oversight

Results of Survey of Current and Former Veterans Administration Health Care Workers

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-05-09.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                         DOCVdENT RBSUME
02256 - [A1332319]
(Results of Survey of Current and Former Veterans Administration
Health Care Workers]. HRD-77-94; B-133C044. ay 9, 1977, 8 pp. +
2 enclosures (2 pp.).
Report to max Cleland, hdministrator of Veterans Affairs,
Veterans Administration; by Gregory J. Ahart, Director, Human
Resources and Development Div.
Issue area: Personnel management and Compensation (300); Health
    Programs (1200);Health Programs: Health Providers (1202).:
Contact: Human Resources and Development Div.
Bud;et Function: Health: Health Care Services (551); Veterans
    Benefits and Services: Hospital and medical Care for
    Veterans (703).
Congressional Relevance: House Committee on Veterans' Affairs;
    Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs.
          A survey of present and former employees in selected
occupations in the Department of Medicine and Surgery of the
Veterans Administration concerned causes of job satisfaction or
dissatisfaction, reasons for accepting Government health care
jobs, and the probability of changing jobs within a year.
Questionnaires were sent to 362 forcer employees, of whom 186
responded, and to 2,527 present employees, of whoa 2,099
responded. Findings/Conclusions: Benefits and salary were the
two principal reasons given by both former and present employee
respondents for accepting th. job. Other major reasons included
needing a job, venting to work in the Federal Service, and
wanting to work in a health care career. The majority of both
former and present employee respondents were satisfied with
their salary and benefits. Job stability, the ability of fellow
workers, and the type of patients were aspects of the work
assignments with which most former and present employees were
satisfied. About 30% of the present employee respondents were
either undecided or anticipating a job change within the next
year. The major reasons for seeking a new job were wanting more
opportunities for promotion, needing a higher salary, wanting
more opportunities for career development, and wanting to get
more education or training. (SC)
                         UNITED STATES GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICe
i4o                              WASHINGTON, D.C. 205


      HUMAN REUOUWCu
(J     6  DIVI*ION
                                                        MAY 9   1977
           B-133044




           The Honorable Max Cleland
           Administrator of Veterans Affairs
           Veterans Administration
            Dear Mr. Cleland:
                 During our recent review of problems facing the Veterans
            Administration in recruiting and retaining health care workers,
            we sent questionnaires concerning employee satisfaction and
            job intentions to present and former employees in selected
            occupations within the Department of Medicine and Surgery
            (DM&S) (see enclosure I).
                 In a report to the Congress we summarized the responses
            to these questionnaires 1/. We believe that a more complete
            presentation of the responses would be of benefit to VA and
            that is the purpose of this report.
                 The results presented here are for those who answered a
            particular question and do not necessarily reflect the total
            number who responded; not all respondents answered each
            question and, for certain questions, respondents could give
            more than one answer. Only selected results are presented
            in this letter--those that pertain to causes of satisfaction
            or dissatisfaction among current and former employees,
            reasons for accepting first government health care job, and
            the probability of changing jobs within a year.
            RESULTS OF SURVEY OF FORMER
            DM&S HEALTH CARE WORKERS
                 We sent questionnaires to 362 former DM&S health care
            workers and received a total of 186 responses, or 51 percent.
            1/
             "Recruitment and Retention of Veterans Administration Health
             Care Workers Are Not Major Problems," (HRD-77-57, 3/31/77).

                                                                 HRD-77-94
B-133044



     We asked, in addition to other questions, why the
respondents took their first Government health care job.
As stated in our report, benefits and salary were the two
principal reasons given by the respondents for accepting
the job. Below is a list of reasons which the respondents
believed were important factors in their decision to accept
their first Government health care job.

                                Number
                             selecting this     Percent of
      Reasons                   reason          respondents
Benefits                            110              59
Salary                              102              55
Needed a job                         66              36
Wanted to work in the
  Federal Service                    66              36
Job stability                        58              31
Wanted to work in a
  health care career                 56              30
Opportunities for career
  development and training           53              29
Promotion opportunities              52              28
Location or geographic
  area                               47              25
Kind of patients                     31              17
Wanted to change jobs                25              13
Influence of friend,
  family, relative,
  or acquaintance                    24              13
Other reasons                        22              12
Personal situation                   16               9
Impressed by abilities
  of people working in
  hospital                           15               8
Looks of hospital and
  working conditions                 i5               8
Opportunities for premium
  pay and overtime pay               13               7
Influence of recruiting
  people and literature               6               3




                             - 2-
B-133044



     In response to our question on how sat.sfied the
respondents had been with various aspects of their job,
the majority had been satisfied wit;l their salary and
benefits. Below is a list of the job aspects and the
percentage of respondents who indicated satisfaction.
                                     Number who    Percent
Aspects of work assignment           responded    satisfied

Benefits                                178           95
Salary                                  180           91
Job stability                           177           89
Ability of fellow workers               378           88
Type of patients                        177           76
Use of training                         178           73
Public service                          169           71
Personal situation                      168           69
Civil Service system                    166           66
Hospital conditions                     176           65
Promotion opportunities                 178           63
Work relationship with
   supervisors or management            178           63
Job conditions                          177           63
Ability of supervisors,
   management and physicians            176           60
VA system                               176           60
Other opportunities                     164           59
Opportunities for career
   development and training             176           56
 Other considerations                    1'            7

     In response to a question on emply-pes' reasons for
leaving DM&S, the reasons most frequently given were various
iob characteristics. Page 28 of our report to the Congress
lists these reasons in detail.
RESULTS OF SURVEY OF HEALTH CARE WORKERS
E-PLOYED BY DM&S

      We sent questionnaires concerning compensation, job
 intentions, and other employee satisfaction matters to




                             - 3 -
B-133044



health care workers in selected occupations who were employed
by the 12 VA hospitals which we visited (see enclosure II).
Of the 4775 non-supervisory employees at these hospitals, we
distributed uestionnaires to 2527 employees and received
2099 completed questionnaires, a response rate of 83 percent.

     The majority of the respondents were satisfied with the
salary and benefits of their job. The following list shows
the percentage of respondents who were satisfied with various
aspects of their work assignment.

Aspects of                        Number who      Percent
work assignment                   respor.ded     satisfied
Job stability                        1975            96
Benef-.ts                            2010            95
Ability of fellow workers            1981            95
Type of patients                     1972            87
Personal situation                   1907            86
Wor' relationship with
  supervisors or management          1995            85
Public service                       1882            85
Job conditions                       1986            82
Use of training                      1986            81
Premium and Overtime pay             1951            80
Ability of supervisors,
  management and physicians          1982            78
Civil Service system                 1929            78
VA system                            1984            77
Hospital conditions                  1980            77
Salary                               2021            76
Other opportunities                  1828            70
Opportunities for career
  development and training           1983            66
Promotion opportunities              1974            57
Other considerations                   95            26
     As shown above, most respondents to cur questionnaire
were generally satisfied with the aspects of their present
work assignment.




                          - 4 -
B-133044



     In response to the question on why they took their
first Government health care job, over 40 percent stated
that salary and/or benefits were the most important reasons
for accepting their job. Reasons given by the respondents
are listed below.

                                Number
                             selecting this     Percent of
      Reasons                   reasoa          respondents

Benefits                          990                47
Salary                            852                41
Wanted to work in
  Federal service                 807                39
Job stability                     768                37
Needed a job                      668                32
Wanted co work in health
  care career                     554                26
Location or geographic
  area                            541                26
Opportunities for career
  development and training        466                22
Promotion opportunities           441                21
Wanted to chan;e job              406                19
Infl.uence of friend,
  family, relative
  or acquaintance                 324                15
Kind of patients                  235                11
Personal situation                173                 8
Premium and overtime pay          155                 7
Locks of hospital and
  working conditions              147                 7
Impressed by ability oZ
  people working in
  hospital                        143                 7
Other reasons                     103                 5
Influence of recruiting
  people and literature            73                 4




                              5
B-133044



     The probability of changing jobs within a year was high
for about 14 percent of our respondents. An additional 16
percent were undecided about changing jobs. The following
reasons were given by those employees either undecided or
anticipating a job change.
                                Number
                             selecting this     Percent of
      Reasons                   reason          respondents

Wanted more opportunit'es
   for promotion                     395             66
Needed higher salary                 .59             60
Wanted more opportunities
   for career development            335             56
Wanted to get more
   education and training            334             55
Desired a promotion to
   more skilled health
   care job                          260             43
Training and experience
   not used well                     242             40
Desired a better job                 190             32
Did not respect the
   ability of supervisors,
   management, or physicians         155             26
Did not like work relation-
   ship with supervisor or
   hospital managers                 143             24
Did not like working
   conditions                        134             22
Wanted to work with
   different types of
   patients                          134             22
 Did not like hospital
   conditions                        127             21
Wanted to go to a different
   part of the country or
   location                          125             21
Wanted to try a different
    type of job career               119             20




                             - 6 -
B-133044



                               Number
                            selecting this      Percent of
      Reasons                  reason           respondents
Did not like job
  situation                        109               18
Needed more premium
  overtime pay                      89               15
Wtnted more job
  stability                         60               10
Felt it was time to
  move                              60               10
Needed to be with family
  and the family moved              46                8
Needed to stay home
  (pregnancy, family,
   children, etc.)                  35                6
Did not respect ability
  of fellow workers                 35                6
Wanted to take wage
  board job                         31                5
Did not like working for
  Federal Government                24                4
CONCLUSIONS

     Health care workers responding to our questionnaire who
were employed by DM&S at the time of our review were generally
satisfied with their compensation and most aspects of their
assignment or career possibilities. This general satisfaction
is further emphasized by the fact that about 70 percent of the
respondents plan on continuing their career in DM&S. Both
the former and current employees indicated salary and benefits
as being the primary motivations in accepting their first
Government health care job. The most frequent reasons given
for leaving DM&S were various job characteristics, not salary
or benefits.



     The computer-generated tabulation from which this
detailed summary information is based is too voluminous to




                           - 7 -
B-133044



enclose in this report. We believe, however, that this
information would be informative to DM&S officials. We
would be willing, therefore, to share the detailed
questionnaire tabulation data with VA. If you would like
this information, please contact Mr. George D. Peck,
Assistant Director, on 389-5281.

     We appreciate the assistance given us during our
review.
                              Sincerely yours,




                              Gregy .     hart
                              Director

Enclosures - 2




                          - 8 -
ENCLOSURE I                                     TNCLOSURE I




              OCCUPATIONS SELECTED FOR REVIEW


     Registered nurses

     Licented vocational practical nurses

     Nursing assistants

     Physical therapists

     Occupational therapists

     Medical technologists

     Radiology technicians--diagnostic

     Pharmacists

     Nuclear medicine technicians

     Irhalation therapy technicians
ENCLOSURE II                                         ENCLOSURE II




                    VA HOSPITALS REVIEWED

                                            Number
                                                of
                                                beds

Facilities over 500 beds:
     Atlanta, Georgia (note a)                550
     Long Beach, California (note a)        1,591
     Salt Lake City, Utah (note a)            506
     West Haven, Connecticut (note a)         725
Facilities under 500 beds:
     Fort Harrison, Montana                      160
     Lake City, Florida                          363
     Phoenix, Arizona                            299
     Providence, Rhode Island (note a)           353

Psychiatric facilities:
     Brentwood, California (note a)              470
     Brockton, Massachusetts tnote ,a)           897
     Fort Lyon, Colorado                         600
     Murfreesboro, Tennessee                     852




 a/
   Hospitals affiliated with medical schools.