As we celebrate National Pharmacist Day on Jan. 12, 2024, we want to take time to recognize the importance of VA pharmacists, and how much of an impact you can make on the health and well-being of the Veterans we serve.
The unique role pharmacists play
At VA, pharmacists are directly involved in patient care, and play a vital role in a patient’s recovery. While you will work alongside your fellow medical professionals as an integrated member of a Veteran’s health care team, you also have the ability to write prescriptions directly.
That’s because VA pharmacists are offered the unique responsibility to write and fill a prescription based on a patient’s medication history and their own knowledge. While patients still receive a diagnosis from the doctor, you’re the one who will make the final call on medications.
“I wasn’t planning to do a pharmacy residency until I did my VA rotation during pharmacy school. That totally flipped my world upside down,” explained Dalena Nguyen, a VA pharmacist in Florida. “I saw the prominent role pharmacists have in VA and applied only to VA programs for residency.”
“It really is the epitome of working at the top of your license,” said Dr. Christina White, chief of pharmacy at Robley Rex VA Medical Center in Louisville, Kentucky. “That’s by far the best and most unique thing about working as a pharmacist at VA.”
The opportunities we offer pharmacists
What you can accomplish as a VA pharmacist extends far beyond the medications you provide. No matter your level of experience, there are ways you can make a difference for our Veterans.
Pharmacists in VA work in a number of health care environments, including supporting Veterans in substance abuse treatment programs, working with patients in outpatient clinics, or offering care as part of a community living center. Any one of these options would be a great place to start your career.
For more experienced professionals, we provide extensive orientation, as well as advanced clinical pharmacy training and tuition reimbursement. As part of the VA network, you’ll have access to a team of over 6,000 pharmacists nationwide who can help you navigate this new frontier in your career.
There are also opportunities for you to help shepherd the next generation of VA pharmacists and guide policy. Your experience and leadership are valuable resources that will not only help your peers provide the care our Veterans deserve, but can influence the future of VA’s pharmacist community.
Whatever path you choose, you can rest assured that we value your skills and interests and fully support your VA pharmacy career. We’re proud to invest in your future and offer avenues to further develop your unique talent.
“This is the greatest place to work for, where you can expand your roles, where you can learn, where you can grow, where you can meet great people and have the job satisfaction that you’re doing something great for the Veteran population,” said Melinda Matos-Toro, a clinical pharmacy practitioner at the Mayagüez VA outpatient clinic in Puerto Rico.
The values we represent
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 5 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.
Together, these values provide a measure for the standards expected of all VA employees, reminding everyone that “I CARE.”
Work at VA
At VA, we look beyond traditional clinical roles to give pharmacists more influence on patient care. Bring your expertise to our team and take more control over the course of your career.