Why We Should Make Way for the Military in Healthcare

Veterans bring special, needed skills to civilian jobs

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We think of the Armed Forces as our nation’s powerful defenders, but they are also outstanding educators, training young people in hundreds of fields like finance, administration, mechanics, technology and computers. Many of these skills learned in military life translate easily into civilian careers – especially in healthcare.

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There is tremendous opportunity to hire veterans and reservists across all industries, but especially in healthcare, which is in the midst of a transformative time of change.

What veterans bring

These highly skilled men and women bring something quite special to the table.

We know that by serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard, they have already worked for one of the most successful and demanding organizations on earth.

They have learned to perform complex tasks to a level that lives may depend on them. They have learned leadership, teamwork and the ability to work under pressure. They have been held to high standards in planning and safety. They have been exposed to social diversity and global cultures.

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All this is in addition to the particular occupational skills they may have learned – from bookkeeping to the full range of healthcare professions.

My military experience included running a busy Casualty Staging Flight in Da Nang, during the war in Vietnam. I came away from that experience with tremendous self-confidence, knowing that I could make the most of limited resources and successfully perform large tasks under difficult conditions.

The lessons I learned continue to inform my decision-making as CEO of Cleveland Clinic.

Career transition tools for veterans

Over the past several years, Cleveland Clinic has been working hard to hire returning veterans. Our Hero Experience program has a dedicated internet portal for veterans and reservists, and a tool that helps match Military Occupation Codes with open jobs.

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We’ve worked with local, state and national veterans’ groups to develop special career transition tools and programs for veterans and reservists.

These include three-day workshops to help veterans and reservists to explore, apply and interview for jobs at Cleveland Clinic, free career coaching and resume review, and partnerships with government agencies to link veterans and their families to additional training, education and assistance.

We are not doing these veterans a favor; they are doing us a favor by applying for our jobs. Today, more than ever, the healthcare industry needs the skills and character our veterans and reservists bring to the job.

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Delos M. Cosgrove, MD

Delos M. Cosgrove, MD, is President and CEO of Cleveland Clinic, where he presides over a $6.7 billion healthcare system.
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