Share your compassion and understanding as a VA social worker
Join a team that serves those who served
As a social worker, you are a key ingredient of VA health care. Social workers are often the thread that pulls a treatment plan together, coordinating the efforts of medical providers with community partners like Veterans’ groups.
These efforts are valued at VA, making social workers an integral part of the care we give. There are a wide range of opportunities for social workers, allowing you to take on many different roles throughout your career and practice anywhere, from small clinics in rural communities to large medical centers in metropolitan areas.
“I have never felt limited here,” said Elizabeth Kleeman, a licensed clinical social worker at the Michael E. Debakey VA Medical Center. “The opportunities that we have, creativity and positions that you can take, the services that you can offer and the training that you can get are state of the art.”
A unique class of patient
Social workers rely on compassion, a genuine desire to help others, adaptability and a willingness to learn new things. However, social workers who work with Veterans must also understand the unique challenges facing their clients.
You’ll need to assess clients in the context of their military experience. This requires understanding military service-specific factors such as deployment, relocation, combat and post-deployment reintegration.
“As the social worker, I bring to the table the voice of the Veteran and family, advocating for their values, goals and needs, explained Katherine Radick, a social worker at the Jack C. Montgomery VA, where she works with Veterans in the Inpatient Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Unit. “This is my dream job, and it is truly rewarding.”
A day in the life
At VA, social workers like you provide a variety of clinical programming. On any given day, you may find yourself helping a Veteran or caregiver navigate resources and benefits, or you may be engaged in crisis intervention and counseling. From there, you may partake in advocacy, case management, mental health interventions, treatment for substance use dependence, or supporting Veterans dealing with housing instability and homelessness.
If a Veteran has questions or problems, you are the one to refer them to the resources they need. Your expertise relieves an extraordinary burden from Veterans and their caregivers, offering them the support they need to overcome their challenges.
“The social workers connected me to services before I could even think about what we need,” said Carol Waney, a Veteran’s caregiver who resides in Niagara Falls, New York. “And they’re always there if I need to talk.”
Because I CARE
At VA, our core values—integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect, and excellence—define who we are as VA employees and how we will fulfill our mission to care for Veterans.
We feel these five ideals describe our culture and serve as the foundation for the way we interact with our Veterans and our fellow employees.
Integrity: We choose to act with the highest professional standards and maintain the trust of all with whom we engage.
Commitment: We work diligently to serve Veterans and are driven by an earnest belief in VA’s mission.
Advocacy: We are truly Veteran-centric, as we work to identify, consider and advance the interests of Veterans.
Respect: We treat all those we serve and with whom we work with dignity and respect, because we believe you must show respect to earn it.
Excellence: We strive for the highest quality and value continuous improvement.
Work at VA
Become an integral part of our patient care team as a social worker, helping Veterans and their caregivers access the resources they need and finding solutions for complex problems.