What a group of Dutch nurses can teach Silicon Valley about the future of work

If you wanted to learn something about the future of the workplace, you probably wouldn’t begin your quest by heading to the Netherlands and inquiring about the state of nursing.

But Buurtzorg — a decentralized network of nurses who engage with their communities on their own terms — has shaken up the profession. Its story is a master class in how to scale that “founder feeling” and create a workplace built on new power principles.

Buurtzorg began in 2006 with a vision of what nurses would not do. They would not be drowned in paperwork. They would not let strict procedure trump healthy culture. They would not be governed by out-of-touch paper-pushers at HQ.

Instead, they wanted to do the work that inspired them in the first place: caring for patients. They would connect with their community and make the decisions that matter themselves. They would decide when and how to visit people in their homes, dealing with everything from changing bandages to making end-of-life plans. They would be in charge of their own world.

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