Most nurses don’t choose to work in healthcare for recognition – they do so to make a difference in others’ lives. However, every job is enriched when an employee feels seen, supported and appreciated, which are three words that Robin Robertson, Jefferson Regional Medical Center (JRMC) Registered Nurse said, describing being employed at JRMC.
Robin graduated from nursing school and began working at JRMC on the Medical/Surgical floor right away. Four years later, Robin left for another job in the field of nursing for two years before returning to JRMC. During the two years she was away, Brian Thomas accepted the position of JRMC’s President and CEO, and we began to focus on positively transforming the culture at our hospital.
Our hospital set out on a journey to become the hospital and employer of choice in Southeast Arkansas. We recognized that being the best hospital for patients starts with cultivating supportive, fulfilling work environments for every employee. We began to implement communication trainings, “Stay Interviews” in which administration asks for nurses’ feedback on why they’re staying at JRMC or what needs they have, senior leader rounding and much more.
According to Robin, the effects of that journey are apparent in her job every day. In just a two-year span, Robin said the positive shift in the JRMC culture is immense. “I enjoy my job more this time around,” she said. “I haven’t seen teamwork like this anywhere else. There’s an atmosphere of support.”
JRMC’s Administration has focused on cultivating a supportive, team atmosphere by regularly visiting departments and getting to know employees. “Having the CEO come around and visiting with my department is amazing,” she said. “It makes a big difference. It makes me feel like I’m heard, like it matters that I’m here.”
Robin said she is constantly offered help, and she knows she has a team behind her. “I don’t feel lonely in my job,” she said. “Everyone asks what they can do to help me, and I do the same for them. Our team is awesome. No one leaves without asking if I need help before they go. My supervisor’s boss comes to the floor, offers to help me and tells me to call if I need anything. Our manager was out today, and administration was calling, making sure that we were okay. It makes a big difference.”
Robin said she is impressed with the new Stay Interviews at JRMC. “If a nurse is thinking he or she can’t stay for any certain reason, administration considers what they can do to help – those meetings are really good,” she said.
Robin said JRMC’s flexibility, consistency and proximity to her home allow her to enjoy more relaxed time with her family, which includes Robin, her husband and their three sons. “This is a 20 minute drive and the other organization I worked for was a 45 minute drive,” she said. “Now, I can spend time with the kids and not have to worry about being on call all the time, so it means a lot. Also, they’re flexible when I need time with my family or need to use the paid time off I’ve earned.”
At the end of the day, Robin said there’s nowhere else she’d rather be. “In nursing, you have to have support to succeed, and I know I have that here. Having that backbone here is very important to me. I can’t name the best thing about my job, because I really like all of it – helping the patients and the people I work with are definitely at the top of the list. I can ask anybody for help. I tell people – my department is like my home.”