I understand that to work in a nursing home takes a special kind of person. It takes someone who can think on their feet and care on the run. Many of these compassionate caregivers have had to rise above great personal challenges, to let go of burdens and heartache, to become the people they are now. Caring and compassion are not things that we can teach; these things are born through blood, sweat, and tears, many times from living a life in the trenches. Sometimes we must work at letting go of the things that weigh us down, crawl out of the trenches each morning, and go to work to care for our residents.
So what does it take to do this day in and day out? Let’s look at what I call the “High Five for LTC!”
1. Courage. Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day, saying, “I will try again tomorrow!” In the healthcare arena, happiness and joy do not always abound unless we make them happen. Depression and sadness, experienced by our residents, spill over onto our staff members.
Just having the courage to go to work and make a difference in the lives of others is a challenge. Smiling when you are being yelled at, when a family member is complaining about the job you do, when you are giving your all and it is never enough—nursing takes everything from you and often gives little in return. Many times, when we find the courage to go on each day in this environment, the rewards are indeed a smile and thank you from a helpless person. This is our compensation for a job well done. Just remember the courage that it takes your staff to do this sometimes thankless work.