If you’re looking for physician opportunities at VA, listen to one who truly believes in our mission of caring for Veterans: Dr. Chad Kessler, executive director of emergency medicine at VA and a professor at Duke University School of Medicine. Kessler, who has worked with VA since medical school, has taken VA’s mission to heart throughout his career.

“How many times can you say that you have the best mission in all of health care?” Kessler asked. “We serve Veterans. We serve America’s heroes and take care of them.”

With an eye toward discussing his VA career and what we can offer physicians, Kessler recently visited with us during a special “Talk About It Tuesday” segment. This weekly career broadcast airs live on LinkedIn each Tuesday at noon ET. With his appearance, Kessler became the first physician welcomed to the show.

Early experiences

Kessler first encountered VA in medical school, which included rotations in regional VA facilities. During his residency, he spent half his time at the university hospital and the other half at VA.

He knew this was where he wanted to work, where his work would be valued, and where he could make a difference in the lives of Veterans. There was also a personal investment in the work he was doing.

“My dad, who is a combat Vietnam Veteran, actually got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis right around the time I was in medical school, and it was tough,” he said. “But he really sunk into VA at that time, and it got me connected, and us even more connected, so VA brought me a lot closer with my dad, and as I started working, I just loved it.”

Unique connections

Though he’s executive director of emergency medicine, Kessler still sees patients regularly. Developing relationships with these Veterans creates a unique experience that doesn’t exist outside of VA.

“It creates this connection, and that is very special,” said Kessler. “That connection to the mission is so incredibly strong. It’s more than just a hospital or a clinic.”

The morning of the broadcast, Kessler had seen one of his regular patients, a 91-year-old World War II Veteran.

“You’re a big piece of that Veteran’s life. I want him to have this whole health experience, and to talk about what’s important to him,” Kessler explained. “If it’s important to him to talk to me about the Greatest Generation, then I’m so happy to sit there and listen, because I really feel like I’m adding some value to this Veteran’s life. I feel so lucky to be half-an-hour part of this person’s life.”

Benefits beyond the norm

Kessler was quick to discuss the abundant opportunities for physicians and other health professionals at VA. He highlighted the many tangible benefits of working at VA, including competitive salaries and paid time-off, as well as the educational advancement and leadership development programs that are second to none.

The important work being done here also offers many intangible benefits to physicians.

“What it is really about is having a great boss, having a great team, making sure your work is appreciated, and feeling like your work matters,” Kessler explained. “When you’re dealing with Veterans, day in and day out, and you can see that change, that’s really special.”

Work at VA

Whether you’re a new graduate or an experienced professional, physicians are always needed at VA.

NOTE: Positions listed in this post were open at the time of publication. All current available positions are listed at USAJobs.gov.

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