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.