As we celebrate Veterans Day this week, there is no better time to reaffirm what our mission means to us here at VA.
With over 9 million Veterans counting on us for quality health care, we start every day with a commitment to making life better for the men and women who protect our freedom and our country. We believe it’s up to all of us to make sure Veterans can enjoy the health and happiness they deserve.
But you don’t have to take it from us. As we’ve seen from some of our “Talk About It Tuesday” (TAIT) guests every month this past year, the calling we share as a part of VA puts Veterans first.
Why we do it
Our broadcast guests have hailed from a variety of clinical and non-clinical positions, but no matter their role, they all play a critical part in helping us fulfill our mission.
“We have a mission that no one else has throughout the nation,” explained Jade Moore, MS, RN, acting director of workforce and leadership in our Office of Nursing Services. “We have a mission to care for our Veterans. We are very passionate about caring for our Veterans. No matter where you go, you’re going to have that same goal.”
“Every person I meet is really dedicated and passionate about the mission,” agreed Stacy Pommer, LMSW, national affiliations officer in our Office of Academic Affiliations. “The Veteran is always the priority, and I think that is just so important.”
“Most important to me is just that ability to give back to our Veterans and their families,” said Angie Weldon, director of human capital management operations in VA’s Office of Information and Technology. “I don’t come from a military background, so this is what I can do to show my appreciation and gratitude for their service.”
The mission to serve Veterans takes many forms, so whatever your specialty or experience, there’s an opportunity for you at VA.
Those we serve
The reward of connecting with Veterans is an irreplaceable part of the job for many of our TAIT guests and our 400,000-plus employees.
“It’s really, really something special to hear a Veteran talking about their experience when they were in World War II and just being there for them and being there for their family,” Moore added during her interview. “It is very, very special to be a part of VA.”
“When I go into a waiting room at VA, or I’m walking through the halls, you really see those Veterans connecting,” said Michelle Baquie, a national biomedical engineer with VA’s Office of Healthcare Technology Management. “You get to hear their stories and their excitement.”
Joel Schmidt, a VA psychologist who currently serves as associate director of advanced fellowships in the VHA Office of Academic Affiliations, recalled one of his first clients, a Vietnam War Veteran. He worked hard with his client, sharing in that Veteran’s challenges, and at the end of Schmidt’s rotation, “as we were parting, he said ‘thank you’ in this very sincere way that really just took my breath away. It left this impression on me, and I may have had this same experience a thousand times since then. It’s just incredibly rewarding.”
For Veterans, by Veterans
For Veterans and transitioning military personnel, a career at VA can feel like a natural next step. The wealth of training and experience gained in your career makes the move easy. And as a Veteran, you have a better understanding of what your fellow service members need, developed by a shared experience in service.
David Renfro, deputy associate director of patient care services and deputy nurse executive at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, came to VA, as many members of our team do, after serving in the U.S. Navy as hospital corpsman.
“I went to VA when I was being discharged, to turn in my medical records, and I walked through the front door and felt at home,” Renfro explained. “I felt so welcome, and I knew that would be the place where I would work. I just felt so comfortable.”
His experiences since that moment have reinforced his view that there’s nothing VA can’t do for a Veteran when it comes to their care.
“I look at it as how many Veterans we impact every day across the country,” he explained. “If you’re in VA, you’re seeking that goal of caring for those who have served. To come in every day and know you’re making a difference, it’s powerful.”
We work hard to make a difference in the lives of all Veterans, not just patients but members of the military looking to transfer to civilian careers.
Work at VA
As you thank the Veterans in your life this week, consider joining a team that serves Veterans every day.