VA Secretary Robert (Bob) McDonald has made health care recruitment a national priority.

In talks around the country with residents, interns and potential health care candidates, the Secretary has positioned himself as a mentor: he’s there to lend advice and he’s ready to listen. And while he is just one person, he is setting an example for all VA employees to share their stories with those interested in working at VA and explain to all health care professionals why VA is a great place to work.

“I see leadership of VA as an opportunity to improve the lives of men and women I care deeply about. There is no greater calling,” said Secretary McDonald.

Bob speaks with Howard University third year internal medicine residents Hakeem Ayinde and Nnaemeka Madubata. (@deptvetaffairs Instagram)

Bob speaks with Howard University third year internal medicine residents Hakeem Ayinde and Nnaemeka Madubata. (@deptvetaffairs Instagram)

Several senior officials in VA demonstrate their commitment to this calling of serving our Nation’s Heroes through their own outreach efforts. Like Secretary McDonald, their goal is to engage qualified health care talent and encourage them to be part of the VA model of providing proactive, personalized, patient-driven health care for our Veterans.

Dr. Karen Sanders, Deputy Chief Academic Affiliations Officer for VA, oversees the largest health professions education program in the United States, inclusive of nearly 120,000 trainees annually in more than 40 different health professions. In addition to sharing her experiences with residents and interns on the VA Careers blog, she is actively involved in the “Take a Closer Look VA.” campaign.

“Take a Closer Look VA.” is a national effort focused on keeping the nation’s best and brightest at VA—from their training as interns and residents in to the early stages of their careers. It focuses on the many benefits and unique opportunities that make VA an employer of choice.

“VA has an academic culture with many different career opportunities – teaching, research, patient care, administration,” Dr. Sanders said. “You can create a career that matches your interest in VA.”

Shawanda Poree, Director of Healthcare Recruitment Marketing (HRMO), seized the opportunity to talk about exciting careers at VA while she was providing technical assistance to the HRMO and a production crew during the filming of VHA’s newest T.V. commercial at VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (GLA) last month.  As a result of Poree’s one-on-one networking, two nurses have shown an interest in working at VA and are submitting resumes through job announcements at

As you can see from the demonstrated leadership of Secretary McDonald, Dr. Sanders and Ms. Poree, recruitment is a shared responsibility for all who work at VA. Whether you are a physician, nurse, administrative assistant, chief of staff, or a public affairs officer, you can have a positive impact in delivering proactive, personalized, patient-driven health care for our Veterans. All you have to do is reach out to health care professionals and those within their circles of influence and talk to them about VA and the privilege of serving our Veterans.

VA Careers will continue to feature VA employees and leadership recruiting engagements in this blog series. If you or someone you know is actively involved in VA health care recruitment, please tell us your story.

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Published on Oct. 29, 2014

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