Embracing the Journey of a Merger

By Irene Strejc, RN, BSN, MPH
Vice President of Nursing, Methodist Richardson Medical Center

For more than 20 years, the health care landscape has changed significantly thanks to many mergers, acquisitions, and government regulations. The momentum behind consolidation has been fueled by providers looking to increase economies of scale, enhance their position with payers and regulators, expand the reach of their brand, and improve the care they provide to the communities they serve.

About three years ago, Richardson Regional Medical Center became a member of the Methodist Health System family. At the time, many employees, patients, and friends of the hospital asked why this melding of organizations was occurring. As health care continues to redefine itself, independent hospitals have found that as soloists they can no longer make their own music. Instead, they must join a choir. Hospitals and other providers are dancing as fast as we can and together we can pool our energies to maximize our efforts. We all know that bigger isn’t always better, but in the case of Methodist Richardson Medical Center, the winners are our patients, our community, and our hospital employees.

For nurses and other caregivers, experiencing a merger is similar to experiencing the stages of grief:

  • A feeling of loss of independence
  • Shock and denial
  • Anger about the changes that are occurring and how those changes might impact themselves
  • Analysis and reflection
  • Reconciliation and acceptance.

Managers play a key role in helping employees survive and thrive during a merger. They must:

  • Communicate frequently with factual, timely information that answers employees’ questions and addresses their concerns.
  • Focus on the positives. Help shift employees’ fear and worry to see the benefits of the merger for themselves and their patients.
  • Help employees see the value of the past and the benefits of the present and future. No one wants their sense of history and the good that it represents to be diminished. Now’s the time to appreciate what was good and how it’s better now. Even though change brings growing pains, a merger is an opportunity to grow.

So, how do employees embrace a merger?

  • A prayerful attitude of gratitude to appreciate there’s a bright future ahead of us.
  • A personal mission statement. Whom do you want to be? What do you want to contribute to this new organization?
  • A new list of best friends. Understand that everyone is in transition. Now’s the time to reach out to others across the new organization to form new relationships as you learn to dance with your new partner.
  • Reflection. What did you accomplish today to reinforce the first three steps?

My best advice to someone experiencing a merger is to keep looking forward. The path to the future is a day well managed. Have your plan and work your plan and when you reach the other side, what you expect to be there will be there. This has certainly been true in the case of Methodist Richardson. Methodist has been impacted by our arrival and we have been impacted by them. We have learned from each other to create a new culture and better organization.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning said it best: “Come grow old with me. The best is yet to be.” The longer you stay together, the richer the rewards.

If you’re ready to merge your career with our family, then it’s time to choose Methodist. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

© Methodist Health System


Posted Career Advancement, Nurses, Uncategorized