Working in a service industry, we administrators give a great deal of ourselves to others—the staff, residents, and families. We encourage all parties to take care of themselves, support and respect one another, and celebrate their accomplishments. Yet how often do we take our own advice? Here’s a guess: not often enough!
March 14-18th is the week designated by The American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA) as a time to honor and celebrate long-term care administrators everywhere. The college was founded in 1962 as a non-profit professional membership association and a leading force in promoting excellence in leadership among long-term care administrators. In addition to providing educational programming, certification, and career development opportunities for its members, ACHCA has sponsored this national observance each March since 1994.
National Long-Term Care Administrators Week is a wonderful opportunity to remind administrators everywhere to start—or continue—to take time for themselves. To be an effective leader, it is critical to relax, reflect, and stay in touch with who you are and what is important in life; at home, at work—professionally and personally.
Taking care of self involves balance. In order to be a whole individual and make the right decisions it is necessary to value all aspects of life including work, family, self, and spirit. We all know people who spend most of their time working, missing family events, forgoing children’s ball games and plays, declining lunch dates with friends. They’re the kind of people who are always too busy to go on vacation. While they may be financially successful, we believe that they have paid a very high price. At some point in their careers, we believe they will look back and wish that they had chosen a more balanced life.
Few people have enough time to accomplish all that they want in a day at work. And honestly, will you ever be finished? However, in this one area—a balanced life—leaders need to be selfish. Leaders who take time for themselves, time to think and reflect, will travel in a better direction, be more creative problem solvers, and experience enhanced creativity and peace. As such, these leaders are more aware, conscious of direction, confident in decision making, and productive.
So maybe, just maybe, someone you care for the other 51 weeks of the year will celebrate you this week. Let us know how you find and use time for yourself—we’d love to share with others the many success stories.
Susan Gilster, PhD, FACHCA, NHA, Fellow, developed the Alois Alzheimer Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, which opened in 1987 as the first freestanding dementia facility in the United States.
Jennifer L. Dalessandro, BS, NHA, is the Assistant Administrator and Research Coordinator of the Alois Alzheimer Center and has helped it evolve into a person-centered facility.