Education quality of doctors:
- Most VA docs who are American, did not grad. at top class. Most are low middle to bottom of Class . So that is a C Average.
- Exception is, foreign born docs. They are usually very educated and come with great expectation to the VA. That does not last long.
- Many docs to be able to withstand the vice-grip of Mgmt; do Research. And NIH is often very amiable to VA Research cause there is such a large, readily available research pool.
Big Issue is a Doc with Military Back-Ground vs. Civilian Doc
This is huge !
- Military docs tell everyone, even PTSD & bi-polar; “To Buck Up.”
- Civilian doc - that would NEVER happen. Such words never cross their minds.
- Many military docs like mgmt cause their training and then experience in the field, don’t match. The military, are the only folks on earth ~ who would take a trained pediatrician and send him/her out to combat location to work on Trauma.
- In the VA - many docs refer to fellow docs only by Last Name. They never say Dr. This is an unwritten signal telling folks that individual is of questionable medical skill. I was personally told on more than one occasion, to stop referring to So&So as Dr. . . Only use last name.
- All Docs have huge patient load. Many are not allowed yearly training or to attend conference on current state-of-the-art-process; procedure; medication; etc.
- Does not take long for a veteran family member to try to find the Civilian Doc.. .. ..
Education level of Nurses & Pharmacy Staff
- The good news is, there is a specific education level required to be a nurse or pharmacy staff member. Here again the VA goes after the B or C level person. Partly because they don’t have to pay them as much and the BorC caliber – have lesser expectations for raises and promotions.
- In the VA ~ time affords every employee the raise and promotion. Occasionally, one sees a Merit advancement. Most Advancement is simply wearing the clock down.
Education level of Admin and Maintenance Staff
- Many Admin emp. have a GED. It is very unusual to find an Admin with a college degree. If possible, these folks get promoted w/in VA system or leave.
- Employees are expected to do as they are told. No more. No Less.
- Initiative Discouraged and often punished.
- I experience VA Admin staff that had a Laminated Copy of their Job Description in their top drawer and they would actually pull it out & tell you exactly what their job duties were. This was Accepted ! ! And that was exactly ALL they would do. And complaining to their Manager changed ZERO. One day, I actually took the thing from the Admin; returned to my office with it and began to cut it up. Several docs asked me what I was doing and when I told them – I was told that was good ! maybe I should cut into even smaller pieces ! ! !
- Nothing is approached with a sense of urgency - even care on many levels.
- Most of the Admin& Maint. Employees could not find a job elsewhere with pay & benefits equal to VA and they know it. Once hired, these folks plan to stay. Especially is less urban areas of the country.
- The VA is often the best employer in town .. .. ..
Actual VA Guidelines everyone Expected to Follow:
- Current Process 20 + years old
- Almost everything needs 5 signatures and 6 copies. Even travel vouchers can take over a week to get signed. Apts are recommended to ask for signatures. No – just – casual walk-in and ask for signature if the higher up is not busy…. Apt. Sch. Sch. Sch.
- If one site sees a correction that would improve productivity – they are NOT allowed to make the change. All sites are to be the same.
- In 2009, CHQ VA in DC rolled out Windows/7 all across the system country wide w/in very short time frame AND provided NO training for Docs or Admins on how to use MS-Office-7; with its brand new interface ! ! ! this almost brought the ENTIRE VA to its knees.
- The VA still thinks a fax machine is a great thing. Most docs are far to large [over 10+ pages] to be successfully faxed.
- Most Admins had no idea how to create a PDF. What a PDF even was or the merits of attaching a PDF to an email so one has a paper trail that a document was sent and received because of the Outlook Time Stamps. Lots of folks constantly say , “Never got fax”. Much much harder to say Did not get email w/pdf attachment when system logs and transmits receipts.
- I became known as the “Queen of PDF’s” in my area. And docs came from other areas to ask me to help them create docs; show how to attach PDF to email; etc etc etc because THEY saw the benefit. I spent about 50% of my time, baby-sitting the copier as it created PDF files. I worked in Psych Research so there was LOTS of paperwork.
Compare VA Employees to Other Federal Lab Location Employees
I say this with great confidence based on my own experience working at several of the below listed Federal Labs on
I believe it would be impossible for a VA Admin, Maint or other Staffer to qualify for a job at:
- Los Alamos [LANL]
JPL, after all built the Mars Rover; Sent the Rover to Mars; The Rover returned Images to the eng / scientist here on Earth. Remember: it takes a HUGE staff of multi-disciplined employees to accomplish such a Project.
JSC, how many Moon shots? And how long to actually design and build Space Station? How many trips over the years have been made to Space Station??? Remember: it takes a HUGE staff of multi-disciplined employees to
accomplish such a Project.
So the main question as I see it :
How is it that the VA Hospital lags so far behind other Federal Research Facilities?
And is so far behind, the MAYO; Johns-Hopkins; Cornell; Stanford???
The VA has a HUGE staff of multi-disciplined employees - so why doesn’t the VA system
show the same kinds of results ? ? ?
The VA cannot even calculate a Working Budget for the entire System for 1 year; much less calculate Staffing
Requirement or Bed Requirements or Pharmacy Drug Stocking By Week based on Current RX and next Refill date.
Think about it:
- Docs have years and years of education and training. The Docs are certainly held to a higher standard.
- The Admin Staff and the Maint Staff and other Support Personnel often only have a GED and are paid $10 to $15/hour. Those with “years of service, earn more.”
- Most can not spell 50% of the necessary vocabulary in their work area.
- Most have no idea what is actually going on in their area. And are to busy “texting’ to learn about the area.
- And there is no written spec or requirement anywhere that all employees understand something about what is going on in the area they work in.
based on what you have just read:
Would you expect the VA system to be a well-oiled machine like a Ferrarri??