Our hospital has done much better than I ever would have imagined in responding to the initial horrible wave of COVID a year ago and to the more recent upswing this winter. With the initial outbreak, there was a lot of internal and public facing expressions of support for staff. However, the basic underlying culture has never changed.
The leadership prides itself on its safety focus but instantaneously throws staff under the bus if safety or staffing concerns are raised. Backstabbing is rampant in nursing and hospital leadership. Communication is almost nonexistent, from all levels of leadership. Major changes are announced out of the blue, sometimes with a photo shoot, blog post, or email, but often by word of mouth. Staff are viewed as interchangeable Lego parts that can just be moved around or replaced. If people are productive and otherwise fly under the radar, they’re safe for the time being. But no matter how hard they work or what they bring to the institution, they’re never truly valued. Not surprisingly, people are demoralized, turnover is high, and care is fragmented and erratic. But leadership continues to promote “feel good” moments and suggests meditation and “wellness” to stressed out staff rather than recognizing and fixing the toxic culture that’s existed for years.