4 Keys to Building Your Best Work Life


The wave of new nurses filling staffing gaps can create multigenerational challenges including communication gaps and difficulty connecting with each other. However, this influx of new nurses in the perioperative setting actually creates the perfect opportunity to instill a new culture—one that builds people up and inspires them to work together.

Making this culture shift is not as difficult as you may think, according to Clint Pulver, aka “the Undercover Millennial.” Through extensive undercover research to understand what makes someone love their job or leave it, he’s found a few critical keys to a happy and healthy work environment.

We asked Pulver how this is possible in the high-stress, fast-paced environment of perioperative care. Luckily, he spent years working in the OR as an orthopedic specialist and understands the unique interprofessional demands of the job. He shared four strategies to help OR nurses shape their best work life by connecting with colleagues.

  1. Look Past Generational Stereotypes

In a cross-generational workforce, the goal is not to look at each other as a generation, but as a team member, Pulver suggests. He emphasizes that generalities such as older people being stuck in their ways and younger people being lazy or entitled, need to go. “The moment we get rid of those stereotypes, we find opportunities to see the individual gifts that make a person who they are and who they can be.”

Pulver points to one effective strategy called the "Lift and Lean." He says when colleagues focus on an individual, it opens opportunities for deeper connections that create internal support systems. In today’s challenging times, he says “we must lift each other up because we will definitely need people to lean on.”

  1. Mentor, Don’t Manage

“People don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses,” Pulver says. In his undercover research, employees loved working for an OR manager who inspired them to see the best in themselves. He found that helped the employees love who they are when they work with that OR manager.

The number one trick Pulver found to successful mentoring is this: “You have to let a mentee invite you into their heart,” he explains. “Smart leaders create a culture of mentorship where employees chose them.”

  1. Communicate Growth and Potential

Once a leader has founded a strong mentoring connection, they need to talk to the employee in terms of “growth opportunities and worth so well that an employee sees it in themselves, not just as an employee, but also as a mom or dad or partner or sister—as a human being,” Culver stresses.

The worth part of this work can come in the form of recognition to help people feel seen, heard and understood in a way that matters to them, he adds. “The key is to recognize worth on an individual level by communicating praise that is just about them and the good they are doing.”

  1. Create Moments

“When you get higher and higher in leadership, it gets tougher to create connection, but it’s possible when you create moments—moments are what people remember,” Pulver says. “People never say, 'I love my boss because she’s so efficient and organized’ … they talk about the moments of advocacy, moments of hope, and moments of recognition.”

Clint Pulver is an Emmy Award-winning, motivational keynote speaker, author, musician, and workforce expert, who was featured in Business Q Magazine as one of their “Top 40 under 40.”

Win a meet-and-greet with Pulver during AORN Global Surgical Conference & Expo 2023. Pulver will kick off the conference as the Opening General Session speaker on April 1 in San Antonio, TX. Use promo code BESTWORKLIFE when registering to be entered into the drawing. Drawing will be held Dec. 1, 2022.