Almost a year ago, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki announced that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was hiring. As he put it at the time, “As more veterans return home, we must ensure that all veterans have access to quality mental health care.”
VA has answered that call by reaching out to as many platforms as possible. Now VA is taking this hiring initiative to a live Twitter chat via @vacareers. This Thursday, we will be honored to welcome Craig Newmark, of craigconnects and craigslist, to share the e-space with others concerned about the vital need to take care of those who have taken care of us—the men and women who have served in America’s armed services.
I’m Darren Sherrard, of the Veterans Health Administration, and I oversee VA’s recruitment marketing efforts for healthcare providers—particularly psychiatrists and eligible psychologists—who can come work at VA. As associate director for health care recruitment and marketing in the office of workforce management and consulting, I’m trying to get the word out on behalf of VHA: A gratifying career awaits those who are ready to turn their time and attention to helping veterans.
At 1pm EDT (10 am PDT) today, I will host a Twitter chat via @vacareers to guide leaders like Craig, VA recruiters, and job searchers in an exchange of thoughts, ideas, and questions about mental health careers at VA. It’s a chance for the public to talk with veterans, supporters of veterans, and members of the mental health community in real time. We hope the lively exchange will let people know more about the life-changing work at VA in store for psychiatrists and other mental health professionals.
Craig is committed to helping veterans and their families, and there is no denying that giving this community access to the care they deserve means VA needs to hire extraordinarily talented, passionate mental health professionals. I invite you all to add your thoughts, experiences, and questions to the conversation by tweeting with the hashtag #WorkatVA. We’ll start the chat at 1 p.m. EDT on March 21, and I hope to see you there.
Guest blog post by Darren Sherrard,
Associate Director for Recruitment Marketing,
VHA Healthcare Recruitment & Marketing,
Office of Workforce Management & Consulting
I am a veteran with 37 acres of land outside of St. Johns, AZ. That is on Hwy 61, 44 miles east of Show Low. I spent nine years there and got so much better with my PTSD that I have left to be around more people. My property is very peaceful, and it has wildlife, desert plants and flowers, and shaggy bark junipers. Junipers are cedars, to which I am very allergic now, so living here is not good for me. But I want to share my good fortune with one or more PTSD VETS. I was 5 miles from town, where there is minimal employment. I can’t find the vets. Thats the problem. How do I get in touch? People say go on the internet, Craigslist, etc. Unfortunately, right back from the zone a GI thinks he can do anything and isn’t interested in a thing like this. I have tried including letters in gift boxes. No answer. They don’t even know they have PTSD yet. I really want to help other vets. I don’t know what to do. Any suggestions?
Alice, have you seen these efforts?
I am an LPN in Ohio, Cincinnati area. I have been a Nurse for 20 years but never in a psychiatric setting. I do not know if you even need LPN’s, but I would be honored to assist our returning hero’s. They deserve every ounce of support we can muster for them. Send me a line if there is a place for me to help them.
Thanks so much, Andrea – here are two of the most helpful links:
I am on the board of a small nonprofit in Morgantown West Virginia that helps transitioning veterans. We were contacted by a retiring psychiatrist who wanted to help, but was worried about liability, etc. Knowing this issue, we thought that the VA might be interested. Thus, I contacted the administrator at the Clarksburg WV VA hospital and left a detailed message. Alas, she hasn’t had the time to return my call. He’s willing to help, maybe we can work together to put his talents to use helping our vets. Can you get involved?
I am a veteran. My nephew is a veteran. We both receive MH care at the Dallas VA Medical Center. We both find it impossible to take seriously the VA or any other organization or effort that claims to be ‘improving’ MH care for veterans. We have our own name for VA psych care at Dallas: “revolving-door docs.” We never see the same doctor twice; every appointment is with a new and different doctor who hasn’t read the medical records database (which is the best thing about VA healthcare) so he/she doesn’t have a clue about what we are even there for, they don’t know anything about us, what we are being treated for, what meds we’re taking, when or where we served, not even how old we are! How can there possibly be any quality of care when doctors are in and out of there so fast you never see the same one twice? There can be no ‘quality’ of healthcare without CONTINUITY and there is no continuity, at least not at the Dallas VA which was rated the worst in the country in 2008 by the VA itself! As long as there are ‘revolving-door docs’ who don’t even bother to read the medical records at their fingertips with the click of a mouse button before they see a new patient (whom they will never see again anyway) VA MH-care is a sad joke that I and my nephew choose to laugh at rather than sink into even deeper depression over it. BTW, I also have a sister who is a Gulf War veteran with a Masters in Social Work who applied for jobs with the VA a few years and was never even contacted for an interview. Ha-ha, ha-ha.