Great life work balance. Plenty of Support Staff. Opportunity for advancement. Many areas of Pharmacy Practice available to work in such as anticoagulation clinic, PACT, Opiate Treatment Center, pharmacokinetics service, Inpatient Pharmacy, Outpatient Pharmacy, Call Center.
The VA is always a few step behind what is going on out in the private sector. As a staff member, you will learn that objectives seem to change like the wind. There is a union in place to protect employees due to the size of the entity. Sometimes people get overlooked and have trouble getting help. That is where the union plays a part, good and bad.
I loved my actual job and I loved my coworkers but the management and staff who have been there 30+ years are toxic, awful people. The money and benefits are the only reason anyone stays there, and even then it's really hard to handle. There are constant union grievances and EEO complaints for harassment, racism, misconduct and more. Employees openly steal from the VA, assault each other, take long breaks during their shifts without recourse. If you care about your job and speak up about things that are wrong or unjust, you will be harassed and fired.
I’ve worked here for over 10 years. I’ve been fortunate enough to choose a profession that has many opportunities and work in a setting with clients I love. Many have nightmares about upper management here, but I have also been fortunate enough to be in a department where my direct supervisor and their supervisor are great people who want to see their subordinates advance.
This organization's true colors have become apparent in this pandemic. Non direct patient care personnel who work on computers/phones are mandated to come in, being left with no choice but to use personal leave or leave without pay if we need to quarantine. Even after the social distancing was announced, employees were forced to take the shuttle at max capacity (44 people in close proximity) twice a day until they finally started letting employees park on site on a first come first served basis. Everything takes twice as long, and everyone gives you the runaround because no one really knows the answer or how to get anything done in a timely manner.
Bottom line, working for VA San Diego makes you feel like you have no choice or voice. They have no idea how to hire the right person for the role, and god forbid if you show any sign of being good at your job, you will be stuck doing all the work. Incompetent employees will still get paid as much as you or more for showing up and sitting there for 8 hours because of the GS pay scale having a set rate. There are no learning opportunities since only a handful of people who actually have prior experience at an outside company know what they are doing. Again, those people get stuck doing all the work, they don't have time to be teaching anyone anything.
One positive note: job work/life balance is a 5-star. No one works a second/minute over, people are out of the door at least 10-15 minutes early. Deadlines and being timely are foreign concepts to these people. Job security is also up there. No one gets fired, the exact reason why there - more...
The federal government has a lot of great traits. You get trained, you learn a lot, there is some work like balance- health care is different. You are always there. Management changes frequently and there is always a new agenda, new policy that negates the last one and causes more problems.
While my overall experience working here has been positive, the management changes often so issues rise during the turnover process. Many of the full time employees hate change so they complain constantly. This negatively impacts the work environment. However, the training opportunities within the VA are great.
The patients are mostly pleasant and grateful. The VA is a nightmare. So much unnecessary paperwork. Incredible bureaucracy! The worst part as a provider is the pharmacy. The pharmacists decide what meds you can prescribe and will simply refuse to fill your prescriptions. BEYOND FRUSTRATING! I finally left, not because I didn't like the patients (loved 'em) but the pharmacy situation was just too much. If you are frustrated by insurance requirements and intrusions in your current practice, don't even THINK about working for the VA- you'll go insane.
Working with Veterans that need help with computer skills, looking for a job, or finding housing on the computer. Patience, breaking down computer skills into easier to learn pieces, listening and slowing down when a Veteran needs it. Management here is a lot like other management, worried about numbers and money. Mostly team oriented and working together. Being expected to work with little resources and help. Being able to help a Veteran achieve their goal and seeing their happiness.