Veterans Administration doctors and nurses, assisted by a U.S. Air Force 314th Airlift Wing airman (right), treat patients from the VA hospital in New Orleans in Hangar 276 at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. (AIRMAN ROXANNE ZELLMER / AIR FORCE)
By the end of the year, federal agencies could be hiring nurses and other medical staffers from centralized hiring registers maintained by the Office of Personnel Management.
John Sepulveda, the Veterans Affairs Department's assistant secretary of human resources, said in an interview today that his department and OPM began working on new registers a few months ago.
"It's a good way of identifying highly qualified individuals," Sepulveda said. "I expect to see a lot of experienced veterans on those registers."
Sepulveda said that other agencies such as the Defense and Health and Human Services departments would be able to hire medical staffers from the registers.
OPM in April announced the creation of registers for 13 jobs such as contracting specialists, accountants and human resources specialists. Under this system, OPM posts vacancy announcements for those jobs, evaluates the applicants, applies veterans preference points and then forwards lists of suitable candidates to hiring managers. By pooling hiring duties for the government's most common jobs, the government can eliminate duplicative work and slash the time it takes to fill those posts by 20 percent, OPM said.
The registers will be free, but agencies must be willing to use category rating — where candidates are placed in broad quality groupings rather than being assigned numerical ratings — to participate.
Pharmacists, social workers and physical therapists are among the other medical jobs that could be included in the new registers, Sepulveda said.
He said he hopes to have them up and running this year.