US Department of Veterans Affairs Reviews in Atlanta, GA | Glassdoor

US Department of Veterans Affairs Atlanta Reviews

Updated January 28, 2017
18 reviews

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Atlanta, GA

3.3
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US Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin
David Shulkin
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18 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • VCS upper management is the worst (in 57 reviews)

  • Inferior wage scale compared to the private sector (in 56 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Love this place"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Nursing in Atlanta, GA
    Current Employee - Nursing in Atlanta, GA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at US Department of Veterans Affairs full-time

    Pros

    Best job I ever had.

    Cons

    I'll be retiring soon with great benefits.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the great work


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Atlanta VA"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Physician Assistant in Atlanta, GA
    Current Employee - Physician Assistant in Atlanta, GA
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at US Department of Veterans Affairs full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    committed staff, educational environment, good benefits

    Cons

    Terrible leadership, very poor parking, lack of funds for educational activity

    Advice to Management

    get real

    US Department of Veterans Affairs Response

    Feb 16, 2017 – Marketing Manager

    Hey Doc, Love your Pros, hate to hear about the cons in Atlanta. Parking is an issue several need work on. Too many cars! You are likely aware of the public transportation benefit for employees ... More

  3. "Registered nurse"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Registered Nurse in Atlanta, GA
    Current Employee - Registered Nurse in Atlanta, GA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at US Department of Veterans Affairs full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Job safety, growth and ability to transfer to other states

    Cons

    Redundancy
    Partiality
    Too laid back
    Poor management
    Low pay rate

    Advice to Management

    Be impartial to everyone


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Counselor"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor in Atlanta, GA
    Current Employee - Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor in Atlanta, GA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    pay, stability, time off, mission of agency is honorable, purposeful work.

    Cons

    Inexperienced management, heavy work load, red tape, behind times with technology


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Medical Support Assistant"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Medical Support Assistant in Atlanta, GA
    Current Employee - Medical Support Assistant in Atlanta, GA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at US Department of Veterans Affairs full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    I'm a service connected veteran and I fell working in the VA system helps me give back to our service men/women that have served our country

    Cons

    I feel that in certain positions are lacking good leadership

    Advice to Management

    I believe in order to lead you should know how to treat people in general, supervisors are not leaders because of position and title.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Disorganized, Complacent and Antiquated"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Atlanta, GA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Atlanta, GA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at US Department of Veterans Affairs full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Upon completion of the probationary period you job is totally secured. You have to mess up badly in order to get fired and even then it takes around 6 months or so to fire someone. The only other pro is they really do want to hire Veterans, so if you're a vet you have a really good chance of at least getting an interview.

    Cons

    Management. They lack the basic process and systems that make a place run smoothly. The communication between executive management and staff is poor at best. The place unknowledgeable employees in supervisory roles and it directly impacts production and the ability to complete objectives and goals. The red tape is out of this world. Everyone knows their job is secure so there's no rush to do anything. It takes so much time to complete a task that you almost forget you needed something done (this is probably intentional). Also, I find there is ZERO accountability, even from the executives. As a Veteran, the military teaches discipline and accountability so it's a real shock when you come to the VA and there's neither of each. Here, you can request something or assign a task and people won't respond to emails, won't answer the phone and tell you they can't help when all along it's their responsibility...straight crazy. Finally, it's archaic. When I tell you they are practicing old school management I am not lying. They do things around here because it's always been done that way and that's the wrong answer. The hiring is slow, the executives aren't up to date with new-age practices and it really hampers operations. Oh, and let's forget that the majority of the administrative workforce here will retire within the next 10 years and there's no one to backfill. Complete mess.

    Advice to Management

    Work on your systemic processes and hire people who are relevant, knowledgeable, can influence and who you can retain. Don't promote based on nepotism or favoritism, promote or select the best candidate because of their experience and know how. Also, be solution-oriented and actively listen. Stop doing things a particular way because it's always been that way and maybe there wouldn't be so much scandal VA-wide right now. Your employee morale is low, DO something about it...don't just talk. These are the individuals that will help you win the hearts and minds of the public...wake up!


  7. "Program Support"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Correspondence Analyst in Atlanta, GA
    Former Employee - Correspondence Analyst in Atlanta, GA
    Recommends
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at US Department of Veterans Affairs (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Job security was really good

    Cons

    Career Progression was one of the things I had most concern about

    Advice to Management

    Be more assertive.

  8. Helpful (14)

    "RN at VA: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Staff RN in Atlanta, GA
    Current Employee - Staff RN in Atlanta, GA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at US Department of Veterans Affairs full-time

    Pros

    The Good
    1. Higher pay than any other hospital in the area. As much as 25% above the "elite" university hospital nearby. Most openings will have lots of applicants, and the selection process is tough to get through, however. The RN jobs almost always go to those with BSN degrees unless you have extensive experience in a hard-to-fill specialty. They rarely hire LPNs any more except for the community clinics.
    2. Better benefits, including pension, thrift savings plan, medical, dental, etc. And CE courses are available on line at no cost. You get paid for a holiday, whether you are scheduled to work that day or not. If you work it you effectively get double time. Shift and weekend premiums are generous.
    3. 26 vacation days per year for RNs
    4. Job security. It's Federal government, so there are no layoffs. And it's hard, even almost impossible, to get fired after your probationary period is up.
    5. Income stability. You don't get sent home without pay when the census is low. You'll sometimes find, especially around the holidays, that a nurse will only have one or two patients. If another floor needs help, though, they might pull you to that floor. Overtime is almost always available if you need to earn some extra cash.
    6. Reasonable nurse:patient ratios.
    7. You'll be helping some really great patients. These are often guys/gals who put it all on the line serving their country. The World War II vet patients are amazing (when you're lucky enough to get one -- they're a dying breed).

    Cons

    The Bad
    1. Poor management. Nurse managers at VA are notoriously bad at managing people. Lots of favoritism, often occurs when a staff nurse is promoted to manager of the same floor. Old buddies and those who kiss butts get the better shifts/assignments.
    2. Political to the Nth degree. It's usually politics, not performance that determine your career at VA, even in Nursing.
    3. You'll wind up working with some of the laziest people on the planet. Since it's hard (sometimes virtually impossible) to fire someone at VA, you might wind up having to do your work and an NA's work too because the NA who is supposed to be helping is out for his/her 20th smoke break this shift.
    4. There is a 24-month probationary period,and new nurses can be terminated at any time during the probationary period. There must be a valid reason for firing you, but if they don't like you, you're gone. Maybe that should be a "pro" not a "con". It's hard for someone to put on a good act for a two years.
    5. Promotions/raises are slow. You may get a raise every two years, but don't expect a promotion or even a "step increase". There is a four system, with many steps between each tier, and none of them are automatically granted with tenure. There are many nurses who have been with the VA for many years who are still at the "Nurse I" level, "Nurse II" is harder to attain than you might think. There are virtually no "Nurse IIIs", and "Nurse IV" is a high level management position.
    6. It can take forever to be hired at VA. From the time you are told you have the job until the day you start your job can take many months. The background checks, which should be fairly simple, can get bogged down in the paperwork and red tape, and nobody in admin really cares. They also have to put you through a week-long orientation program, and yours could be scheduled for several months after you're "hired". We currently have nurses who were "hired" in late October who are scheduled to go through orientation in March. For the reason(s) see #1 under "The Ugly".

    The Ugly
    1. Administrators are, well, mostly just plain awful. There are two distinct populations at VA: Medical staff and admin staff. While the medical side is actually very competent, the admin staff is probably the most clueless bunch of people you'll ever meet. And the bureaucracy is mind-boggling. Most of the people running the hospital from a business standpoint seem to have to idea how to run a hospital. And they don't care to learn. They'll spend thousands redecorating a conference room, but won't care if you need a new computer monitor at the nurses' station. They'll spend millions on travel to meaningless meetings and conferences, then cut badly-needed overtime at the end of the fiscal year to stay within budget. It's their own private little kingdom, and you're just a serf. Big bonuses are paid out to people who wouldn't last a week in a private sector hospital. And the phrase "F up to move up" is a way of life in some locations.
    2. You might wind up working with some really scary doctors. While the permanent MD staff is often outstanding, the VA is a teaching hospital, and they get lots of residents from nearby med schools. In our area there are two; 1) an "elite" private university med school, and 2) a public med school that cranks a lot of foreign-trained docs through residency programs. And that one can be scary. It's just luck of the draw that determines the residents you're working with, and Door #2 can have a really bad one behind it. The residents from Program #1 are mostly pretty solid docs and decent people, and they'll appreciate the fact that you're protecting their licenses. The residents from Program #2 are often arrogant know-it-alls who were the "best and the brightest" in their home country who came from privileged backgrounds, and you're "just a nurse". You'll sometimes find yourself doing battle with them and going over their heads to keep your patient alive and safe.

    Advice to Management

    Grow a pair. The VA needs a top-down, wall to wall housecleaning if it's going to survive. There are multiple layers of incompetent, self-serving administrators and managers who need to find other careers. They've burrowed in like ticks on a dog, and have often mentally retired in place. Make it easier to get rid of those people and hire/promote managers who put the mission, that dates back to Lincoln ("To care for him who shall have borne the battle..."), ahead of personal gain.


  9. "Research Coordinator"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Atlanta, GA
    Current Contractor - Anonymous Contractor in Atlanta, GA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at US Department of Veterans Affairs as a contractor (More than a year)

    Pros

    Very educational and productive. The environment seems really busy with a lot of projects. I like the variety and quality of the projects.

    Cons

    Looks like they are not connected to each other and if you want to get help for your research from different department, they feel like you are a stranger!

    Advice to Management

    To collaborate with all departments at the hospital and make some time for a group meeting with other managers.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Medical Support Assistant"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Current Employee - Medical Support Assistant in Atlanta, GA
    Current Employee - Medical Support Assistant in Atlanta, GA

    I have been working at US Department of Veterans Affairs part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Good benefits, relaxed work environment

    Cons

    No opportunities for advancement


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