As many of you know, I was a nursing home administrator for nearly 30 years and I loved it. There were good times and some not so good times, but I had an incredible team and a wonderful owner/boss and they supported me through them all. And 48 years ago I became a nurse and have kept my license current because I also loved the nursing part also. (you realize I got my license when I was 3!! ) Anyhow, this new Corvoid-19 has put a new test on the horizon for so many of my comrades and my heart aches for them, their residents, staff and residents families. Also, as many of you know, when I am emotional, I write “ditties”. I would like to share this with you and I have titled it FEAR:
In our current world where nothing is the same as yesterday and tomorrow is an unknown, my heart and soul aches for my comrades.
Through the years, we all work with a healthy bit of fear in the back of our minds, but we temper it with trust and faith. We push on because it is part of the responsibility that comes with the job description –unwritten but understood. We surround ourselves with solid department heads who share our vision, and see their duties as essential to fulfilling the promise of providing the residents with as comfortable and complete a life as possible– given the various situations their bodies have dictated.
As an administrator, at various times, you are a mother, a daughter, or a granddaughter (or the male version of this.) You are a judge or a jury; a coach or a referee, a purchasing agent or a renovation master. You counsel, you hold hands and you wipe tears. You need to lead but also need to know when to follow; you need to know when to be tough and when to be soft, know when to listen and when to talk, know when to teach and when to learn and above all you need to protect all of those entrusted to your charge – residents and staff alike –and make decisions based on the facts with which you are presented, guided by the rules and regulations. You never completely lose sight of that fear that is in the background, but it is put in perspective by these rules and regulations. They give you a fighting chance with those who will challenge your decisions – including families, staff and state and federal surveyors.
But now there is a new type of fear on the horizon. It is titled Covid-19 and has added a new level of fear to the life and times of LTC administrators! It doesn’t play by any rules – it doesn’t adhere to any of the regulations that we are so used to living by. Purchasing agent or renovation master doesn’t get the PPE’s so desperately needed by your residents and staff. Your decisions effect not only your resident’s and staff but their families – and your family. As each administrator handles things in his or her own arena, it is a double-edged sword. No matter how things turn out, every illness, every death, every response — everything will be agonized by you at the time, “Have I done enough—have I done it right—how many others have been affected—is the fear of the unknown coupled with the isolation causing more issues than it is solving for my residents—is separating the couple that have never been apart in their 68 years of married life, –because one shows some possible symptoms–the right decision? When I go home at night, do the nightmares of possibly bringing ‘something’ home to my loved ones keep me awake—sensitive to every cough or sneeze ???. “ and then finally knowing you will be subjected to the scrutiny of how things were handled by people with the benefit and ‘wisdom’ of 20-20 hindsight, who never walked your walk.
So this definition of fear: a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; suddenly takes on a real and additional dimension– still you can’t allow it to direct your decisions. You must continue to trust and have faith in your staff and your decisions.
Yes fear raises it’s head again—this time different and real and in the forefront. The rules, regulations, and guidelines change constantly and the results of your response is large and real and forever! But you ARE leaders and you WILL persevere– adding this time of your career to your resume and be able to tell others, “Oh yes, I remember that pandemic of 2020”
That’s enough for today!! Have faith, be careful, stay strong and keep safe !! Bye for now.