If you have worked as a nurse practitioner for some time now, chances are that at one time or another you’ve been a part of a hospital merger or acquisition, or another type of organizational shift in your practice setting. Perhaps, simply even a key clinic administrator leaving his/her position made waves in your workplace.
Often times, things continue to run as they did before the restructure. The only impact may have been a few changes in policies and new signage throughout the building. Other times though, a company restructuration may have upheaved every aspect of daily operations as you knew it; creating a not so pleasant transition for you and your colleagues, especially if the restructure came with layoffs.
Although you may have entered healthcare thinking that your job would be safe from this sort of thing, the healthcare industry is not immune to layoffs, unfortunately. While nurse practitioners are less likely to experience a layoff than nonessential employees are, healthcare facilities have been known to do so in times of financial hardships. With the pressure of cost on hospitals and healthcare systems accelerating, organizations sometimes have no choice but to restructure by merging with another facility and scaling back on the number of employees. It is, sadly, part of working in today’s world. However, even when layoffs are not part of a restructure, significant changes in executive leadership, pay scales, policies and other matters can still make for an unpleasant transition for nurse practitioners.
So what moves can NPs make when they hear a restructure is coming to the facility they work in?
1. Gather the facts
If an official announcement hasn’t been made but rumors have begun circulating around the water cooler that changes are coming, take it with a grain of salt; bearing in mind that gossip is only hearsay and what you catch wind of may be further from the truth of what’s actually going on behind closed doors. Before you start to panic over how a restructure will affect your career, try to gather as much factual information as you can. Take advantage of whatever open communication and exposure you may have to your current employer and ask if they can share any details or shed any light on what you’re hearing. If management is keeping mum, when an official announcement is made, you can ask your boss more specific questions like what you can expect in terms of layoffs, policies, etc.
2. Know your value
If you’re feeling uncertain about whether or not your job will be safe, take comfort in your role as a nurse practitioner. As a provider, you’re already are a big asset to the company, especially if you’re in a private practice setting and you bring your own patients to the table. If layoffs are announced as a possibility, consider ways in which you’ve been valuable to the company; think back on past achievements and write down your contributions and accomplishments, and how you benefited the organization in the past. This will be especially helpful if and when you are evaluated by key decision makers as it will give you an opportunity to showcase your worth, much as you would if you were interviewing for a new job. As an added bonus, if you do find yourself on the hunt for another job, you’ll already have examples of why you’re a great candidate that you can provide to potential employers.
3. Be a team player
Regardless of whether you agree with the new direction of the organization or not, don’t use the transition as an excuse to start slacking off; even if you are at risk of being let go by the new management team or are considering quitting. Not only should patients be the driving force behind your work ethic, but being a team player throughout the transition is vital to the future of your career as a nurse practitioner as well.
For example, if you remain a member of the healthcare team after the transition, you’ll want your subordinates to have confidence in your role as a leader and your capabilities as a provider. You’ll also want those in nerw leadership roles to see you as someone they can count on to ensure a smooth transition. And if you do end up needing to find another NP position for whatever reason, you may need to network with present or former colleagues that you worked with in this setting. Now is not the time to burn any of those bridges.
4. Start networking regardless
When a company is undergoing organizational changes, it’s important to recognize that you may lose your job through no fault of your own. Start reaching out to your network to see what opportunities exist that might be a good fit for you and update your resume and professional networking profiles. By networking in advance, you will have the beginnings of a backup plan should a layoff happen or should you decide the reorganization is not a good fit for you.
5. Give it some time
If you’re feeling as though your current position isn’t worth fighting for, you may want to reconsider and give the restructuring efforts the benefit of the doubt to see if anything changes for the better. If in the weeks or months after the dust has settled you find that you’re still dissatisfied in your job, then it may be a good time for you to pursue other opportunities that are more suitable for you. This could also be a great push for you to try your hand in a new specialty or perhaps to finally take the leap in furthering your education as a DNP.
Restructures happen as part of the ever changing healthcare industry, and great things may be to come from it for you as a NP. Although you cannot control what your facility does, you can have a say in how you respond to the changes. Make it positive!
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