Nursing Leadership

Nursing Leadership 13(4) November 2000 : 19-26.doi:10.12927/cjnl.2000.16290

Transition Management as an Intervention for Survivor Syndrome

K. A. Rogers


In today's health care environment of merged organizations, downsizing and restructuring, employees can be experiencing a debilitating syndrome called "layoff survivor syndrome." This syndrome can have a crippling effect on workers and organizations as employees struggle to adapt to the changed working environment. This article represents my self-reflection as a nursing unit manager who personally experienced survivor sickness and witnessed its impact on the unit staff that I was leading at the time. The work of Noer (1993) is explored to clarify the syndrome and describe how the nursing staff and I manifested the syndrome. The writings of Bridges (1991), Brockner (1992) and Noer (1993) provide timely and relevant insights into managing the impact of layoffs and downsizing on those left behind to carry on. Noer (1993) sees the adaptation to the change as the ability to make the psychological shift from the old business paradigm that perpetuated codependency to the new business paradigm of fostering empowered employees. Bridges (1991) takes us a step further in making this psychological shift to adapt to the new work environment by providing a three phase process he calls transitions. The works of these three authors hold an important message for organizations and employees working in environments that abound with constant change.



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