My husband and I work for the James H Quillen VA Medical Center at Mountain Home, TN. We work as nursing assistants at the Community Living Center, where we care for the veterans that fought for our freedom in wars from WW2 to OEF/OIF.
We are honored to care for these men and women whom have become like a second family to us, whether they are staying for a short time or have chosen to live the last of their days at a place where the government, that they fought so hard and risked their lives for, promised would care for them and their families at any cost.
The problem is, their government has chosen to cut our budget to such an extent that our facility cannot afford to hire the staff necessary to care for our veterans, which in turn forces our facility to close beds that are desperately needed. Now, the government is sending our veterans to private sector nursing facilities which costs more money to the taxpayers. Even though they have closed beds due to less staff we are still forced to work short-handed, and that hurts everyone. Not just because that means more work for the staff, but it also means more injuries to staff and patients, less time for focused patient care, and more mistakes on paperwork and other responsibilities.
Also, we as nursing assistants don’t have the opportunity to get to know our patients and the things that comfort them or things they enjoy that would make their stay more pleasant and feel more at home. If the government makes severe budget cuts, it would not only impact us as citizens, but the veterans who fought for our freedom as well.
AFGE Local 1687
Department of Veterans Affairs, Tennessee