What does it mean to trust someone? What does it mean to distrust someone? More importantly, what does it mean to have trust in the workplace? There are many definitions of trust out there on the internet. However, trust at work is a ‘boots on the ground’ feeling of safety. As Merriam-Webster puts it, “if you trust someone, you believe that they are honest and sincere and will not deliberately do anything to harm you.”
Many of us in healthcare no longer have that kind of feeling of trust. It was broken either before or during the pandemic.
It may have been broken during the pandemic in many ways. Here are some examples. It could have been broken when administrators withheld PPE because of fears of a future shortage, despite having plenty of PPE on hand at that point in time. It may have happened when PPE was given only to a few people who had contact with patients, but not all staff who had contact with patients. It may have happened when some staff members stole PPE for personal use out of fear and were not penalized, even though this put their colleagues lives at risk.
These were all things that I saw firsthand. When I raised concerns, I was told that my concerns did not matter. My concerns did not matter. Let me say that again: my concerns did not matter. That undermined my trust in my administration, in the process of reporting problems, and in the entire system more than anything. So, let me ask you this. Are your people’s concerns being heard? This means all your people, from housekeeping, to surgical techs, to administrators. Are their concerns being heard? If not, you need to be finding a way to rebuild their trust. Today. Not tomorrow. Not next week.