Seeds of Dissatisfaction

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , December 13, 2012
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This article appears in the December 2012 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

In our 2012 Industry Survey, one in five (19%) healthcare leaders report that they are not satisfied in their job, a figure that has steadily increased since 2009, when it was 13%. What is behind this trend and what are effective ways to address this lack of satisfaction? Organizationally, how do you track this?

Pam Harmon Chief Nursing Officer
Plainville (Kan.) Rooks County Health Center

I'm surprised and in some ways I am not. A lot of the time when people are new to leadership they are not taught how to be leaders. So, basically they are not prepared to deal with all of the turmoil and the fires that they are supposed to put out. A lot of times they just give up. If somebody with the experience would just have the job of going to hospitals to teach people how to be leaders, if only for a few weeks, it would make a tremendous difference in satisfaction.

There is not the commitment to find good leaders. It's kind of like "Oh my! We need someone to fill this position. Let's put an ad out there." A lot of times, especially in rural America, they take whoever applies because it's better than leaving the position open. 

Someone told me one time "You're not the CNO; you're the mother of 50." That's about how it really is. If you put it in that perspective—like how you would deal with your children—it makes things a little easier.

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