Learning Activity #1

You are sitting in a hotel room watching the evening news as a local reporter interviews people who complain about the sexual abuse and mistreatment of nurses in a local hospital. These reports have been occurring in the news media with increasing frequency over the last three years. Some observers believe the problem is the hospital’s general manager Robbie Lowe and his authoritarian style. The hospital ‘s board of directors has encourage “spit and polish” values that are efficient and tolerates no nonsense. The Board believes that Lowe has gone too far with this “no nonsense” approach and has encouraged a “them-against-us” attitude between the administration and the nursing staff who seek to protect the patients.


New employee training includes a seminar on strict adherence to care policies that often put cost cutting ahead of nursing needs. The nursing staff has an 40% turnover rate and it is getting higher every year that Lowe stays. One nurse in an interview with the reporter said, “Nurses like doctors are compelled to take care of the sick to the best of their ability. If this means giving a patient an extra set of bedding or new wash cloth that is what I will do. It is a matter of values and ethics.” Further, employees are told they have three strikes or they are out if they break a policy. One nurse says that she was told by Lowe after her third strike, the she could keep her job if she “you know” with him. She has sued the hospital and the Board knows it will cost them money to settle out of court.


Another reporter has suggested that the nurses feel they should consider unionizing the group to get better working conditions and a say in management of the nursing staff policies. Presently the hospital has no director of nursing and the board is wondering if this would solve the problem. Lowe has control over all the hospital management duties with the hiring and firing of doctors being the only exception.


The reason you are in a hotel room watching the news is that you have been invited to interview for Lowe’s position as General Manager of the hospital. You are thinking about what you would do if you got the job.


What recommendations would you offer the Board on how to change the hostile work environment into an engaging workplace?

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