Organizational Change: Why It Hurts and What You Can Do as a CNA

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Healthcare and organizational change are like peas in a pod. In a given year, CNAs and other healthcare workers face the challenges of keeping up with changes that are enforced in their place of work

Let's be honest. Not a lot of people jump for joy when they hear news of an organization-wide transformation. If there is a change in policies, leadership, workflows, and protocols, you might see more coworkers raising their eyebrows or frowning in resentment, than getting excited.

Here are some common reasons why organizational change hurts and how a nursing assistant can successfully go with the flow:

1. “New is uncomfortable.”

People resist change mainly because it forces them work outside their comfort zone. Change means giving more effort, losing focus, and reinventing a system for doing things. There are uncertainties, unknowns, and questions, where before you had it covered.

What you can do: Accept that change is inevitable and necessary. Remind yourself that transformation is the mother of improvement. When you accept this fact, you realize that things rarely remain constant and must, from time to time, move in a different direction or take an entirely different path altogether. You also become mentally prepared to meet those challenges and adjust to the situation, one day at a time.

2. “Change means an additional workload.”

Yes, it might be true that your tasks are spilling over your shift hours, and that learning a new skill requires you to spend more time at work. You might be thinking, “It’s just a waste of time!”

What you can do: The solution to this problem is to turn your mindset around. Instead of thinking that the new change initiative is a waste of time, consider it a privilege to learn something new as well as a way of keeping up with the times.

Not so bad, right? Learning is a kind of change that doesn’t really hurt, because the personal benefit is already clear and at hand. Turn things around with the right mindset.

3. “We are still implementing the last one. I can’t keep up!”

When change initiatives come in groups, the implementation can quickly become overwhelming. And this happens fairly often—you may find yourself working through several change projects simultaneously.

One example is meeting the requirements for your organization's accreditation. The tasks associated with the changes could be a lot to absorb. When you feel that you and your responsibilities are falling behind, it is a sign that you need more guidance and direction.

What you can do: Seek help from others, especially your nurse supervisor. Get all the information that you need and learn as much as you can. Maintain a positive attitude that you can do it. Whatever you do, remember that patients are still your priority.

4. “I didn’t know about it!”
“What is the change for?”
“This is last minute. We weren’t properly informed.”

When miscommunication happens within organizations, it is never a good idea to blame someone, even yourself. Did you miss the memo or meeting?

What you can do: Ask your nurse supervisor and check the bulletin board or your email. Look for hard copies of any memos. Be proactive in seeking information instead of dwelling on whose “fault” it is that information wasn’t effectively communicated to you.

5. “The change doesn’t concern me anyway. Why even bother?"

The change initiative may not seem beneficial on a personal level, but it should have advantages on a larger scale. An organization is a team of teams that has decided a change is necessary. When efforts are successful, the organization automatically gives back to the employees, by way of job security and brand management.

What you can do: Extend your support however you are able. Your contribution is valuable, and you are ultimately working for the greater good.

As you carry on with your daily tasks as a CNA, expect that there will be another wave of organizational change coming your way.

To prevent encountering the same problems when embracing change in the future, you have to actively seek information regarding your workplace issues. Be in the know of critical updates on any change efforts.

If an opportunity opens for you to participate in the planning stage, take it! Give feedback and ask how you can help or assist others. Most importantly, be the bearer of good news. When negativity starts to creep in from different directions, be the person to help spread the benefits of organizational change.


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