Over the years, I’ve tried to stay in touch with my college friends. Of course, it isn’t always easy when juggling nursing careers, family, and further education.
This summer I made a special point of re-connecting with two fellow nurses from my class. I was a little surprised to learn that both had retired when I don’t feel anywhere near that phase of life.
In both cases, my friends had been thoroughly committed to their nursing professions and eager to contribute. Both of these women were excellent nurses; at the top of their careers with advanced degrees and certifications. Now, they are discouraged and even bitter, which contributed to their quitting. The more they talked, the more I realized they weren’t leaving to escape the profession or even their bosses or departments. Even though they live in different parts of the country and held very different positions, they both described a common denominator – they were quitting the culture.
One friend had undergone a merger where leaders promised nothing would change. And, of course, a lot of things changed. She expected new policies and procedures, but didn’t expect to feel bulldozed over by them with little or no explanation. She said the communication eroded and people felt disconnected, which led to toxic behaviors. There was a growing lack of trust, so she decided to leave.
The other friend also talked about poor communication, lack of trust and feeling de-valued and unappreciated.
These encounters really reminded me that great, supportive cultures don’t happen by default. They must be created by design. Know what you want the culture to be, and take conscious steps toward that culture, each and every day. If you don’t, you’re building a revolving door.