What Many Fail to Consider When Thinking How the VA Needs to Improve
Veterans have historically been disappointed with the medical services administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the common assumption is that the services are slow and behind current best medical practices, I have heard veterans complain about many of these issues, but I had failed to consider an additional factor underlying the frustration veterans experience searching for services.
During an interview with a veteran, something the veteran said produced an "ah ha" moment related to the services they are given, and I hope this post helps. The veteran stated, like many before, that the veteran became frustrated with the VA's medical services because, in this case, the veteran arrived for a medical appointment and there was no record that the veteran had scheduled the appointment in the first place. Granted, the experience will frustrate and upset most people, and rightly so, but the veteran was most angered by the incongruity between the veteran's experience of the "well oiled machine" of the Armed Forces, while the machine that was supposed to medically treat the most needy struggles with consistency of basic processes.
Thought exercise. Imagine you have been trained to expect that your job is very important and that everyone doing their job will be expected to do the same, and that the goals will be achieved regardless of the obstacles. Then you go to a representative of this organization, stating that they represent your interests, but they fail to express the behaviors that made your particular organization shine and excel. Will you have confidence in the service? Probably not. Added on the particulars of depression and chronic anxiety to complicate the experience? Less likely.
What the VA fails to integrate for the myriad of reasons presented over the past three POTUS is a responsiveness and exactitude that reflects the precision of the Armed Forces. Before doing anything else, it is best to work on the environment first, to establish rapport quickly by showing in your practices and procedures that their time is as important as yours.