiences as a veteran have been that this person is normally hostile.

better service at the drive-thru of mcdonald's

10. it seems that no one ever goes above and beyond the call of duty or to meet the standards, the exception being the patient care staff.

11. housekeepers cant clean rooms worth a darn in the inpatient settings.

12. some pharmacists are rude to both nurses and patients at times.

13. alot of va nurses have only ever worked at the va, they have no idea how good they have it, none at all.

and when it comes to being pulled or having a heavy assignment every blue moon, all hell breaks loose.

14. it is sad when the union backs up a nurse who is lazy and has a bad attitude but yet can not be fired.

the good

1. patients are taken care of for the most part

2. each hospital has a outpatient pharmacy for the veterans, the wait time is long, but they also deliver via

postal service.

3. they spend alot of money rebuilding things, new computer systems, new equipment

well written points. i couldn't agree more as i have experienced all and much more of the (negative) above.

Editorial Team / Admin

dianah, ASN

8 Articles; 4,144 Posts

Specializes in RETIRED Cath Lab/Cardiology/Radiology.

I have worked at private hospitals, a county hospital and now am working at a VA facility.

I have seen/found all you have described at any of those, to some degree or other.

I have encountered mainly a sense of teamwork at our VA.

We have the equipment (mostly new, and in good working order) that we need in order to best care for our patients.

Our Biomed dept is responsive and polite when called for equipment problems.

Our department superiors are approachable and responsive to our requests and input, doing what they can to facilitate better patient care for our veterans (given financial constraints assigned from above them).

Most of the unit secretaries I encounter are polite and helpful (see my second sentence above), as are most of the nurses (again refer to my second sentence).

On high-stress days (which we all have at times) they may not be as patient but I have not experienced downright rudeness.

From what I have heard, VAs differ, as do all hospitals, from facility to facility, in their strengths and weaknesses.

The VA system is different from a private institution, receiving directives for patient care/IS managment/ etc from the IG 'home office.'

I respectfully disagree, however, with broad, across-the-board judgment statements made about ALL VA facilities, ALL unit secretaries, etc.

Just my two cents. :)

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

I would like to stress that by no means do I want to lump a group of people together as a whole just because they perform a certain occupation at the facility that I am at.

On more than one occasion though, I have heard the phlebotomy techs calling patients out by their last names.

I found this to be very impersonal. Maybe this is cultural with some aspects of our society, and this is done with the military, but the veterans deserved to be called either MR. or Ms. or first and last name. In the culture that I grew up in, you address your customer as Mr. or as Sir or as Ms. or as Maam. Not by last name.

Editorial Team / Admin

dianah, ASN

8 Articles; 4,144 Posts

Specializes in RETIRED Cath Lab/Cardiology/Radiology.

I do agree, patrick1rn.

In our area we address the pts with "Mr." (or the appropriate title) and then, since we will be caring for the pt for the next hr or two, ask what they would like us to call them.

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