What Motivates Doctors to Care for Veterans?

Medical Doctor Associates
November 12, 2018 11:30 AM (GMT-04:00)
Locum Tenens Tips

Just as soldiers step forward to defend our country, many doctors feel called to support those troops. We call it “Practice with Purpose” as thousands of physicians serve the health and wellbeing of Veterans across the United States and beyond.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) serves nearly nine million enrolled Veterans each year. Doctors, advanced practice providers and other healthcare professionals can apply their skills at VA facilities across the country with any valid state license, and enjoy rewarding careers caring for America’s greatest heroes.

In honor of National Veterans and Military Families Month, we wanted to find out why doctors choose to work with Veterans and what the experience is like. So, we spoke with a long-time physician partner of Medical Doctor Associates who does locum tenens contract work for the VA, and here is what we learned:

How have you been associated in the past with government-related medical care?

I have been doing contractual work (locum tenens) with VA since 2002 in various locations, usually 3-6 months at a time. I have also worked with Correctional Health a few times. 

In what ways have you been associated with MDA or Cross Country? Locum tenens? Long or short assignments? Temp? Perm?

I have been associated with MDA regularly since 2013 as locum tenens. I have taken 3- to 12-month contracts with VA and correctional medicine. It has been a very productive relationship, I might add.

What motivated you to take on your very first government-related healthcare assignment?

I was looking for a flexible work schedule that would allow me time to stay with my aging parents. Government contract work provided the perfect opportunity regarding schedule and the one-license-fits-all work environment.

What do you like about working with Veterans? 

Veterans are a unique population coming from many walks of life yet tied together by a common link – their military service. They count on VA healthcare to care for them after they retire from active duty. For many of them, VA is their only health "insurance." It is gratifying to try to do something good for people who have done so much for their country.

What do you like about the environment?

I like that there is a structured and mostly comparable work schedule in any location. I enjoy the excellent teamwork among the staff. Also, I love the opportunity to visit different regions of the country.

What are some of your biggest challenges with your patients or the environment?

The VA Health System offers numerous means of receiving preventive healthcare. Some examples are nutrition counseling, weight management, colon cancer screening, smoking cessation, PTSD assessment, addiction counseling, pain management, and vocational guidance. Veterans' participation in these programs would go a long way in avoiding chronic health issues, lessening chronic pain without use of habit forming and risky pain medications and improving overall quality of life.

What reward do you get from working with Veterans?

For Veterans, homelessness remains a significant issue. When a Veteran does get to a clinic, it is highly appreciated.

Working with the VA

The Veterans Health Administration has an extensive list of reasons providers choose to work with Veterans. These include the opportunity to:

  • Care for patients from military discharge through their lifetime
  • Practice medicine without having to run a business
  • Enjoy longer visits caring for patients
  • Participate in research and academia
  • Impact Veteran and national health
  • Have an excellent work-life balance
  • Enjoy access to continuing medical education
  • Have malpractice insurance coverage
  • Receive competitive compensation
  • Participate in telehealth and advanced technology
  • Have a flexible work schedule

Locum Tenens VA Jobs with MDA

At Medical Doctor Associates, we offer a wide variety of positions for physicians and advanced practitioners who are interested in locum tenens government services including work with the VA. In addition to our opportunities in the private sector, we also have positions with Department of Defense, Indian Reservation Health Facilities, statewide service programs, and university hospitals and clinics. Government positions are in every state and specialty and offer amazing benefits. To learn more, search for opportunities with MDA or call 1.800.780.3500 to speak with a recruiter.

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