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Lessons from the Front

Human Stories

I enjoy listening to stories. It is one of the reasons I appreciate my job. I get the opportunity to speak with interesting people from across the healthcare spectrum and listen to their stories of personal and professional success and strife. For some, the journey that shapes their career path can be as tragic as the death of a family member and the care and compassion they received during that illness. 

Personally, my late mother was a nurse who loved being a nurse: Her role as wife and mother was embedded in her DNA, as was her role as nurse. And though cancer took her more than 20 years ago, she is the reason I have always felt connected to healthcare. 

Most of us have unique stories that cement our personal connections. So in listening to facility director candidates, I hear uniquely human stories. 

Recently I have detected a more jaded constituency. They are still a group deeply committed to the mission of healthcare, but they are also wondering how long they can continue to pull rabbits out of their facilities hat while contending with shrinking budgets and decreasing staff. Constant change has worn them down. 

They hear stories of friends who have been unexpectedly let go after many years of service to their hospital. They ask, is loyalty becoming a one-way street?  

As job longevity has become tenuous, work life balance has become more important. The director of yesterday may have been tied to their desk for 60 hour work weeks, but the director of today doesn’t necessarily want that. They ask, what is the work life balance at this hospital?  

Some request pre-employment contracts before signing on with a new organization. Protection in the event the winds of change unexpectedly sweep them out the door is what they seek.  

If it is perceived that loyalty has become a one-way street, expect candidates to continue to become more discerning. Interviews are a two-way street.


Peter Martin 


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