As the largest integrated health care system in the U.S., VA is always on the lookout for new talent.

Crystal Cruz, executive director of human capital management at VHA, broke down how hiring data looks from a numerical perspective in a recent live broadcast on LinkedIn.

“We’re staffing 140 health care systems and over 1,200 community-based outpatient clinics, so it takes a large workforce,” Cruz told Darren Sherrard, associate director of recruitment marketing, in a “Talk About It Tuesday” weekly live chat.

We hire approximately 45,000 new people each year, with registered nurses, medical support assistants, physicians, practical nurses and nursing assistants, and social workers topping the list of new hires. About 18,000 of those are Veterans, who make up one-third of our workforce.

“Veterans get to have the great honor, as all of us do, of serving the nation’s Veterans and working alongside lots of other Veterans who have made those some sacrifices they’ve made and who want to continue to serve,” Cruz commented.

Hiring has only ramped up in 2020 with increased health care needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, Cruz said.

“VA has been very forward looking in making sure we have the staff that we need to provide care for our Veterans for coronavirus, but also for all the other health care needs they have right now,” she said.

Cruz began her career with VA 13 years ago as a workforce planner. She now oversees the Human Capital Management office, which is charged with supporting VA’s recruitment professionals, streamlining hiring practices, and overseeing workforce planning and manpower management.

They also manage recruitment and retention programs, such as loan repayment programs for hard-to-fill positions and scholarships for continuing education. These programs, plus other generous benefits and the fulfilling mission of serving Veterans, have resulted in one of the lowest turnover rates in the federal government.

“I can’t tell you how much I enjoy this work,” she said. “Knowing how important the work is just makes it a pleasure.”

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Published on Sep. 8, 2020

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