How I went from Job Jumper to Committed Caregiver

A personal perspective on healthcare employee turnover

You know me. I’m the work-to-live, easily-bored, no-dependents, employee who will do a pretty good job until I suddenly disappear. I might give proper notice to pursue another opportunity or I might stop showing up.  Either way, you [the employer] are left in the lurch. You ‘wasted’ time and money recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and training me, and I only lasted 5 [or 3 or 9] months. 

I care about providing quality care, I do. I care about the elderly, the babies, and everyone in between who has a right to good health.  After all, I chose to be in the healthcare profession.

But, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when?”

These are the questions that drive so many of us with demanding jobs that pay a solid five-figure salary or $XX/hourly wage. 

When you live so close to the edge of job satisfaction, it’s very easy to leave.

Maybe we found a job paying $1 more an hour at a place with a commute 5 minutes shorter. Maybe our manager has demonstrated incompetence one too many times. Maybe the bigwig leaders, who earn 100 times more than we do, have made over-priced investments in obviously-ineffective programs and initiatives, losing our respect and faith in the organization.  

And we’re out.  

That WAS me. A super job jumper. Poster child for new hire turnover. But then something changed.

We got a new CNO. She had been a staff nurse at our site a few years earlier, then had left to get a degree while working a different job.  Unlike past leaders who had no recent memories of being in our shoes, she knew what we were all going through.

Our hospital was not in good shape. Rumors were flying around that we would likely close.  Specialists didn’t want to work there. Managers were turning over every 3 months. 

I, along with most other staffers, was calling out as much as possible. I was actually calling out more than the allowable 1-time-every-2-months — I had a doctor’s note explaining my back problems, you see.

Then our CNO asked us to help transform our hospital to a ‘Pathways to Excellence’ program.  We were called upon to ‘share leadership’ — point out anything that wasn’t working, speak freely to physicians to collaborate in the care of our patients, attend learning experiences that were fully paid for; oh, and we continued collecting pay while off-site upping our skills.

Our entire work environment transformed from one where management was telling us what to do, to one where we tell management what is needed and they support us in working at the top of our profession.

In the past, managers had asked me to attend Charge Nurse leadership classes, but I had always said no. I didn’t want to deal with the headache of staffing. I’d rather just clock in and out. But now that we were empowered to make actual changes for the better whenever possible, I felt that taking on more responsibility would not be a waste of time.  

We earned the “Pathways to Excellence” designation from the American Nursing Credentialing Center and we continue to live it every day.