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'I was made redundant'


Wendy Cupid is a lead nurse for adult nursing, and she is going to be made redundant.

It took me some time to accept that I was going to be made redundant. It was a completely new experience and I felt like a failure, sad and helpless.

Looking back, the signs were there. The organisation informed me that a restructure was needed to support the financial savings recommended by the coalition government. I was informed that my post was at risk in December 2010, and in January the new structures were sent out for consultation and I could see that my role no longer existed.

Following the consultation period I was told about the new roles that would be created and that I’d need to be interviewed. A few weeks later I attended a series of interviews, conducted by my managers and my peers. Besides going for jobs that I had no interest in, I also had to be interviewed by my colleagues. These interviews were difficult as it wasn’t a choice situation and the consequences were so great. I really struggled to motivate myself to compete as they were not jobs that I knew anything about, but I met the criteria to apply.

I wasn’t successful at any. I felt so shocked that I would eventually leave the organisation.

I had gone from being the “lead nurse” to the “nurse who could not get a job”. I felt so low and noticed that I wasn’t being invited to meetings where I could have added value. It took its toll and I began to feel demotivated.

I recognised how much self-esteem this current role played in my work life. All humans have a need to be respected and to have a moderate level of self-esteem and self-respect. Also known as the belonging need, esteem presents the normal human desire to be accepted and valued by others. People need to engage themselves to gain recognition and have an activity that gives them a sense of contribution, to feel accepted and to value themselves. Abraham Maslow (1970), a psychologist,suggests that self-actualisation is one of the highest human needs. My low self-esteem made me feel strangely vulnerable and no longer safe or secure in the organisation.

Dr AT Beck’s (1988) theory on hopelessness can also be applied to my situation as something was happening that was beyond my control. I had an uncertain future. This can lead to feeling of a loss of motivation and helplessness. Most adults are socialised to be in work and leave work usually by choice, for maternity leave or for a promotion or retirement. In this scenario, I hadn’t chosen to leave - I was dismissed and it felt awful.

To make a change i needed to believe that my actions would make a difference, in whatever outcome I was trying to achieve. It’s as simple as that, I had to start hoping.

Once my news travelled around the organisation, some colleagues felt uncomfortable and didn’t know what to say to me. It felt like a bereavement. People avoided eye contact. There were others who told me how very sorry they were and some asked, “how are you feeling?”. I suggested that my colleagues ask me how I felt in a few months time. Also I asked colleagues to stop saying that they were “sorry for me” as it wasn’t helping. Instead I suggested that we discuss work so that I could still contribute and feel valued. On a different note there was a senior manager who brought a bunch of daffodils and left these on my desk that felt so supportive and warm. The yellow colour really cheered me up.

I began to consider what I had accomplished during my career and that I was not a bad nurse manager, just not successful this time in this organisation. I also encouraged supportive discussion about new work opportunities, and some of my colleagues were full of ideas. Just discussing the future with others gave me hope, whether I carry out their ideas or not is an entirely different matter.

Currently while I serve notice, I will continue to be professional, follow the code, work diligently and leave a legacy. This is a good opportunity to complete my training and develop. I have spoken with my manager and I’m doing all the things that I have wanted to do before but did not have the time.

As for the future, I will take a short break to get my head around my situation. I will do something unusual, I’ll have some fun. Then I’ll begin to look around the job market and make a fresh start. I will use all the networks that I know, and try to be open minded about my next job, as it may not even be in the NHS.


Readers' comments (8)

  • I know you don't want to hear I am sorry, but I am; not just for you, but for the future of our entire profession. It truly is disgusting when this is the respect and consideration even a lead Nurse gets, there is no hope for the rest of us.

    I can only suggest getting the hell out of this country, go to Australia, NZ or Canada where they respect hard working and highly educated professionals or Saudi or the Oman so you can reap a few financial rewards for your endeavours, or try the military or other organisations that will allow you to apply your experience and knowledge in situations you may never have imagined.

    Whatever you or others choose to do, I think it is a given that being a professional in this country is simply not worth it any more, and if we are not welcome as professionals, then no one should be surprised that in a few years or decades when the country starts to realise they can't do without us again, we are simply no longer there.

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  • First off im am really sorry your post was made redundant..however by your own admission you were unmotivated, when applying, being interviewed for other available posts within you organisation.
    This negitive attitude to a lesser status job was probably your downfall.
    The fact that you were not successful at any interview strikes me with astonisment.
    Were you prepared to ignore your status and pride and accept a lesser job??

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  • I'd like to add my sadness of your situation as well and hope your situation looks up soon. I agree things like redundancy have a bigger impact than we expect and it sounds like your attitude does you a great deal of credit. It also sounds like a little time out and change of scene might be fun and constructive. Sometimes doing what looks like nothing is more productive than you think.
    Good luck.

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  • Richard, I have to disagree with you. Why is it a negative attitude to not want to take a 'lesser status role'? It is not just a status and pride issue, well okay in part it is, but why is that a bad thing? The specialist Nurse role is extremely highly qualified and skilled one, and people work damn hard to get it, so to be made redundant and get asked to take a step back career wise just because some politicians are fiddling about with numbers is extremely insulting, not only to the individual, but to the profession as a whole. It states that they expect us to fulfil these roles and perform these tasks, but we are expendable the second the budget gets cut. No matter about little things like patient care. Would they ask a top surgeon to take a cut in pay/status and work as a junior Doctor again? Of course they wouldn't!

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  • Richard i find your post arogant and patronising. Should people ignore their status and pride for 'lesser' roles? Really? You think that!? Have you any idea how that can affect a person? have you any idea what it's like to do that? the comments from others, the rumour etc etc. So as Mike says by your reckoning if a Surgeon or doctor couldn't land a job you'd expect them to say take a job as a bin-man or traffic warden (it is a job afterall)....yeah right.

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  • What excellent contributions from Mike and P. Damien. This lady is full of virtue and goodness and has taken redundancy with good grace. She has contributed hugely to the profession.

    However, the issue of nurses being expendable is what I despise. I could never recommend anyone going into nursing for this reason alone. As is stated they would never ask a surgeon or doctor to return to the role of a junior, so why should a nurse? What's is it about nursing that managers can push them around in this way?

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  • hi wendy.i hope you have had luck finding another suitable job.i was made redundant from my job of 20years due to a downturn in buisness on thursday.and like you i can't believe the loss i really is an all consuming grief-terrible -i know it was "only"a clleagues have become my friends,my family,they have watched my children grow and i theirs.the day i was walked off site i had phone calls from the local public hospital offering work and beautiful surgeons have threatened to withdraw work if we are not union has been so supportive-organizing legal representation.but i still feel lost.i just wish managers would come out of their palace and see what nurses do and not just numbers and hours on a computer to mike we are no better off here in one door closes another one opens.i just wish it hadn't been slammed in my face.i loved my job:(

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  • excellent article which expresses what happens to many and how it feels and why.
    lets hope it is a learning curve as well which can lead to personal growth, a greater awareness and deeper understanding of our fellow human beings and how things 'work' in this world of ours, sometimes to our advantage and sometimes not, an increased ability to seek out opportunities and a rewarding future.

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