Social Work in the Veterans Administration Hospital System: Impact of the Workedit
Social workers in the Veterans Administration (VA) hospital system are faced with numerous challenges to best address the ongoing health and mental health needs of those who serve in the military. Social workers in the VA system serve diverse roles on the multidisciplinary medical teams and mental health services and are integral to the VA hospital environment. Most social workers feel positive about their work and their contributions to the care of the military. Despite positive feelings about their work, social workers are also prone to compassion fatigue and burnout as the work, especially with returning veterans from Afghanistan/Iraq, often extracts a toll. This article details the experience of social workers in the VA hospital system; it describes the impact of the work on the social workers, noting levels of compassion satisfaction, compassion fatigue, and burnout.