Why In The Heck Should I Be A Loyal Nurse?

Companies were loyal to employees as recently as a couple of generations ago, but the good old days are gone forever. Why in the heck should I be loyal to my workplace when I know that the people in upper management would never show any loyalty to me? Nurses Announcements Archive Article


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.

Specializes in ICU, PACU, OR.

I learned some very hard lessons-because I thought that people were generally good, caring and understanding about situations NOT

Risk management controls many things-corporations change-nothing stays the same.

You should be loyal to your own personal corporation-not some name, or facility or network of facilities that have glorious history

If someone asks where your career loyalty is or why you're not donating your last pint of blood to them....say and memorize, record and replay. MY LOYALTY IS TO THE ______________(PLUG IN YOUR NAME HERE) FOUNDATION. All donations are accepted by the way. LOL

It's sad to see what healthcare has become. Management never really 'has your back' - their first loyalty is to the almighty dollar & their OWN necks. Morale is in the toilet, nurses are fighting for their hours, staff talks behind management's back & then kisses butt to get extra shifts-- it's the epitome of dysfunction-- just remember the only person you should trust is YOURSELF.

What a great business model. When employees are happy they are more productive & business thrives.