Career advice

Advice on embracing change that will help you stay one step ahead

Most of us find change a challenge, but by accepting it as inevitable we can make the most of opportunities that arise.

Most of us find change a challenge, but by accepting it as inevitable we can make the most of opportunities that arise

Picture credit: Alamy

Change is often considered a good thing – and to be what makes life interesting.

Unfortunately, the truth is that far too many of us get used to the status quo and can be resistant to change or to adapting to a new way of working. But this will not wash in a clinical environment because nursing and medicine are constantly evolving and improving, and so too should nurses.

So what is the best way to deal with change if it causes you anxiety? It is highly likely the worry stems from uncertainty ‘perhaps about how the change will be implemented or even why it’s taking place’, says Nick Simpson, chief executive officer of health recruitment agency MSI Group.

‘Try to find out why the changes are occurring and as much as you can about the steps that will be taken to implement them, as well as what sort of timeframe they will take place over,’ he advises.

Obviously, having set routines in a clinical environment can make the working day significantly easier for nurses, but sticking to out-of-date practices will quickly reduce a team’s efficiency and effectiveness.

‘Small changes to working practices can alleviate stress on the department as a whole, which will in turn make workloads more manageable and the team more productive,’ says Mr Simpson. ‘Endeavour to approach change with an open mind. While you will be used to your old routine, you may find a new one makes your working life a lot easier.’


▶ Give ideas a chance

▶ Have a positive and supportive approach in the team

▶ Give constructive feedback to ideas for change

▶ See change as a means to improve your practice and the provision you contribute to


▶ Be pessimistic

▶ Be inflexible

▶ Exclude colleagues from the change as this may affect the chances of success

▶ Keep quiet if you have ideas that might contribute to its success

▶ Rely on others to always try new practices or trial ideas – get involved

Becoming more flexible is about the ability to take on the viewpoints and ideas of others, says Michelle Brown, discipline lead for healthcare practice at the University of Derby.

‘But it does not mean you have to take on every idea without question,’ she adds. Instead, she says a considered, constructive response should be given.

‘A good leader will involve the team in implementing change and, therefore, they may well be looking for your feedback. Be prepared to meet individuals half way and do not obstruct implementation. It might mean extra work – temporarily or permanently – but you need to ask: “is it going to benefit someone?”.’

It is also important not to take change personally. ‘More often than not, changes will be absolutely nothing to do with an individual nurse’s actions,’ says Mr Simpson. ‘If you are particularly anxious, seek information about why the changes are being implemented – it will almost certainly put your mind at ease.’

Likewise, making sure you are as well-informed as possible can also help to allay worries about the biggest change affecting nurses at the moment – revalidation.

‘It’s a process that many will find daunting,’ explains Mr Simpson. ‘But as long as you know your revalidation date and have attained all of the required documentation in enough time, there is nothing to worry about’.

This article is for subscribers only