Over 20 years at the hospital, left and not even a "thank you"????????

  1. Hello all,
    I've been lurking around for quite a while, and I had a discussion with a fellow nurse yesterday that has just set my blood boiling and my blood pressure near the stroke zone.

    I am employed as an RN in a Magnet Hospital and have been there for over 17 years. In the last year we have lost many of our long term fellow nurses to retirement, disability, and job changes. On my own unit, one nurse who was employed for over 25 years went back to school and now works as an APN. Another nurse left to get a job a little closer to home, she had been employed here for over 20 years.

    I had lunch with "Peggy", the 20 year nurse, who told me that the only thing she was told the day she left was to "return your badge and locator, and... don't forget to do your exit survey". She told me she cried every day for 2 weeks because she didn't even feel that ANY of her years were considered valuable by any of the management. Now, she's just ANGRY.

    So I called "Kerry", the 25 year APN nurse, and asked her. She basically said the same thing. No one said "thank you for all your years of service". She feels like she came from a hospital devoid of caring managers. She was a great staff nurse, nurse educator, clinical specialist, assistant head nurse, clinic nurse in her time there, and never had any discipline problems. In addition she was "Nurse of the Quarter" on our unit so its not like she was just a warm body or anything. She (as well as Peggy) were respected by their peers, physicians, and patients in our community.

    Maybe I am too emotional over this, but... I feel like I have a few feathers in my cap, but just CANNOT understand why these 2 valuable, talented women were allowed to leave without some sort of tribute to their many years of service from management! We hear all about the Press Gainey Scores and now our raises are tied to our Patient Satisfaction scores. The questions that are asked on our Satisfaction surveys don't address issues like this.

    I want to address this with our CEN. I am sure she isn't aware of it.

    Do you think I am crazy or overly emotional about this? I am just thinking about how I would feel if I left in a month with my 17 years of service there and all they said was "dont forget to give us your badge at the end of the day". Gee even a little ice cream and cake would be nice...

    Any hints on what I can say when I meet with our CEN?

    And if any of you are in upper management positions, you might want to ask your managers on Monday who has left with quite a bit of time spent there, and were they recognized by the management for all their valuable contributions to your organization?

    Geez... and they are a Magnet Hospital on top of it all!!!:angryfire :angryfire
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  2. 62 Comments

  3. by   Agnus
    It is sad. What is more sad I bet in thier exit interview these nurses said they were treated well. These nurses and you have recourse. They can write a letter to the hospitals senior administrator and tell them how unappreciated they felt when they left. Then give specific examples of what they would have the hospital or manager do when a long term nurse leaves.

    I was in a simular situation where it was sad and anticlimatic to leave. But there was nothing that could have made that any different.

    A celebration would not have, a letter of thanks would not have, some kind words from my mananger did not, nothing.

    Perhaps it is the anticlimax and the sadness of leaving that effects these nurses and you.

    Leaving a job after 20yrs is about as anticlimatic as you can get.

    What exactly would you have management do? When you can answer this specifically you will have your answer.

    Business is cruel. We all have our 15 minutes of fame and then they move on to the next big star. It is a case of the show must go on.

    Managers seldom get mushy over a 20 year employee. They are managers they often have not been there as long as you and they became managers by not sitting still in one place for 20 years.

    Unless you work in an unusual place hospitals are very corporate minded these days and are not a family type operation where they consider everyone there family or even casual friends.
    Last edit by Agnus on Aug 13, '06
  4. by   catlady
    Because they were leaving, not staying. Management has no interest in retention; they can get younger nurses for less money. They would rather pay a sign-on bonus than a retention bonus. And when the tenured nurse leaves, she no longer exists in the mind of management except as a disloyal employee who's created another slot for a newer, cheaper body.
  5. by   ern91
    Quote from catlady
    Because they were leaving, not staying. Management has no interest in retention; they can get younger nurses for less money. They would rather pay a sign-on bonus than a retention bonus. And when the tenured nurse leaves, she no longer exists in the mind of management except as a disloyal employee who's created another slot for a newer, cheaper body.
    Amen. So why is this so? Is it because hospitals are basically corporations? You always hear about the 20 yr executve who leaves a position with not so much as a backwards look at a loyal employee who gave blood,sweat,and tears for 20 yrs, probably put his or her personal life on the back burner and now looks in the mirror saying "what the hell happened".I wish I knew the answer to why nurses are considered so unimportant to their own management, to society for that matter. Maybe if the profession were to get more respect in the media. Whenever you see
    knick knack type statues depicting a nurse, they are usually cute little cartoon type characters. T-shirts have funny little sayings on them about nurses. Television shows portray nurses as secondary to the importance of doctors, usually big busted bimbos who spend their shift trying to get into the pants of the hunky doctor. I don't think unions are the answer either.
    unions aren't what they were years ago, no matter what the profession. I tried to get a union rep to come to my hospital a few years ago and was told I had to prove a certain percentage of the nurses wanted it. Only about 2 percent of the nurses in that hospital signed up. The rest were scared of a backlash from management. I feel so bad that I have such a dim view of my profession, but I love what nursing means to ME and I stay.
  6. by   PANurseRN1
    I think others pretty much summed it up. Mgmt. was probably glad, because now they can hire an inexperienced newbie at a cheaper rate.

    You cannot expect your employer to be loyal to you anymore. It's a shame, but that's the mindset these days.
  7. by   puggymae
    I had been on the same unit for 20 years - and if anybody noticed I was gone I don't even know. I worked every Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter because I didn't have children. Sometimes I worked 20 hours, slept 8 and came back and did 20 more. But managment thought no more of me than they did of someone who walked in the door that day and had no skills. I didn't cry when I left - I was glad to go to a job that wanted and appreciated me. P.S. My mother left the same hospital after 35 years as an RN - they mailed her a watch.
  8. by   Alpha13
    Call me pessimistic - but I think this is what happens when you think of your job as a fate or higher calling or whatever. Put less emotional emphasis on your career and you won't get upset when others don't acknowledge your work.
  9. by   Tweety
    If I quit a job I really don't expect "thank yous". If I retire that's another thing. Maybe I'm just jaded with low expectations.

    I would however be hurt if my coworkers didn't give me a going away party.
  10. by   CHATSDALE
    when i worked in an office every time a person left whether to go to another job, go back to school, spouse transfer, etc they always had a small party at break time with ice cream/cake
    i can only remember two or three times this has happen in a health care facility
  11. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    This situation is shameful.

    Whenever I've left a good job, I have received a party, cake, gifts etc. As a traveler, I've received cards, gifts and parties nearly every contract.

    Even at one temp part time job where I worked a total of 60 hrs over three mos- they bought lunch from a Mexican restaurant and gave me a party.

    But whenever I've left a crappy employer, no matter how long I was there, I got nothing.

    I learned early in my career to be loyal only to myself, co-workers, pts and the rare good manager.

    I am not loyal to any corporation.
  12. by   jenrninmi
    Wow! That's a shame. When I left my hospital position (only worked there 9 months) to go to home health, we did the cake and chips thing.
  13. by   jenrninmi
    Sorry, double post
  14. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Maybe when a nurse has been at a facility for that long, she becomes kind of invisible- like a part of the walls. Maybe, mgmt becomes so used to relying on her without even having to think about it, she becomes part of the background to them?

    New nurses, hiring, and filling open spots are perhaps what's in the forefront of their thoughts as far as nurses go.
    There are so many mgrs who can't think beyond the next financial report.

    Anyway, it's a damn shame.

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