The other nurse covering the ward chose to have nurses work 8-hour shifts in addition to their regularly scheduled 12-hour shifts so a new graduate nurse was not left on his own on the night shift. I argued that the 8-hour shifts would actually be longer because things happen and staff would be reluctant to leave, even when their shift was over. She responded, "When I was a nurse at their level of experience, I had to work seven shifts to get four off!"
I replied, "Dinosaur nursing doesn't work nowadays."
She retorted, "These nurses are just BABIES! They need to suck it up."
Quietly, I said, "These nurses are not babies. They are adults who have different priorities." But she had already turned and walked away.
It's times like this that I have to apply the 5-year rule: Will this really matter in 5 years? And my response is no. And I am sick and tired of the phrase, "Suck it up."
Slow Leadership says this:
"...organizations rely on people's feelings of loyalty. Not loyalty to the business, mostly, but loyalty to colleagues, who will be forced to take up any slack if someone refuses to give up vacation time or work a 60 or 70-hour week." The best workers vote with their feet: "Those with the most courage, the highest levels of self-confidence, the greatest commitment to ethical principles, and the strongest personal values leave."
Slow Leadership continues: "One of the differences between high levels of stress and actual burnout is the presence of depression. Someone suffering burnout has given up. He or she no longer has the power to fight, nor the self-esteem to put the blame on the organization, where it belongs. The burnout victim was, typically, an ambitious high-flier, a good team player who gave and gave until
there was nothing left to give."
Finally, Slow Leadership says, "Work is part of life, not the other way around."
What I should have asked this senior nurse is, "Don't you remember how angry, how powerless you felt when you were given these demands? Didn't you vow then to never become that kind of nurse or leader?"