Do you love or hate New Year's resolutions? I run hot and cold on them. Initially, I see them as a good idea. A new year. A fresh slate. Why not try to do a few things better to improve yourself and your outlook on the world? Why slow down like a clock that needs wound when you have a fresh new year staring you in the face? It's exhilarating and exciting to expunge all the bad habits of the former year and hang high hopes on the glistening façade of a brand-new one. On the other hand, why do we need a brand-new year to be the springboard to improvement? Every day is a brand-new beginning. But somehow, a new day just doesn't have the shock and awe of a whole new year.
Professionally, why not:
Resolve to be even more of an advocate for your residents. In small ways or large, put the mechanisms in place to ensure that everything you do has a benefit for your residents. Their lives and happiness are entrusted to you. Don't let the paper-pushing side of your business overtake your raison d'etre.
Resolve to take an active role in the politics that affect the long-term care industry at the grassroots level. I know, I know. You think trying to change the political scene is like spitting in the ocean. But if you don't try, who will? Start with your associations and see how you can get involved with what they're doing to make the voice of senior care heard. Contact your congressperson or senator. Resolve to do one thing, just one, that in some way will advance a program or bill that will benefit senior care.
Resolve to be a mentor. What better way to ensure the longevity and professionalism of the long-term care industry than to teach what you know to your subordinates? I heard at one conference this year that being a mentor is “giving a piece of your life away.” What better legacy can you leave your profession than a piece of your knowledge and experience?
Resolve to take care of yourself. You can't help others (residents or employees) if you are unhealthy, physically or mentally. Take time to care for yourself so that you can properly care for others in the parameters of your professional life. Be an “interested” person rather than an “interesting” one. This will particularly be noticed by your residents. If you're interested in them, it's one of the biggest gifts they'll receive in the new year.
A heartfelt Happy New Year to all of our readers from the staff of Long-Term Living. We resolve to continue to bring you monthly articles that can help you be a better owner, administrator, or director of nursing. That is our promise.
Maureen Hrehocik, Editor Long-Term Living 2010 January;59(1):8