Our Value

As you already might know, I am a Registered Nurse, and that does define some aspects of my life. From the occupational point of view this means I am doing a job that has value to many people. In Finland, the Nurses’ Union Tehy has been trying to negotiate an agreement since February this year, and the battle is still raging on, and this situation prompted me to write about our value.

What Is Our Worth?

We might not always realise it, but we all have worth – and I am not talking about something that can be necessary measured in monetary units. Of course us all should have some net worth because of our work experience and educational background, but let’s talk more about the intangible value. Somethings that make us, well, us.

At work I have always prided myself with the quality of the work I do. I have been instilled with the idea of whatever job you do, do it well -attitude by my parents and I have actually tried to stick by it. Sometimes it is not easy, and sometimes it is (much) easier. And also, maybe that attitude is why I seem to be liked as a co-worker? Working like this has also allowed me to gain valuable experience from different fields, and working with different people has allowed me to understand how important each job actually is.

But when it comes to appreciation and value at work, I cannot help but wonder – is it enough that we know our own worth?


We humans are social creatures who crave for appreciation. If not, why would they make movies and plays about it?

Back in the 1990’s and 2000’s there seemed to be more companies with attitudes like Ryanair: “Employees (Cabin Crew in Ryanair) are lemons to be squeezed and then thrown away.” Of course I understand the attitude that the employee is being paid to bring their expertise and skills to the table, but what I don’t understand about the above sentence is that what does the employer bring to the table? A squeezing machine and a bin? Or should there be more? Luckily, the times have changed – or have they?

We now live in 2020’s, so roughly 20 years later than my example of Ryanair’s ideology of lemons and bins. In between then and now I have had the pleasure to work in different fields and different countries, and to experience different working cultures and different levels of appreciation for my experience and my skills.

Many companies nowadays understand that employees are the most valued asset they have. If your employees are overworked, underpaid, and undervalued, your customers suffer. Your sales suffer. Your image suffers. Why?

At the moment, like I said in the beginning, Finland in in the middle of a heated negotiations between the employer side and the nurses union for the union agreements. To put pressure into the negotiations, the union went to a strike in the spring, shortly after Russia started the war against Ukraine. One of the chief doctors from the biggest hospital districts in Finland gave an interview where he compared the nurses going to a strike to the unprovoked war in Ukraine. Everyone, except the hospital district managers, were stunned by this. The comment in itself was degrading. But as the time has moved on and the negotiations are still ongoing with more twists and turns than an episode of the Bold And The Beautiful, there has been more and more examples of non-appreciation being said from many sides.

Nurses are said to be greedy, non-caring, and selfish as they demand a raise. Nursing is supposed to be a calling and because of that it should be understood that the salaries are, and will remain, low. On the governmental level the MPs “understand that nurses need appreciation even in the form of better salary”, but instead of this Finland’s parliament has drafted a bill taking away the nurses rights to strike, to resign, and to remove nursing credentials from the system. Instead of appreciation, the parliament forces the nurses back to work.

The above example is true, and you can read more about it from YLE News (finnish broadcaster). It’s been said that the breaking of trust and the lack of appreciation is something that will take years to rebuild in the health care sector. And it certainly has tarnished the image of many hospital districts as employers in Finland.

Enough Of Nurses, What About Me?

I used the nursing situation in Finland as a stark example of how bad the situation can go. This year alone nearly 500 nurses in Finland have asked for their credentials to be removed. And this can happen if you, or me, doesn’t feel appreciated and valued. And that is why we all need to remind ourselves of our own self-worth, and to recognise the worth of the people around us. Simple things like “thank you” and a smile can actually help someone to get through their day. Set yourself in your colleague’s shoes for a moment and think how good it feels when you have spent hours in the fascinating world of Excel and your colleague looks at it and compliments how good it looks and how well it works – instead of criticizing it and what more you could have done, or how much better they would have done it.

As said before, we all crave for appreciation – in our private and work life. How much, that is for each of us to decide for ourselves. If you have 10 years of experience in a field, don’t think that you are worth the same as someone who is just starting their career. If you enter a relationship with a person you love, don’t let the (bad) experiences from your past relationships to dictate the path you want to take with the love of your life.

And always, always, remember – you are magnificent and great. And worth more than I can put into words. Have a fabulous day!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Coalmine Hospital Comics says:

    It is true. It doesn’t matter how caring, compassionate, altruistic, or competent you are if your employer doesn’t appreciate you and show that appreciation. A bad employer can burn out the very best of us.


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