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Corps Values: Jameson Norton discusses why veterans make great employees

Jameson NortonIn honor of Veterans Day 2017, which is Saturday, Nov. 11, the Human Resources Diversity and Inclusion Council hosted Jameson Norton, CEO of Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital and Clinics, to discuss what makes veterans good candidates for employment at VUMC. Norton’s lecture preceded VUMC Talent Operation’s annual Veterans Career Event -- the goal of which is to attract more veterans to the Medical Center.

A Nashville native, Norton joined the U.S. Marine Corps after 9/11 and continues to serve as a major in the Marine Corps Reserves. After transitioning to civilian life, Norton said it was “good to come to a place where everyone truly cares about what they’re doing and wants to come to work every day.” He said VUMC shares several traits of the military including tangible values and a Credo that declares ‘We make those we serve our top priority.’ 

“Like the military, VUMC is a mission-centered organization. In the military, there’s always an ‘in-order-to,’ which allows initiative and allows us to adapt in order to achieve our goal,” he said.

For these reasons, VUMC is an attractive workplace for transitioning veterans, but Norton said there are still things we can do to make the organization even more welcoming to veterans.

“Recruiters and hiring managers can learn to speak military,” he said. “For example, a common question during an interview with a veteran should be ‘What was your MOS?’ MOS stands for military occupational specialty codes. Examples Veterans Career Eventof MOS codes are personnel and administration, intelligence, communications, financial management, legal services and military police.” 

Norton said we should also continue to build a “great culture for employees who are veterans at VUMC. Those employees will help recruit other veterans.”

Why should VUMC be interested in reaching out to veterans for employment? That’s simple, Norton says.

“Veterans are trained to make decisions in imperfect and chaotic environments,” he said. “Veterans are also skilled at critical thinking and are experienced at learning new technology. They’re quick learners.” 

He said veterans thrive in organizations, such as VUMC because they place a high value on teamwork and are “brilliant with the basics,” meaning they can learn skills to the point those skills become instinctual, yet they are also able to improvise, adapt and overcome difficult situations.”

Tennessee is home to more than 525,000 veterans, and between 60 and 100 veterans transition from Fort Campbell every month.

“Veterans tend to stay [and work] in the communities where their bases are located,” Norton said. “That’s good news for VUMC.”