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Help serve aging Veterans with a geriatrics specialty at VA

Geriatric Veterans are the largest current demographic of those who have served, with more than 11 million aging Veterans in the nation. It is a number that is only going to increase, meaning many more Veterans will be looking to us to provide geriatric care in the coming years.

VA is committed to ensuring these Veterans—and all Veterans—receive the best care available, which means clinicians who specialize in geriatrics are a welcome addition to our ranks.

Geriatrics and emergency rooms

While you may expect to find geriatrics specialists in VA’s community living centers and nursing homes or providing hospice and palliative care services in Veterans’ homes or VA facilities, we can meet Veterans with geriatric needs anywhere, especially the emergency room.

More than half of all VA emergency department visits involve a Veteran over the age of 65, so VA is making strides to become the largest specialized geriatric emergency care provider in the U.S. We have67 accredited geriatric emergency departments (GED) spread out across the country and 18 more to come.

“This focus on identifying what matters to our most vulnerable older Veterans and addressing their unmet needs and geriatric syndromes really makes a positive impact on their lives,” said Dr. Colleen McQuown, director of VA’s geriatric emergency department transition program.

Geriatrics and training

We are also piloting a new learning model that offers an innovative approach to teaching and learning geriatric medicine, allowing trainees to expand their knowledge of geriatrics and the more complex cases typically involved.

Developed by clinicians in the VA Bedford Healthcare System, this new program offers participants in the geriatric medicine rotation the opportunity to learn from physicians, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, and more.

Just as nearly 70% of all U.S. physicians complete training in VA, and more than 118,000 health professions trainees in over 60 clinical disciplines train at VA each year, this collaboration allows fellows to enhance their skills in providing comprehensive care to older Veterans.

Geriatrics and you

Where do you fit in? VA has numerous openings for clinicians interested in pursuing geriatric medicine across all spectrums of care.

  • Physician. At VA, our physicians deliver the highest quality health care in a time frame that works for Veterans and providers, which is important for geriatric patients who may have complex issues that need more attention.
  • Nurse. Nurses are the backbone of VA’s health system, particularly in geriatrics, where their time and attention can profoundly impact the everyday care these Veterans receive.
  • Psychiatrist. Geriatric psychiatrists bring unique expertise to our team, focusing on prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of mental and emotional disorders in older Veterans who may have multiple medical issues and take multiple medications.
  • Pharmacist. At VA, our pharmacists can make clinical decisions on behalf of their patients, and in our system, you’ll receive the diagnosis from the doctor but write and fill a prescription based on a patient’s medication history and your expertise.
  • Occupational therapist. No other discipline measures the functional, physical, and cognitive skills that make up the daily lives of our Veterans more than occupational therapy, and the work you do helps geriatric Veterans feel whole.

Even if your specialty isn’t in a clinical field, our administrative, information technology, and support services roles also have a hand in caring for geriatric Veterans.

No matter your role, those who work in geriatrics find it to be among the most satisfying health professions. Coupled with our mission to provide care to those who have served our country with honor, you’ll be doing work that matters every single day.

Work at VA

Explore a career that’s sure to make a difference in the lives of Veterans. VA’s geriatrics and extended care programs nationwide are looking for qualified individuals like you to join our team.

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