PhD/PsyD VA Volunteering

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by xXIDaShizIXx, 10.30.14.

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  1. xXIDaShizIXx

    xXIDaShizIXx 2+ Year Member

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    So, I was trying to volunteer at the local VA and made it clear that I was interested in doing it long term and wanted to do what ever they needed. The guy at volunteer services said that I would have to be put on a wait list because they had too many volunteers currently. And he also told me they gave preference to volunteers who were veterans. Does this sound accurate? It just seems odd that there would be a wait list for free labor (regardless of how light the work was).
     
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  3. PsychBiker

    PsychBiker 7+ Year Member

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    Yes, for me it took a few months before I was "activated" as a volunteer by my local VA. The approval process took a long time too.
     
  4. xXIDaShizIXx

    xXIDaShizIXx 2+ Year Member

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    He only took my name and number. Should I call back and make sure they got my information? I don't want to wait several months and then turns out they never took my information down. This was about a week or so ago.
     
  5. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Neuropsychologist 7+ Year Member

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    Depends on the VA. The ones that I've worked at had plenty of volunteers, so there was a waiting list for general volunteers. If you want to help out just for the experience, go for it. If you want experience that will look good on a CV, I'd go with other options.
     
  6. xXIDaShizIXx

    xXIDaShizIXx 2+ Year Member

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    Its actually just for the experience and I personally enjoy volunteering. I figured I'd at least try to volunteer with a population that I'd enjoy. Since military/veterans are what I'm interested in, I figured it would be a good place to volunteer.
     
  7. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Neuropsychologist 7+ Year Member

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    Fair enough, and I encourage anyone who wants the experience to go for it. General volunteers just don't get much actual clinical experience, so it won't get you all that far on an application for grad/internship stuff.
     
  8. xXIDaShizIXx

    xXIDaShizIXx 2+ Year Member

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    I definitely understand. Plus I'd rather do that than doing odd volunteering here and there and would rather be committed to one thing. I'm working on research, already working on my proposal for my dissertation and intend on being a TA, among other things to get the experience and to look good during internship applications.
     
  9. HomeworkHelper

    HomeworkHelper 2+ Year Member

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    Why not volunteer to work for a crisis hotline or as a sexual assault hospital volunteer? It would probably look better and provide more relevant experience.
     
  10. xXIDaShizIXx

    xXIDaShizIXx 2+ Year Member

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    Quite honestly, trying to find something that is close by is the biggest problem. I can't drive 2 hours to volunteer somewhere. Trying to find stuff close to me.
     
  11. xXIDaShizIXx

    xXIDaShizIXx 2+ Year Member

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    So the VA called me back and they do have long term volunteering opportunities! They are trying to put me in the allergy clinic though. A little bit of patient contact/ more paperwork. Would this be a good experience with the VA, getting to know how the system works?
     
  12. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist-VA 7+ Year Member

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    What is the purpose of this, exactly? If you wantt to work with/serve veterans, there are many, many, ways to do that.

    And what do you mean "how the VA works?" The VA (or the VHA arm at least) is a healthcare organization. It "works" by serving patients and billing the government and supplemental insurance companies. Its doesnt always work smoothly due to its high demand, but thats how it operates.
     
    Last edited: 11.03.14
  13. xXIDaShizIXx

    xXIDaShizIXx 2+ Year Member

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    The purpose is to give a little bit of my time every week to a population that I'm interested in. Get some patient contact and learn about filing paperwork and billing and have experience with it. I would have preferred to work with a psychologist, but I'll be volunteering under an Allergist/Immunologist. I've never volunteered for a hospital that wasn't private.
     
  14. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist-VA 7+ Year Member

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    Thats fine, but given that you are in grad school, you might want to do something at the VA that will actually benefit your career and CV. If serving that population is important to you, I would encorage you to do that elsewhere (SAV, VFW, local 31s) utilize ther VA for clinical or research endeavors. Is it academically affiliated? If so, volunteer in the MIRREC. "Filling paperwork" is a technical duty that you probably wont be doing in the future. Learning about billing may serve you, but the VA is probably not the best place to learn about it.
     
  15. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist SDN Moderator 5+ Year Member

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    Well, I will say that the VA tends to have a "culture" that's fairly unique to it as a hospital system, based in part on the population served, services offered, and sheer size of the network. If a VA career is something you're considering, then I can see how getting some exposure to the setting in any capacity could be helpful, especially if you've never had it before. All things being equal, if you're going to volunteer anyway, it couldn't hurt to do so at the VA; it just may not boost your CV much.
     
  16. xXIDaShizIXx

    xXIDaShizIXx 2+ Year Member

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    Its not academically affiliated, but I am working on two research projects right now and my dissertation proposal, so I feel like I have as much research as I need at this point. The thing that I feel like I will be severely lacking in is seminars and presentations attended. I can't really afford to travel too far away. But I'll definitely look into those.
     
  17. xXIDaShizIXx

    xXIDaShizIXx 2+ Year Member

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    Well thank you. I've already applied for the HPSP for the Army and Navy. That's my first choice of a job and if I don't get either of those, then its either direct commissioning after I'm licensed or try to get in at the VA. Other than that, working for the federal government (or maybe a state government) in any capacity is preferred, because I don't want to do private practice. But again, the volunteering is for exposure and not really to pad my resume or anything. Besides the VA is really the only thing that is both close to me (geographically) and related to my interests as well.
     

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