A Mile In My Shoes
Cathy Richards-Rivers, ADC
am an Activities Director at a skilled nursing facility.
I play games, have parties, go out to lunch with the
residents, decorate the building, do crafts, and have
FUN, FUN, FUN, all day long!
that what the staff perception is in your facility?
Do you have such a smooth operation in your department
that everyone thinks you are simply "having fun
all day long"? If this is the case, then you are
doing a great job! When we make it look easy and fun
we are doing exactly what we are supposed to do. Perhaps
you say, "I don't get the respect that other departments
get and I am a professional". Yes, you are a professional!
I am a professional too! However respect is earned not
demanded. Here are some suggestions for earning respect
for the fun job that you do.
the Administrator, Director of Nursing, or Assistant
Director of Nursing to "Walk A Mile In My Shoes"
by attending the Lunch Outing in place of the CNA or
Activity Assistant that usually accompanies you. Be
sure to assign them some of the duties of assisting
a resident with ordering their food (staying within
the amount of money the resident has with them), transferring
to the restaurant chair and/or arranging the furniture
in the restaurant to accommodate the residents in wheelchairs,
and safely getting everyone from the vans to the restaurant.
Don't forget to allow them to visit the restroom with
a wheelchair resident while you are there. And don't
forget separate checks for everyone!! Then next time
they see you leaving for a Lunch Outing I wonder if
the statements as you are leaving with your thicken
liquid powder, extra pads, and hand cleaner will be,
the Restorative Nurse or the Restorative CNA to "Walk
A Mile In My Shoes" by leading the Morning Music
and Exercise Program, we call it Morning Stretch in
my facility, in which we gather 35 residents (mostly
in wheelchairs) on our own to the dining room area,
set up the room by moving the tables out of the way
(don't seat people next to each other that don't get
along, and don't bring anyone in the area that needs
supervision until the last minute), this preparation
must be done in 30 minutes because residents can't be
left unattended. You can't leave the room once you've
begun, so be sure you have all the instruments and supplies
for this program. Everyone in the group needs to be
involved and if there are various levels of abilities
in the program you must involve them without drawing
attention to the adaptive techniques you are using.
This is a "range of motion" program; I do
believe the Restorative Staff would have FUN! Don't
you? Wait . . . the program is over but the room still
has to be rearranged and left the way you found it.
the Maintenance Department to "Walk A Mile In My
Shoes" by leading the Men's Lunch Party and allow
them to set up the "games" and arrange with
the Dietary Department the food, present the list to
the nursing, and dietary staff of who will be attending
as well as set the room up for the program. That program
is just "having lunch and playing games".
It will be a welcome change from the repair jobs they
do on a daily basis. They will have such FUN!
Invite a CNA or Housekeeper to "Walk A Mile in
My Shoes" by leading a craft program. They will
come up with the idea, supplies, and gather the residents
as well as give instructions. Observe the residents
in the group for safety (watch that no one eats the
beads, glue, etc.) And be sure to take into consideration
vision and dexterity limitations to decrease frustration
for the residents involved. It will be a change from
the way they usually interact with the residents as
well as being FUN!
Invite the Admissions/Marketing/Office Managers to "Walk
A Mile in My Shoes" by decorating for the Christmas
Season. They will need to go out to storage and bring
in all of the decorations, sort to the location the
decorations will be going, determine the time of day
to decorate (can't interfere with meal times, activities
must continue as scheduled, and arrange some resident
involvement in the "Decorating Party"). They
must be aware of the fire regulations and rules from
the maintenance department for hanging decorations (no
staples, nails, pushpins, etc.). They must also complete
their regular duties. We can't just "decorate"
all day, after all that would be FUN!
Encourage all departments to be on a planning committee
for your next big party, for instance a casino/Las Vegas
Night. It will be fun with games, entertainment, refreshments,
decorations, and a party! They will need to work with
maintenance for the extra chairs and tables to be set
up and housekeeping for the area to be cleaned as well
as dietary for the refreshments and activities for the
entertainment and nursing for the residents to be ready
and front office for reservations. Families will need
to be notified of the event, as well as activities to
host and publish on the calendar of events. Don't forget
about the budget for prizes, decorations, and entertainment.
It will be FUN, FUN, FUN!
I know that NCCAP members are professional, and because
we are professionals we have a true commitment to the
work that we do as well as appreciation and respect
for the other department's contribution to the Quality
of Life for our residents/clients. We also know that
respect is earned not expected and that educating others
to the job we do is also a responsibility we are entrusted
as a professional.
I challenge you to use your creative ability to invite
others to "Walk A Mile In Your Shoes" and
when you do, you will gain the respect that can only
be earned that you so very much deserve.