Why In The Heck Should I Be A Loyal Nurse? - page 6

by TheCommuter Senior Moderator

18,686 Views | 86 Comments

As a nurse, is it really worth it to show loyalty to your place of employment? Perhaps there truly are benefits to being a loyal employee. Maybe not. Your thoughts on workplace loyalty are probably dependent upon the... Read More


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    I came to the conclusion some time ago that to upper management, a nurse or CNA is basically just one more piece of expensive equipment. If you break down, they'll just get another. I like my unit, and my manager works hard to be a good boss, but I have no more loyalty to my organization than you'd expect from an X-ray machine.
    payitforward, anotherone, and wooh like this.
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    I am 61 and near retirement, because hiring is biased towards younger workers who earn less. I have seen unjust firings thast went as far as not telling the nurse they were being charged, or given a chance to speak their side because secret hearings were held. Just aboput all the jobs are prn now. What makes it worse is we nurses are quick to feed each other to the lions to gain favor with the bosses and get ahead. The nurses we have are being taught b y culture and example to shun loyalty to the organization after seeing what their parents went through. In the end it will ruin the entire country because we now have "Greed on Main Street." Systems shed staff like dirty socks. Even trhe executives are not immune now. I look forward to retirement because the workplace is toxic with the levels rising.

    Quote from TheCommuter
    As a nurse, is it really worth it to show loyalty to your place of employment? Perhaps there truly are benefits to being a loyal employee. Maybe not.

    Your thoughts on workplace loyalty are probably dependent upon the generation in which you came of age. As recently as a couple of generations ago, it was common practice for companies to strive toward providing lifetime employment for all workers who performed at an acceptable level. In exchange for this implied promise of long term employment, most workers remained at the same workplace for 25, 30, 40+ years, or until retirement. In the distant past, corporations were fiercely loyal to employees, and employees gave back by being loyal to these corporations. The loyalty was mutual.

    I am 31 years old and was born in 1981, so I was born at the very end of Generation X or the very beginning of Generation Y depending on the source I use to define the cutoff points for the generational cohorts. I was 20 years old when the Enron scandal unfolded in 2001 and watched as legions of loyal employees lost their jobs, retirement savings, and overall sense of security. The story behind the Enron collapse is complicated and way outside the scope of this article, but I will say one thing: the big wigs at the very top of that corporation did not show any loyalty to anyone but themselves.

    My views on workplace loyalty are also shaped by the Great Recession of 2008 to 2009. During the last recession, companies laid off masses of employees without taking length of service, tenure, or loyalty into consideration. Benefits for workers have been eroding for years; however, this erosion has accelerated within the past few years. For example, many major healthcare systems are transferring a greater share of health care costs onto their employees. Also, defined benefit pension plans are largely a relic of the past, having been replaced with 401k plans and IRAs. In addition, many hospitals are hiring part-time and/or PRN employees only, as these jobs are cheaper to the corporation’s bottom line than full-time benefited positions.

    I also live and learn by ensuring that I do not repeat the mistakes of my more seasoned coworkers. The nurses in my metropolitan area who remain employed with the same workplace for 20+ years are often the first ones to be unjustly fired. I suspect this is due to the fact that they’ve topped out on the wage grid. I’ve seen the most loyal nurses get chewed up, spit out, discarded by healthcare corporations, and soon forgotten. When (or if) they find another job, it often comes with a substantial cut in pay and a zap to the soul. By the way, I live in an at-will employment state and unionized hospitals do not exist in the large metropolitan area where I work.

    In summary, I am loyal to myself. I am loyal to my patients while I am on the clock and providing care to them. However, I will never be loyal to any entity that employs me. As soon as the people in upper management get tired of me, I know they’ll terminate my employment without losing one minute of sleep over me. And as soon as my workplace no longer meets my needs, I will quit without feeling a morsel of guilt.

    The feeling is mutual these days. It’s nothing personal.
    Babs1953 likes this.
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    My experience with loyality at the job is that employers do not tend to be loyal; thus, employees should be able to exercise the same right. See your employement as a business agreement, where you and your employeer agree on certain conditions under which you fulfill certain duties. I've worked as several places in my life and, regretfully, I've seen people fire and/or layed off that have been loyal to the companies for many, many years. Having said that, I have currently two jobs and am a returning employee for both jobs; however, neither job is ideal but currently, they fill the nitch, and I think that is what it is about. Make sure your job fills the nitch at the time you are working there. I have worked with people who have been at jobs for 20+ years and are completely miserable. LLife's simply too short to be miserable 40 h a week!

    Again, it has to fit your life and your lifestyle, so I don't blame anyone if they job hop ... at the bottom line, it's business ... and believe me, the employer will not hesitate to become "unloyal" when they see fit.
    elprup and anotherone like this.
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    I so agree with you! There is no company that will be loyal to you. It doesn't matter if you walk on water or not. I was in a job for 5 years, with the agency for over 20. I had a TERRIBLE supervisor, and she decided that someone else would be better at my job. It didn't matter that all the other nurses and even the supervisors knew she had poor skills. They all banded with her, got my job " abolished", transferrred me to another area, and put someone in the job that had no clue. So will I ever be loyal to anyone? No. It's survival of the fittest, and I'll be loyal to ME, and my family.
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    I learned the hard way, the only one you should be loyal to is you. If you take the stance that you will do the best job you can no matter where you are, no matter who's in charge, no matter who owns what, then you will be happy and free to make crucial decisions about your career without the guilt trip. As soon as you get rid of that "owned" mentality, you will be a force to be reckoned with. You can run your work life, and be the captain of your own ship. Much better when I learned that. If you have a contract with a company-work it out-don't go against the written contract, no matter how hard it is. It's integrity-when you're done with the contract, leave or stay, but do it with integrity.
    elprup, anotherone, and mrmedical like this.
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    I think it's interesting how many people my age (I'm 31) have parents who worked one job their entire career. My parents have had multiple jobs throughout their careers, and I think the longest either has spent in one place was 12 years. Their colleagues also have moved around as well. My aunts and uncles have similar stories as well. In my experience, this 40 years at one place is TWO generations old, not one.

    I come from a family of academics: teachers, scientists, musicians, journalists. I imagine those fields are more concerned with stagnation from staying in one place too long because the occasional colleague I hear about who has been in one place for decades is described as being inflexible, set in their ways, entrenched, uncreative, etc.
    lindarn likes this.
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    Quote from hiddencatRN
    I think it's interesting how many people my age (I'm 31) have parents who worked one job their entire career.
    I'm the same age as you. My mother worked for 25 years at the same place of employment. I couldn't imagine doing that.
    Quote from hiddencatRN
    I come from a family of academics: teachers, scientists, musicians, journalists. I imagine those fields are more concerned with stagnation from staying in one place too long because the occasional colleague I hear about who has been in one place for decades is described as being inflexible, set in their ways, entrenched, uncreative, etc.
    I come from a family with much lower educational attainment than yours. Both of my parents have no education beyond high school. The vast majority of my extended family consists of either high school dropouts or high school graduates. The only college graduates in my family are two of my cousins and me.

    While an educated professional can switch jobs after a few years, a blue collar person with a lower working-class background must stay at the same factory, supermarket, steel mill, power plant, or lumber company for as long as possible because, if they quit for another job, it usually results in a staggering cut in pay and benefits.

    People like my mother and father do not have the education or credentials that enable career mobility, so remaining with the same jobs, collecting the yearly pay raises, and accruing seniority are only other ways they'll earn decent wages. If they quit for other jobs, they'll typically be offered a starting wage that's not much higher than minimum wage.
    lindarn likes this.
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    Quote from wooh
    I feel some loyalty towards my manager. There have been a couple times she's looked out for me. That's not being naive, as I was burned badly before I started working for her, so I've got my eyes wide open. She really is a good boss. (As far as bosses go! )
    ....................
    When you have a good boss.....do everything you can to put her/him in line for a promotion. That's the most likely way to change the culture of an organization for the better. (And if it doesn't work out, at least your boss will probably be happy to give you a very good recommendation if you end up moving on.)

    The agency I work for has shown loyalty toward me a couple times when it could have acted otherwise. I'm loyal for that reason, and also because I think we're the best in our area in our field.

    That doesn't mean that I think we do everthing in the best way, but we do the right thing much more often than not.
    Last edit by rngolfer53 on Nov 28, '12 : Reason: added thoughts.
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    TheCommuter, thank you! Your post is not only very accurate, but very ironic for me at least. I too am 31 years old, but didn't persue my nursing career aspirations until my mid-20s. I wasn't sure about what area of nursing I was most interested in until a phenomenal clinical instructor midway through school exposed me to emergency medicine, and I fell in love. As graduation neared, I pursued emergency department RN positions like a love-sick puppy. The constant variety and excellent clinical experience that the ED seemed to afford to so many nurses at some point in their nursing careers was where I was going to start my career and "make a difference". I can still remember the enthusiasm and pride that I exuded when first learning of a job offer extended to me for an ED nurse position.*Finally, all of my hard work and sacrifice was paying off, and I would be able to make a difference in people's lives during some of the most vulnerable times in their lives. I felt prepared and was ready to learn everything and anything that I could. I was going to be a fantastic nurse! I graduated on 6/2/09, passed NCLEX on 6/4/09, and began working on 6/8/09. Fast forward 3.5 years later. After undergoing hand surgery in May for osteoarthritis in my dominant hand, the "higher-ups" determined that despite my hand surgeon's full release, successful completion of a duty-for-fitness exam, and my readiness to return to work for over 3 months, I couldn't perform as an RN in the ED. As a result, my employment was terminated on Nov 5 based upon the hospital's policy of termination after 6 months of inactivity. No discussion, no explanation, just "this is our policy". Mind you, my surgeon (who practices out of the same hospital) fully cleared me to return to my job at the end of August, but after numerous attempts by me to return to work were met with resistance and one hoop after another from occupational health, it was a nurse practitioner who ultimately was able to overrule a hand surgeon's expertise and clinical judgement based solely upon an assumption with no objective data in which to support such a decision.* Needless to say, the enthusiasm and drive that I carried with me into my first day as an RN has been seriously wounded. What a terrible feeling it is to have been that enthusiastic nurse not so long ago only to have replaced that excitement with disenchantment!* I know I'm supposed to hold my head up, carry on, and find another opportunity where I'll be able to "make a difference". Perhaps I've become jaded (or burnt out as my preceptor warned me would happen "after a year or so"), but how on earth can I "make a difference" if I'm constantly worried that any weakness as perceived by my employer could place me into this exact predicament in the future? I opted for surgery in the first place so that I could continue practicing safely and efficiently, as the OA was beginning to affect function of my hand.* Don't get me wrong, in addition to my enthusiasm, I was naive as many new nurses are in believing that nursing school had provided me with the education and skills I needed to be that "super nurse" on Day 1. It didn't take me long to realize that I didn't know squat, and the only way I would become an effective and seasoned ED nurse would be through knowledge and experience gained on the job. Not much was easy, but I wanted to learn. I sought many opportunities to perform nursing care of my own and other nurses' patients. I read whatever I could at work and at home. And even during my medical leave of absence this year, I began studying for the CEN exam. After 3.5 years, I didn't know everything, but I definitely knew much, much more than I did as a new nurse , and enjoyed learning new things. What I encountered during these last few years aside from patient experiences was a large portion of the "experienced, seasoned" ED nurses to be cynical, lazy, catty, and in some instances impaired. What I initially perceived to be a supportive senior nursing staff morphed into my realization that the old adage, "the old eat their young", certainly was the case. There were good, reliable nurses who were willing to impart their wisdom to the less experienced nurses, but the vast majority of the ED nursing staff consisted of nurses who frequently exhibited irresponsible and unprofessional behavior. One nurse in particular is known by coworkers and management to report to her shift after "banging rales" less than four hours prior. Another nurse, who is often charge, makes it habit to loudly broadcast her "St. Patty's Day" drunken escapades while standing at the nurse's station. Another nurse actually swiped a patient's narcotic and proceeded to shoot it up in an employee bathroom. When management learned of this, she was moved to triage and has been there ever since.* So my point is that while losing my job through no fault of my own has had a negative impact on my professional morale, so too have the attitudes and behaviors of many nurses who surrounded me over the last 3+ years, in addition to the ignorance demonstrated by many of the "higher-ups". Any potential danger that my hand could pose is more of a liability than the imminent danger posed by a nurse who routinely cares for her patients while jacked up on cocaine?! Are you kidding me! Sorry for the novel; I just needed to vent!
    anotherone and lindarn like this.
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    This is all the more reason that nurses NEED TO UNIONIZE WITH THE NATIONAL NURSES UNITED, to gain control over their profession, and start to call the shots.

    I am sure that all of these horror stories came from nurses who work in non union hospitals, and have been brainwashed into believing how, "unprofessional", it is to unionize. How, "professional", is it to be treated like a piece of disposable furiture by administration?

    Think about it folks. And make a change for the better. United we stand, divided we fall.

    JMHO and my NY $0.02.
    Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN
    Somewhere in the PACNW
    elprup, HazelLPN, wooh, and 3 others like this.


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