A little inspiration

One of the critical yet oft-neglected responsibilities leaders have is to inspire.  That’s particularly important in skilled nursing.

Unfortunately, for various reasons, ‘we’ adopt coping defense mechanisms to adapt to the very unique workplace of a nursing home.  This is particularly true for those of us who weren’t ‘raised’ in a facility but who came to skilled nursing after college and another career.  We come with rose colored glasses of how we’re going to change the long-term care world and how we’re going to never accept the things that offend our dignities or our senses when we first got started.  We’re going to fix all that.  Then, for most of us, reality sets in.  Realities of the constant pressure to meet the regulations, customer demands, the ‘crazy’ family members, the employee dramas, organization expectations, etc.  And, before you know it we’re saying stuff like, ‘Did I hear that 25B had a fall last night?’ instead of ‘Did I hear that Virginia fell last night?’

One illustration I use to help visualize what happens to new SNF leaders is here …

The New SNF Leader Empathy Curve

One ex-colleague of mine suggested I add an inverted line to the illustration called BURNOUT.  Turns out to fit.

Back to how I started … needing inspiration.  We all need it.  We all get in ruts.  We all slip into routine and forget the bigger WHY we do what we do.  It turns out that it doesn’t take a complicated, strategically thoughtful approach to sprinkling a little inspiration over your teams.  At an all staff meeting or during your next stand-up simply bring up a video or two from youtube and share a thought about how this affects you and how you approach your work.  Tell your team where you’re at on the empathy curve and where you intend to be and what you’re going to do to get there.  In addition to sprinkling a consistent seasoning of inspiration on your team with videos or articles, poems, or thank you notes, if you’re really serious about bouncing back up the empathy curve and overcoming burnout, you can create a competition for your facility to develop a system or some change that helps everyone have more empathy and/or give the residents more choice.  More to come on that later, but here’s a sneak peek: http://www.ensigneprize.com/

By the way, here’s the video that I saw this morning that got me thinking about this post.  Enjoy:


3 thoughts on “A little inspiration

  1. Dave – how I miss my friends @ Ensign! I would be curious how you articulate the anchoring mechanisms that keep a leader in the facility, attached to the company as they go through the “Awakening” phase. I remember going thru that curve, but my sense was that my needs & ability to impact were greater outside than inside. Are the EDs that stick to it just more resilient? More insane? More loyal? No other viable options?

    I miss the Bend & my family there. One of the best experiences of my life.

  2. Great post… Absolutely the best part of the job, but probably the least exercised (in much of my experience). Keep the insight coming!

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