Success in caring for veterans equals high rate of employee satisfaction at Truman VA

The Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital won the “Best Place to work in the VA” award for the second consecutive year.

This is the first time in the history of the award that an organization has won two years in a row. The award program was started 17 years ago by the Veterans Health Administration. The entire VA organization participates in the employee satisfaction survey that determines hospital rankings. The VA organization employs over 370,00 people, and the Truman VA hospital, located in Columbia, Missouri, employs nearly 1,600 individuals. These 1,600 had the highest satisfaction out of all 370,000 people.

“Employee satisfaction is so high because each team member is valued for their contribution to our mission, which is to honor veterans through exceptional care, education and research,” said David Isaacks, director at Truman VA.

Marilyn Herndon, RN clinical reviewer, said the leadership team and directors over the past couple of years have been great, which is one of the main reasons for the high rates of satisfaction within the Truman VA. 

Isaacks shows how much he cares about his staff through the high levels of respect he shows for them as individuals.

“I treat my employees the same as I treat my peers since the organizational success is not based on my actions, but based on the individual actions of my workforce,” Isaacks said.

According to Herndon, who has been with the Truman VA for nearly 25 years, when she first started working there it was common to see veterans lined up and down the halls waiting hours for treatment. Now, she said, the availability of more VA clinics and other options allows veterans to receive treatment without the long waits.

The Truman VA treats around 40,000 veterans a year and the outpatient clinics have more than 400,000 visits annually.

This increased effectiveness in caring for the veterans leads to greater satisfaction among the employees according to Herndon.

Numbers prove the point.

 “Truman VA’s registered nurse turnover rate is only 6 percent as compared to the 15 percent in Missouri’s private sector,” Isaacks said.

Student veterans are able to use the Truman VA without having to travel far from campus, as it is nestled right between the University Hospital and Hearnes Center at 800 Hospital Drive, Columbia, Missouri.