I enjoy listening to stories. It is one of the reasons I appreciate my job in healthcare consulting. I get the opportunity to speak with interesting people from across the healthcare spectrum and listen to their stories of success and strife.

For some, the event that starts them on their healthcare path is the hospitalization of a family member. The care and compassion they experienced at their local community hospital compel them to give back to others, as they received from others, in a time of need.

Personally, my mother was a nurse who loved being a nurse: Her role as wife, mother, and nurse was embedded in her DNA. And though cancer took her more than 22 years ago, she is the reason I enjoy working in healthcare. I have always felt connected to healthcare and the people who work in it. 

Many of us have unique stories that cement our personal connections to the healthcare industry. So in listening to healthcare professionals, I hear their unique stories. 

Work-life balance is a thing

Recently I have detected a more jaded constituency: That is, the Director committed deeply to the mission of healthcare, but wondering how long they can continue to pull rabbits out of their facilities hat while contending with shrinking budgets and decreasing staff. The constant change in healthcare facilities management is wearing them down. 

They hear stories of friends who have been unexpectedly let go on a Friday afternoon after many years of service to their hospital. They ask, is loyalty gone? For many, the answer is yes.  

As job longevity has become tenuous, work-life balance has become a key consideration for job seekers. I spoke to a candidate recently who says that during his most recent job interview, he was asked if he was prepared to work 70 hour weeks! He promptly asked the hospital to remove his name from job consideration.

The director of yesterday may have been tied to their desk for 70 hour work weeks and not complained, but the director of today doesn’t want that. As a healthcare consultant, I am asked frequently as I discuss job opportunities with candidates, what is the approach to work-life balance?  

Work-life balance is important. It is not only a healthcare industry trend, “it is a thing,” as one of my clients referred to it. It is perceived that loyalty is gone and candidates are more discerning than ever as they consider their next role. They want to work for an organization that respects them. Work-life balance is one way for employees to measure respect.

Interviews are a two-way street. The candidate vets the employer as the employer vets the candidate. Work-life balance is a way for candidates to vet.

This is a tale from healthcare consulting.

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