Surviving Workforce Reorganization
Above all else, respond to the news in a professional manner. Do not say or do anything that you will regret later. Try to maintain your perspective; being downsized is not like losing a loved one or being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Take a deep breath… you will get through this. Remember, there is a nursing shortage and you will find another job.
It is rare for healthcare organizations to provide a severance package, adequate notice or job placement assistance for nurses. Most nurses are not financially prepared to deal with a sudden job loss; for them the pressure to find a new position will be urgent. If you have saved enough money to cover several months’ worth of expenses, you can afford to be more selective during the job search process.
The smoothest transition would be to find a new position within your organization. If this is not an option, strategically widen your search by tapping into your network. Ask other nurses about job openings in the area. Be open to the possibility of training for a new career path in nursing.
Those left behind
Am I next? How will we get all this work done with less staff? Trust that this decision was made for the survival of the department or organization. Resist the temptation to grumble; instead offer to assist with the transition. If your director has not established clear priorities, ask which projects will require your immediate attention.
You may feel awkward and not know what to say to your coworker. It is human nature to experience a sense of relief that your job wasn’t cut. Share any information from your network about possible job openings, write a letter of recommendation or organize a small celebration of your time together as colleagues. Your support will be greatly appreciated.
The resilient career
Nurses can not afford the luxury of being concerned with only their immediate work environment. Seniority is no longer a safety net in any profession. Skill diversity, flexibility and the ability to adapt to change are essential in today’s marketplace.
Are your resume and portfolio up to date? How strong is your professional network? What education or training could give you a competitive advantage?
The current healthcare environment offers countless opportunities. It is critically important that nurses educate themselves regarding finance and reimbursement issues. Learn the language of business and become a trend watcher. The prepared nursing professional will successfully ride whatever wave of change lies ahead.