The joy I had in my work in the 1980s caused me to create Buurtzorg in 2007. We now employ 14,000 people in Holland, and are expanding across the world – including in the UK. The government came to play an important part in our growth in Holland, but not by accident.
In the 1980s, I was a nurse, it was my vocation, but it was also very creative and exciting. Every morning you didn't know what you could expect from the day, and every weekend we’d sit down and discuss the difficult things, learn from each other, and find solutions for the problems we met in our daily work.
Thank you to Rich and the Kaleidoscope team, who asked me to offer some reflections on joy in work.
When I was thinking about this, I was reminded of a story which I’d like to share with you. It’s a story about someone you might not usually associate with joy - a homeless man. But it resonates with my own experiences of joy in work. And I wonder if it will with yours.
A couple of years ago I spoke to healthcare professionals in the US about what makes for a joyous day at work as part of a project sponsored by the Commonwealth Fund, when I was working in America as a Harkness fellow.
The project took me to two states on different sides of the country and gave me the opportunity to talk in depth to obstetricians, midwives and physician associates, using formal qualitative project methodology.