Change in the Workplace

Evi Dewhurst


Change in any work environment can be stressful, perhaps even more so in health care. What are some ways to cope and how can you use them to your advantage?


“The only people who like change are wet babies.”

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As 2013 begins, changes occur throughout our lives. Making a deliberate change in lifestyle or routine habits can be challenging and emotional, even when done for health or wellbeing. It takes a bit of time for habits to become second nature. That time of transition can leave us feeling anxious, despite our conviction to face it with inner strength.

How about change in the professional environment? Rather than having privacy to confront the stress of change in personal surroundings, you must do so within the confines of a busy schedule and in the presence of your peers. These types of changes could be one of many in the workplace: staff fluctuations, learning new skills or technology, or incorporating new equipment, just to mention a few. In the NICU, and indeed the entire medical field, change and advancement is common when it comes to technology, device innovation and best-practice methods.

Some individuals adapt naturally to change without issue. Most of us do not. We find comfort in routine. We were trained to work a certain way, and to us, it is the most productive way to get the job done. Understanding that the workplace change will be for the better may help; however, there are still emotional ties and memory to deal with in the process.

Psychology experts suggest finding an outlet for our discomfort with the change, as well as a way to look upon the modifications with a new perspective. In other words, find the emotional support you need while approaching the change with a positive outlook. This can lead to a more successful and easily managed transition.

Proactive steps you can initiate:

• Learn more about the workplace change

• Understand why it is being implemented

• Plan ahead for additional training time

• Ask questions to fill in knowledge gaps

• Maintain a positive attitude

• Realize that change often offers growth and knowledge opportunities

When you next face change in the professional environment, remember that frame of mind can positively impact the experience. You have an opportunity to take control, to own your actions and reactions. It is within your power to create a rewarding transition experience, which ultimately benefits you, your peers, and your patients.


How do you cope with the stress of change? View this online quiz to find out: