Veterans Affairs Secretary Urges Medical Students to Consider VA Careers

November 25, 2014


If you're a medical student with a deep sense of patriotism and service, take note. In a series of recruiting stops, Robert McDonald, the new Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs is urging America's medical school and nursing students to consider careers in the VA.

Since rising to his post in July, Sec. McDonald has worked feverishly to overhaul an agency beset with inexcusably long waits for health care for our nation's veterans, and by workers who have allegedly falsified records to cover up those delays. While the VA has been hit hard by the allegations and intense criticism - and rightly so - the real victims of course are our military veterans, thousands of whom have needlessly suffered for weeks or even months waiting for medical appointments. For many, the long waits have caused irreparable damage to their health and may have contributed to multiple preventable deaths.

By hiring more new doctors, nurses and other medical staff, the VA aims to better fill veterans' healthcare needs, greatly reduce wait times and achieve system-wide improvements. And, there are practical benefits for up-and-coming physicians, too. A new law allows the VA to pay up to $120,000 in debt forgiveness for medical professionals - a significant chunk of the average medical school debt of $180,000.

On several of his recruiting tour stops, Sec. McDonald was accompanied by US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who chairs the Senate Committee on Veteran's Affairs and who helped push through Congress a bill that provides $5 billion to the VA for the sole purpose of recruiting more new medical professionals.

The VA has upward of 150 medical centers nationwide and 820 community-based outpatient clinics, and is increasing its use of mobile health units that travel to reach veterans living in rural areas. To best fulfill the demand for VA healthcare providers, Sec. McDonald aims to recruit between 20,000 and 30,000 doctors and nurses. That's an amazing number of opportunities for medical students looking to make a real difference. Not only is the need for VA medical professionals at its all-time greatest, but the VA often is at the forefront of emerging medical technology, having pioneered a number of cutting-edge treatments and produced three Nobel Prize winners.

"There is no higher calling," Sec. McDonald told medical students attending a recent conference of the opportunity to care for America's veterans and their dependents.

We here at WOLFPACC agree. If you're headed to medical school, no matter where you hope to serve in your career, we can help assure your success with a range of courses designed to better prepare you for the med school environment and the USMLE and COMLEX exams. Call 904-209-3140 and speak with a WOLFPACC enrollment specialist today.