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PhD/PsyD VA, Kaiser, State Hospital, job choices

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by Panda44, Aug 18, 2017.

  1. Panda44


    Dec 2, 2016
    I'm on internship now at a VA and I really love the work. However, I know postdoc is our last year of training and testing the waters. I'm trying to compare working for the VA, Kaiser, and state hospitals (CA) as a clinical psychologist. This will help me narrow down the post docs I apply to. I've already done practicum in a county hospital and community mental health setting so I know what I like and don't like about those types of settings.

    I really love inpatient unit work, groups, and neuro testing. I'm not trained in neuropsychology but I love testing so some work would be great. I prefer to have multiple responsibilities to having the same sort of work day over and over again. I will probably be in CA for the next few years but I have the freedom to move about the state. CA is too expensive to live in so I eventually want to move.

    I have a lot $$ in loans so I'm thinking a postdoc and future job that qualifies for loan repayment programs is the best option even if Kaiser pays more. I also haven't heard the best about Kaiser (from the news) but I don't personally know anyone who works there so I don't know what its really like to work there.

    Any advice on Kaiser/CA State hospital systems would be greatly appreciated.
    Are the benefits similar, what is the work environment like, etc? Ive been searching this site for similar threads as well but haven't quite found the advice I'm looking for.
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  3. psych.meout

    psych.meout 2+ Year Member

    Oct 5, 2015
    I can appreciate enjoying neuropsychological testing (I love it, too!), but if you aren't formally trained in it, should you really be doing it?

    Isn't clinical practice about the ethical treatment and needs of the patients, not the clinician's interests or financial opportunities?
    Therapist4Chnge likes this.

    LETSGONYR 5+ Year Member

    Jul 7, 2012
    Washington, DC
    I interpreted that as... "I did some neuropsych testing (presumably during an externship) under supervision and enjoyed it, so I'd like a position that involves some assessment. I know I won't be able to do neuropsych assessment, though, since my experience in it is limited."
    Panda44 likes this.
  5. psych.meout

    psych.meout 2+ Year Member

    Oct 5, 2015
    Well, if that's the case, I'll shut my big mouth, but that's not how I read it.

    LETSGONYR 5+ Year Member

    Jul 7, 2012
    Washington, DC
    Well if your interpretation was correct, I agree with your response. :).

    OP- sorry I don't have any answers to your
    original question.
  7. erg923

    erg923 Regional Clinical Officer, Cenpatico National 10+ Year Member

    Apr 6, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    I dont really know what the question is here?

    Obviously, no VA, Kaiser, or state hospital are alike, so the work environments and culture will vary significantly from one to the other. VAs will be trauma and health psych heavy, Kaiser will be more of commuity mental health feel, and state hospitals will obviously be SMI treatment and forensically focused.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2017
  8. Panda44


    Dec 2, 2016
    You read correctly
  9. foreverbull

    foreverbull 2+ Year Member

    Sep 8, 2015
    I wish I could give you info from personal experience, but since none have spoken up about your original question, I can at least speak to Kaiser's reputation and practice from word of mouth of a few psychologists who worked for Kaiser in the past. Kaiser doesn't have a good reputation for treating psychologists/therapists well. One former Kaiser psychologist reported that therapy sessions were half an hour at most and clients were scheduled back to back all day (seeing something like 12-15 clients per day), but this was prior to Kaiser being fined millions for poor mental health practices and being told to make more efforts to reduce waitlists by hiring more clinicians (Kaiser tried to keep their therapist numbers down and overbook practitioners with clients essentially). A few articles:
    Kaiser Permanente Cited — Again — For Mental Health Access Problems

    I don't know if things are better for postdocs/psychologists currently or not. If you are still interested in applying, make sure you ask plenty of questions to get a sense of the current work environment/daily schedule there when interviewing, especially from current postdocs.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017
    Panda44 likes this.
  10. cara susanna

    cara susanna 7+ Year Member

    Feb 10, 2008
    I have also really heard negative things about working as a psychologist for Kaiser.
    Panda44 likes this.
  11. SFPsyd

    SFPsyd Psychologist 10+ Year Member

    Nov 14, 2006
    Burlingame, ca
    it's been a few years since I worked at Kaiser (now in private practice) but I have a pretty good sense of the pros/cons to working in that environments:

    -pace/productivity expectations
    -frequency of sessions can be low (e.g. Monthly)
    -some bad blood between management and therapist staff members

    -High salaries for the field, starting at over 100k and quickly moving to 140 or so
    -good benefits -- solid healthcare, 6-8 paid weeks of vacation per year
    -work hard but never more than 40 hours per week, 4 days/week (most staff work 4 10-hr days and get a long weekend)
    -many opportunities to be involved in training programs (such as practicum or internship)
    Panda44 likes this.
  12. psych1420

    psych1420 2+ Year Member

    Jul 12, 2013
    Panda, I am currently at Kaiser and also may be interested in switching to VA for post-doc. PM me and let's talk a bit? Tried to message you but your profile is restricted. Would be interested to hear your perspective.

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