Veterans who can't get hired by the VA

 
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Veterans who can't get hired by the VA

My title above is inelegant, but that is essentially what Fox8 found out in this story:

The Marines had a famous recruiting ad saying; they were, “Looking for a few good men.”

With all the headlines the Veterans Administration has made over the past few years, you’d think they would be looking for a few good men and women too. But it seems that some of the best -- even ones who are veterans themselves -- are being overlooked by the agency.

“I think I have a lot to offer them,” says Julie Lindner. Her resume seems to indicate so. She has a Ph.D. and a number of other certifications as a psychological counselor. Oh, and she is a 23-year veteran of the armed services.

Despite that, Lindner says, “They won’t hire me as a psychologist and they used to not think about me as a licensed professional counselor.” The reason? Part of Lindner’s education comes from an online course that the VA has listed in its system as not good enough.

“That tells me that they need to change the system,” says Lorin Price.

That in and of itself isn't as bad as what you see when you watch the video:

 

 

"Altough the VA warned us to not use too broad a brush..."

In the amount of time it took them to formulate a response to Fox8, they could have corrected this issue, hired both of these veterans, and turned the entire story around.

I honestly don't understand the thinking sometimes.  I've never been a huge fan of setting certain metrics for hiring someone anyway.  Would I rather have a person fresh out of college writing for me, or a 30 year public affairs NCO from the military?  Obviously the second.   If my criteria blocks those people out, my thinking would be to change the criteria, not dissemble why we didn't hire them.

Posted in the burner | 22 comments
 
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Served as corpsman also received nursing license and Va still won't hire to school not fitting one of there accrediting bodies! Ridiculous have worked Er's for years but not for the VA to help serve my brothers and sisters

If you have a state license, and degree then your application is reviewed by the human resources and the VA Nursing Board. Many RN's are hired contract 1 year and 1 day, and they remain contract until boarded. In many cases the board is family and friends, I actually worked for the VA in 92 as a nursing assistant, and could not get hired after I received my RN, ADN and state licensure, and was an Army veteran of Desert Storm. I left and branched into the prison system which was very similar to the VA structure, whereby there was minimal staffing and a high degree of responsibility. The VA does hire veterans, but it also depends on family, friends and educational level. Veterans who work for the VA must conform to their mindset, group think and policies. The VA had a large amount of WWII and Korean War Veterans, The majority now are Vietnam and Cold War veterans who are financially strapped due to retirement or age related health disabilities. Younger Iraq and Afghanistan vets do not focus on VA health care unless they a disabled or wounded. The future of the VA will be in legislative review as community standards of care evolve. The VA also rations care, and has complex guidelines which impede access to care and treatment. Back in the 80's the clinics would be filled with WWII vets, they would schedule all the appointments for 0730 am and a hundred guys sitting in the lobby. Then the contract specialty Physician would cancel his visit, and the residents and PS's would quickly see the patients and schedule them to return 6 months later. The manipulation of the scheduling system has been going on for many years. The VA cannot maintain cardiologists, nephrologists, dermatologists and specialists. Many of the older physicians were foreign medical graduates, and the physician assistants were certified from the military. Some Nurse Practitioners had Associate Degrees with Certificates as NP's, whereby RN's with BSN and MSN degrees were expected to follow their orders. My Nurse Manager had a MSN and was an Officer in the Army Reserves, and very supportive. But the higher level executives and directors make the decisions, and many are Senior Executive Service and have no history of military service. The VA's role is to protect the military services and protect the federal government from law suits. Many soldiers who have been injured, wounded or experimented while on active duty or serving in the reserves must rely on the VA for care. Atomic testing, Agent Orange, Sarin and Mustard Gas exposure, Biological Agents, and experimental Vaccines are just some of the issues. The VA is a different animal which will most likely become privatized. But those veterans who have been subjected to contaminated water, depleted uranium and radiation, coupled with microwave energy and toxic chemicals, will most likely have a difficult time finding care from primary physicians and hospitals who are unaware of the military experiments and occupational risks undertaken by service men and women. Some of the jobs at the VA are very difficult, and some are plush pencil pushing jobs. You have to experience the VA to know what it's really like....

I had a similar experience. I took the federal employment test for the US Post Office. It was sent to me the results. I should of been on top of the list (disabilty and score total). There was an opening. went to the interview and was told the job was no longer open. They the changed description and I received no notification. Someone else received the job. it was no different in my active duty time (13 years). Everyone takes care of their friends. I've seen jobs removed from the actual military slots and moved to the private sector. One guy retired from the services after the removal and came back the next day and sat down at the same desk doing the job after a substantial pay increase.

Wow, worked as a rural carrier for a year. Had to use my own car, and maintain it. Went through about 5 sets of brakes, numerous flat tires, from driving on the side of the road with glass, nails rocks and whatever to puncture the tires. You had to go fast, it was a 9 hour route, If I got it done in 4 hours I was paid $9/hr if I got it done in 12 hours I was paid $9/hour. I got the hang of fingering mail while driving and passing mail through the passenger window. Started at 6 am and cased my own mail, then out the door for delivery. Was done in 5 hours---in the summer. Then winter came and the road conditions changed, snow ice, 12 inches or 2 feet of snow, the mail does not stop. Then the holiday Christmas mail started, box holders, phone books , publishers clearing house. I was now putting in 16 hours a day, casing more mail when I got back from the delivery route. I put in 16 hours a day and was paid for 9 hours at 9 dollars and hour. And NO overtime. The regular carriers had help with casing their mail. As a carrier your only allowed to safely drive 12 hours a day. But as a rural carrier with a 9 hour route, working 16 hours a day, it wasn't worth it. It's not an easy job, with hazards on the road, driving and sliding into mail boxes on icy days in hazardous weather. I was lucky, no one, ever made me pay for their mail box. The Post Office has a beautiful system, but only if you are a regular carrier in the Union. Otherwise they would work you all day for minimal wage during Christmas. Things have changed with email, UPS and FEDEX, but the job of a CARRIER is not easy. They are expected to make their appointed rounds even if a hurricane or nuclear bomb ignited.
I still dream about mail boxes, casing and fingering mail in my sleep.....it's the worst nightmare, then I get a flat tire and I deliver a package to an old farm house and a pack of dogs attacks me...

Back in the early 90's I applied for a job taking care of a State Park, i.e, mowing grass, taking care of the water wells, picnic areas, etc. Used the Gov't percentage on my app and they turned me down. Hired my cousin with no experience, etc, and told me I wasn't capable. I was 15 years out of the Army, 54 yrs old and in excellent shape. Never did understand that but she was a female so, duh! That percentage stuff for your service is a bunch of BS! I've applied for several jobs with the same results.

Age does play a factor. If you retired with a 15 year out in the 90's after desert storm, and your in your 50's, then your competing with the younger generation. Certain Agencies and Positions, such as Law Enforcement, Air Traffic Control and Firefighting, have age limits. Law enforcement officer positions must serve 20 years as to receive the LEO retirement, and military years bought back, are considered additional. Wartime veterans do receive additional points, as do Disabled Vets and those above 30%. Many agencies now must hire from a regional or central list, which does prioritize veterans. Many agencies had local hire authority, which favored family and friends. With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over, and military down sizing in effect, veterans do have priority. At least until the next war is declared?

I worked at Hines VA 1997-1999 and got so disgusted that I resigned. It has not gotten better since then, only worse and worse. How do we "fix" the VA? Simple, and I have been preaching this for 20 years. If the VA would give Veterans hiring preference for any job over a non-veteran, all things being equal, then the majority of care providers, clerks, etc. would be Veterans; and we would actually give a damn about their treatment because we would have a vested interest in the quality of care of our Comrades-in-Arms. Simple.

It wouldn't work. Remember when you were in the service? Rank has privileges. How did the Drill Sergeant or Instructor treat the Private. How did officers interact with the enlisted ranks? How many times did an O-3 Captain sleep in a tent with a buck sergeant and a bunch of specialists and PFC's?
How did the medic treat those who lined up for sick call in the morning, hand you a bag of cough syrup and Tylenol and send you back to the company with walking pneumonia. Unless your leg was broken or you had appendicitis, soldiers only saw the medic and were never evaluated by a Doctor or Physician Assistant. Veterans even antagonize each other because of MOS, 11B Infantry verses the Truck Driver or Cook. And then thee are the inter service rivalries whereby the Marines have to outshine the Army. Then you here the comments concerning " your only a reservist" and "your not airborne" and " you've never served overseas" and "you never served in a war". The list goes on , because everyone has a vested interest primarily in "themselves" . As a veteran, I have been criticized and disrespected by other veterans. It's human nature. Veterans respect rank, strength and proficiency due to their military background. Military service members do not always respect compassion, intelligence, and diversity. The officer cursing out the enlisted sergeant, or the First Sergeant slapping someone with extra duty for being intoxicated or failure to report for duty on time is minor compared to the Lieutenant Colonel bringing charges against a 2nd LT for Driving While Intoxicated back from the strip club. The same guy who was sleeping on guard duty, or stealing your dry socks from your ruck sack, is the guy or gal that is your comrade in arms. There are many individuals that I served with, that I would now avoid on a professional basis. The guy who busted a beer mug over a civilians head for no reason in the local bar , or the guy who stole his room mates pay so he could spend it on prostitutes. Or the Platoon Sergeant who assigned his Squad Leader to guard duty for the weekend so he could sleep with his girl friend. It's really not that simple. Only 1% of the US society are veterans, and they should be given preference and assistance in upward mobility within the federal government. But not all of us are angels...

As previously an enlisted (HM1) US Navy to Officer (WO3) Physician Asst. I was quite well trained as a naval corpsman and was very competent practicioner even when I was I was a HN (E3) and felt very comfortable treating minor illness, I was also well trained to determined who was really sick and who were not, if I didn't know I would be compartment cleanings do would not been promoted to HMI.I was promoted to HMC (E-7) but turned it down to become a Warrant Officer(Physician Asst. When I received my commission I was in charge of several enlisted corpsman and I instructed them to consult with me if they felt their patient was complicated then they were feeling uncomfortable. Instead of taking over their patient completely I would examine the patient in the corpsman presence and them instruct then in the physical findings and a discussion of the diagnosis and sunsequent treatment. I always did this because I knew they were more corpsman then physicians or PA's and then there would be a lot more competent practitioners to care for the minor illness and let the more highly trained medical personnel care for the sicker patient. As referenced by VA employment. I did not have a problem getting hired by the local VA as a physician assistant and managed to stay there for 26+ years as the Chief PA (GS-13) before retirement. The great thing about this hospital it was run by a civilian administrator but he was also a retired Navy Captain
Who cared for the vets and employees and his policy was to give veterans preference with employment, but we all know there are incompetent persons for many types of employment even veterans

True, just as soldiers displayed discipline problems and substance abuse issues with alcohol and drugs, the same held true for the staff and supervisors of the VA. The VA had a good tuition assistance program for nurses and physician assistants, and does provide continuing education and clinical experiences for students and residents. I was a GS-4, in 1992, and utilized the tuition assistance to further my career and earnings. I am thankful to the Associate Chief of Nursing and my Nurse Managers for giving me the opportunities to further my education and profession. The role of Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners will grow and have a larger degree of responsibility as healthcare trends emerge. And the VA will get new customers as future wars are planned.

Here's a story while stationed in Fulda Germany 11th Armored Cav Regiment 1984. After being in the field for Winter Reforger, and eating MRE's for a month, I developed a severe case of constipation. After a week of problems, I went to the company medic. I explained my problem and he said "You need the cheese". So I went back to my squad and got all the cheese I could from the guys (no women back then in the cavalry) and got the crackers out. Time went on and nothing happened and it was even worse. I went and found the medic again, and told him it was worse and I couldn't go.
He said "man, you need some peanut butter, get outta here"...I went back, and this time ate all the peanut butter I could find. I felt terrible and hadn't gone in more than two weeks. I found the medic with an old Gamma Goat, and told him I was messed up, and ate all the cheese and peanut butter I could find. He sat there and laughed, and said " I didn't tell you to eat it, PUT IT ON YOUR FINGER".

OR YOU COULD WORK THE PROBLEM OUT WITH A PENCI. OUCH!!!L

Have a degree in MIS, worked in IT since USAF - 1989. I've applied to 25 jobs in the VA mostly IT, a couple were just Assistants (but I'm expert at Word Processing, typing, organizing, calendars, time management, time clock software, inventory, etc)
Of the 25 jobs - 3 were cancelled. I was referred to 9 jobs, but never received a call, and "not selected", 1 I was not referred, and when I wrote to ask what criteria I had missed - I did not receive a reply - not even a - "we can't tell you that". 3 of the jobs were marked "received" and never moved any farther (review). The final 9 were marked "Reviewed" but they were never moved to referred or not referred.

Forgot to mention - I have VEOA and VRA preferences

I will tell you honestly, that an IT position is not a critical patient care position. There's just not that many IT positions in comparison to Nursing Assistants, LPN's, and Registered Nurses. There is only one Unit Secretary for a ward during the day. An IT position would require a Bachelor or Masters Degree. I would suggest volunteering at a local VA Clinic or Hospital. I would focus within the patient care aspect. For example, a wheel chair pusher, taking patients to physical therapy. Something with patient interaction. You could also take a Nursing Assistant Course and become certified, then apply for a VRA position. With your background in IT , you could then proceed to apply for various positions as they become available. There are also DOD positions within various agencies, which have a more technical background, but a bachelors degree is often required for Computer Science, Information Security and Cyber Warfare. A medic in the military will usually qualify as a Nursing Assistant within the VA, but they will NOT be given the responsibility they had while in the service.
Information Technology is now a tough field with many graduates competing for jobs. Employment projections for healthcare positions is growing. Remember, the VA also has nursing assistants, secretaries, food service, medical records and house keeping staff who are veterans, and they may also have a degree in IT, and waiting for a position to open. Volunteer, so you can interact within the agency, and either continue your education toward a BS or MS degree, or branch out into patient care. Remember your competing against another vet who may have two master degrees, and was a retired officer or held a senior enlisted rank, and had a couple tours in Iraq, or her uncle was the medical director. Good Luck...

I will tell you honestly, that an IT position is not a critical patient care position. There's just not that many IT positions in comparison to Nursing Assistants, LPN's, and Registered Nurses. There is only one Unit Secretary for a ward during the day. An IT position would require a Bachelor or Masters Degree. I would suggest volunteering at a local VA Clinic or Hospital. I would focus within the patient care aspect. For example, a wheel chair pusher, taking patients to physical therapy. Something with patient interaction. You could also take a Nursing Assistant Course and become certified, then apply for a VRA position. With your background in IT , you could then proceed to apply for various positions as they become available. There are also DOD positions within various agencies, which have a more technical background, but a bachelors degree is often required for Computer Science, Information Security and Cyber Warfare. A medic in the military will usually qualify as a Nursing Assistant within the VA, but they will NOT be given the responsibility they had while in the service.
Information Technology is now a tough field with many graduates competing for jobs. Employment projections for healthcare positions is growing. Remember, the VA also has nursing assistants, secretaries, food service, medical records and house keeping staff who are veterans, and they may also have a degree in IT, and waiting for a position to open. Volunteer, so you can interact within the agency, and either continue your education toward a BS or MS degree, or branch out into patient care. Remember your competing against another vet who may have two master degrees, and was a retired officer or held a senior enlisted rank, and had a couple tours in Iraq, or her uncle was the medical director. Good Luck...

You make many good points. Is a person who is a good IT person a critical care person like a nurse. No. However try RUNNING a hospital without IT or IMO and you will soon see what happens. IT today provides the systems for the critical care personnel to use so they can help save and improve patient's lives. Bottom line with the VA it is not how good you are IT IS WHO YOU KNOW and frequently the result is too many incompetent idiots are hired.

Tom, you emphasize critical patient positions; I'm a 25 yr Army Vet-an NCCPA-certified Physician Assistant-, who handed my CV to the Clinic Director's nurse at the Colo. Springs Clinic. I checked back within 2 weeks in person-she hadn't returned my voicemail- and the nurse told me she didn't know what happened...she had given the Resume to her. She didn't return e-mails, despite telling the staff that they were looking for veteran providers for "Critical" positions. I don't believe they are sincere and I question your information.

Almost 10 years as a Navy Corpsman, Master's of Management Degree in Healthcare administration, Desert Storm Vet preference, recently laid off former federal employee. Deemed not qualified as a GS6 medical supply technician at the local VA facility. The person hired was a non vet.

Ours is the only State without a full service VA Hospital. The [very] limited service VA hospital just hired a new top administrator who is also NOT a vet. But she is female. Hmmmmmm?

Again, there are not that many supply technicians, put in for Nursing Assistant, as a Desert Storm vet serving as a reservist with 7th Corps, EMT, I started as a Nursing Assistant, got my RN, then transferred out of the VA. and am recently retired. Desert Storm vets are now in their mid forties to fifties, and they are overshadowed by the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. I remember in 92 how VA physicians basically blew off Desert Storm vets as everything is in their head, type symptoms, until the destruction of the chemical bunkers came out in 96. They still marginalize Desert Storm, and down play the use of chemical and biological weapons. Maybe it will be fully released now that it's 25 years later, and the unit logs and reports can be unclassified. Most RN's get the Masters in Health Admin, since it can be obtained with extended studies on line through a number of schools. If your in your forties, you may want to obtain an Associates in Nursing, or LPN and return to patient care.
Many apply for VA House Keeping, Food service, med records and supply. I actually worked as a GS 4 with a former Vietnam Vet who was hired in his 40's as a Nursing Assistant. He told me the story how they stacked the sand bags, and lined up all the bags and seams instead of staggering them, when the NVA attacked, the bullets whizzed right through the seems between the bags. These types of stories are priceless. One former WWII infantry officer, stated they took no prisons, and was very graphic on how they avoided taking POWs. Veterans of Iowa Jima with Combat Neurosis, and Vets of D-Day, who grew up during the Great Depression, and were just thankful to survive. If you think your VA hospital should provide more services and have better funding, then write your Congressman-woman. I currently have a Freedom of Information Act request submitted to CENTCOM at Shaw Air Force Base, SC concerning incidents during Desert Storm. The truth is out there...

I was a vet of 22 years at the time, medic and nearly ten years experience combined as a LPN/RN, took me three years to get on at the VA, I applied at six different ones around the country, meanwhile 22 y/o fresh out of college zero experience were hired before me because of minority status..FACT

I served 8 years in the US Army. SGT E-5. Got double pneumonia during training stateside to deploy to Iraq back in 2003. After that I developed asthma as a result. Could no longer run like I used to or wear a pro mask. I was found unfit for duty and honorably medically discharged. This began a fight that is still going on today. After 8 years of fighting I received only 40%.

30% asthma, 10% for a back injury jumping out of planes.

I have applied for positions at the VA for years. Never even a letter in the mail. I was told it was because I needed a degree. So I used GI Bill got a BS in business. 3.7 GPA from an accredited university obviously or VA would not have paid for it.

I have been so desperate for work I applied to be a janitor supervisor (they call it housekeeping) I was told I had no experience!!!

I'm sure the job went to someone's buddy or family member. We live only a few miles from our VA the job would have been a dream come true. We may lose our house now. Can't find work.

The system is beyond screwed up. Jail time is what some of these people deserve.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.