Why I Chose to Work at Shearwater Health
How can you tell if you’re choosing to work for a great company that both challenges you and takes care of you? It’s not always easy to identify. For international nurses, it’s even harder when it’s not just a job, but a move to another part of the world.
As one of the newest members of the Shearwater Team, I recently evaluated if Shearwater Health would be the next chapter in my career. I wanted to give you some insight into what I looked for in a company and why I decided to join the Shearwater Team. I’ll also use Shearwater Health’s recently announced mission, vision, and values to illustrate what I’ve experienced.
I often get the question, “Why is a nurse practitioner working at a nurse recruitment company?” I too wondered this when I was interviewing at Shearwater.
I answered that question, by asking myself three more questions:
- What is my purpose?
- Is this something I believe in?
- Will this team help me to excel or hold me back?
What is my purpose?
Like most nurses, when I started in patient care, my main motivation was taking care of patients. My background is predominantly in emergency and pediatric emergency nursing. I love the rush of bringing someone on the brink of death back to life, saving limbs, and supporting families when they are vulnerable and facing difficult circumstances.
But as I gained more education and experience I saw not just the patient issues but also issues facing the entire healthcare system. Turns out, all those problem-solving skills I perfected in the ER helped me develop problem solving skills that can be applied at global levels. Now I know my purpose is to be part of the healthcare solution.
Is this company’s purpose something I believe in?
Another way to ask this: “Is this company part of the solution or the problem?” I consider a company part of the solution if they are looking for innovative ways to ensure our patients get the best quality care in the most responsible manner. We have a significant nursing shortage in the U.S. that is getting worse daily. Recruiting international nurses is not the full answer, but it is part of the solution.
I get to be part of that solution in addition to making nurses’ dreams come true. Some of the nurses we bring to the U.S. have been waiting more than 5 years, or more than 10 years, to make it to the states and experience their ‘American Dream.’
One of the best ways to tell if you align with a company is to look at their value system and more importantly, how they act on those values. Here’s what I saw at Shearwater…
Shearwater makes numerous long-term commitments to both nurses and clients. Shearwater is transparent and honest throughout the process of bringing nurses to the U.S. and sets reasonable expectations about the process. Communicating updates to nurses and clients is imperative to ensure integrity.
2. Commitment to Service & Excellence
The whole purpose of my position at Shearwater is to ensure that we maintain our commitment to service and excellence. Shearwater makes clinical evaluation central to selecting nurses considered for U.S. employment. It is both to the advantage of the nurse and hospital to ensure that the nurse placed in a U.S. hospital will have the base technical, interpersonal, and critical thinking skills needed to adapt to the U.S. hospital environment. Once nurses arrive I aid both hospital managers and nurses with any needs throughout the contract period.
As mentioned before, the work we do is life-changing, and to do life-changing work, you must have respect. Respect for others’ cultures, background, and circumstances. Shearwater recognizes the anticipation and anxiety that comes throughout the pre-deployment and arrival processes. We choose to walk side-by-side with our nurses to ensure success and alleviate any stress that may arise.
No company is immune to mistakes, but how mistakes are handled speaks to ownership. I want to work for a company that admits when it makes a mistake. When I first started at Shearwater a nurse was confused about a reimbursement regarding furniture rental. It was something that had been discussed verbally but was not written. The nurse felt she had not been properly prepared for this expense and brought this to Shearwater’s attention. The team apologized for the poor communication, took ownership of the problem, and valued the nurse’s opinion enough to ask her to be part of the team to review and advise on the new communication. The team showed me that we strive to find solutions and resolutions, not ignore or create problems.
Will this team help me to excel or hold me back?
5. Entrepreneurial Spirit
The entrepreneurial spirit of the Shearwater team is magnetic. There is a great mix of youth and experience that combines to give a sense that they truly care and want to find ways to be good stewards of healthcare. They’re always looking for ways to make processes more efficient, make the experience of the nurses better and more enriching, and make our clients continue to want to grow our partnerships. A good team in a good job will unlock your potential, because there are so many people that can influence your success. That is how I felt when I met the Shearwater team. Each member of the team I met talked about different ideas and how they had been supported by the group and encouraged to take the idea and bring it to fruition.
Now perhaps it makes more sense why a nurse practitioner is working at an international nurse recruitment company. My chance to meet international nurses and celebrate nursing around the world is the perk. Everything I talked about above is my reason and my purpose.
Melissa Lacy, MSN, FNP-BC
VP, Clinical Services