Embracing Civility

The REAL Healthcare Reform!

Author: Stacey Turnure (page 1 of 6)

The Healthy Team Made a Pact!

My job takes me into hundreds of long term care facilities in my area.  Some are super-swanky dwellings with movie theaters and on-site pubs.  Others are tacky, timeworn structures that you can smell long before you open the door! And there’s everything in between!

But regardless of how things appear—the quality of care comes down to the strength of the team.

For example, one of the poshest facilities I visit has the most dysfunctional team.  And sadly, the residents  pay the price in poor care.

The oldest building I visit (and the one in greatest disrepair) has a unified team of enthusiastic caregivers that absolutely shine at resident care.

The strength of the team makes all the difference!

When I walk into the posh building, I’m greeted with a grunt and no fewer than three complaints.

When I enter the decaying, 1930s-era building, I’m greeted with a welcoming smile and warm hospitality.

I dread going into the posh building. 

I love the stinky-old-dump!

I asked the girls in the older building to explain why they thought their team worked so well together.  They shared with me that they made a verbal pact a long time ago to just get along.  They agreed that there would be no backbiting allowed—and it has worked for years.

They said that when new hires come on-board, they let them know from the beginning that this is the deal and they’ve never had anyone refuse to agree to it.

Doesn’t it sound like a great place to work?

Wouldn’t it feel good to work an environment that is dedicated to maintaining the dignity and mental well-being of the care-giving team?

And think of the benefit to the residents!  It’s a win-win situation!

Want to make a Civility Pact at your workplace?   HERE’S a sample pact you can print out and use, or modify it and make your own!

Let us know how it works out!

8 Ways to Deal with a Difficult Co-Worker

You come across all kinds of different people in your job!  And different people have different personalities!

Your “personality” is a combination of all your mannerisms, quirks and behavior patterns that make up your character. It’s what makes you “You!”  How you see the world, your attitude, thoughts, and feelings are all part of your personality. 

Personality is usually formed at an early age.  We take cues from our family, friends, teachers and other influential people.  We try out different attitudes and behaviors and we stick with what works!

  • People with healthy personalities are able to cope with normal stresses and have no trouble communicating their needs and forming relationships with family, friends, and co-workers.
  • People who tend to be “difficult” when faced with stress may have trouble communicating their needs, forming relationships, or getting what they want out if life.

Getting along with all kinds of people (with a variety of different personalities) is part of your job.  That means, whether you like it or not, you have to find a way to handle people with difficult personalities.

HERE’S THE HARD TRUTH: No matter how hard you try, you will NEVER change other people!

The key to dealing with difficult people is changing the way you react to the situation!  Your attitude and communication skills will make all the difference!

Here are 8 things you can do when faced with a difficult person at work:

  1. Keep your cool. Whether your co-worker is yelling, complaining, criticizing or blaming, just  stand still, looking directly at the person…and wait.  This gives the person a chance to get all their anger out.
  2. Don’t be the “floor show.” If a co-worker wants to squabble in front of the team, calmly say, “I want to hear everything you have to say, but not here where it might disturb others.  Let’s go somewhere private.”
  3. Take ten.  Remember that old “rule” about counting to ten?  It really does work.  If you’re having trouble with #1 (keeping your cool), remove yourself from the situation, breathe slowly and count to ten.  When you’re ready, go back and handle the situation.
  4. Be the boss. Don’t allow other people to control your moods. This gives others entirely too much power over you.  So, if you’re in a good mood, don’t let someone else’s grouchy attitude bring you down.
  5. Focus on actions. When dealing with a difficult person, focus on the particular behaviors you don’t like…rather than just labeling the person.  For example, instead of saying, “You’re always so rude” try saying, “I feel hurt when you ignore me.”
  6. Be your own cheerleader. The next time you have to work with a difficult person, give yourself a little “pep talk.”  Tell yourself, “I’m ready for this.  I can handle whatever happens today.  I will not get upset, no matter what.”
  7. Play it back in your head. If you saw a videotape of yourself from a recent confrontation with a difficult person, would you be embarrassed by your own behavior?  If so, how would you like to see yourself behave?
  8. Save your strength. Don’t waste your energy trying to change people who behave in a difficult manner.  Instead, work on changing the way you react to their behavior.

HEY TRAINERS AND EDUCATORS! Here’s an activity from the Instructor’s Manual for “The REAL Healthcare Reform Civility Training Program.  Use this activity to practice ways to resolve common work related conflicts.

Download the Activity!

Civility Requires Self-Awareness

Clarence Day wrote “The test of a civilized person is first self-awareness…”  Hmm.  What does this mean?  What exactly is self-awareness?

Self-awareness is when you realize that, although you are not the center of the universe, everything you say and do can affect those around you.

True self-awareness comes when you recognize that your own thoughts and feelings can lead you to act in a way that is either helpful or harmful to others. 

Here’s an example of how your thoughts and feelings can lead you to act in a way that is harmful to others:

There is a job opening in your company.  You and a co-worker both apply.  She gets the job and you don’t.  You feel hurt.  Your first thought is, “it’s not fair.” And, you know what?  It may not be fair.  But this is the moment that tests your self-awareness.

  • A person with self-awareness will let herself feel badly.  She’ll seek comfort in friends or family.  She’ll think about what went wrong and start making a plan to do things differently when the next opportunity arises.
  • A person who lacks self awareness will stew in the angry feeling of unfairness.  She will begin to plot her revenge.  She will hold a grudge against the co-worker and the hiring team.  She may even act on her negative feelings by saying something mean like “who did you sleep with to get the job?”

Here’s another example of an extreme lack of self-awareness:

Mary has strong political beliefs and never hesitates to share those beliefs with everyone at work.  Most people at work try to avoid her.  Even the people who share her same beliefs are becoming annoyed by her aggressive stance.

One day Mary was ranting about a particularly sensitive topic while sitting at the front desk.  A client overheard her and went to her supervisor to complain.   When the supervisor confronted Mary with the complaint, Mary launched into a tirade about free speech.

Not only was Mary unaware of how her behaviors affected her co-workers, but her lack of self-awareness now made it impossible for her to see how her behavior was affecting EVERYONE around her.

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The bottom line is this:  It’s okay to feel stressed, angry and embarrassed.  It’s okay to disagree and speak your views.  However, when you have self-awareness (aka civility), you know how to keep your thoughts and feelings from translating into harmful words or actions against others.

Click HERE to take our “Self Awareness Quiz.”  This activity comes from the Instructor’s Manual for “The REAL Healthcare Reform.”

Drill Down to Basics

basic-needs
I heard the yelling long before I saw the resident and her Aide struggling their way to the dining room.

I was sitting in a small med room just off the dining room in the locked Memory Care unit of an Assisted Living Facility.

The Aide seemed to have everything under control, so I waited and listened.

The resident was agitated.  The Aide spoke in a soothing voice.

The resident started ripping off her clothes.  The Aide gently re-routed her to a bathroom for privacy.

The resident screamed profanities from the bathroom.  The Aide waited patiently with her.

The resident tried to hit the Aide.  The Aide stood at the door and asked her co-worker to “bring the tray.”

A breakfast tray was handed off to the bathroom.

I could hear the Aide calmly say through the resident’s shrieks and screams, “Here’s your bacon.  You love bacon.”  And, “Oooh, you have a biscuit this morning.  Wanna try a bite?”

The cursing and shouting slowed, and then stopped.

A few minutes later, a quiet (and fully dressed) resident and her Aide emerged from the bathroom and sat down at a table to finish breakfast.

When the episode was over, I couldn’t help but think about this commercial!

In the old days, this type of resident behavior may have resulted in some sort of restraint.  Today, most healthcare environments are restraint-free.  That means we need to have more creative solutions!

In this case, the Aide used a method I call, “Drilling Down to Basics.”  The idea is that when a resident becomes agitated or combative, there’s a good chance that one of his or her “basic needs” is not being met.  The basic needs are hungry, thirsty, tired, lonely or in some sort of pain.  So the caregiver identifies the basic need that is not being met and meets it!

In this case, the resident was hungry.

As the episode resolved, the mood in the room returned to normal and everyone went about their business.

But that’s when I started thinking about how this may relate to incivility and dealing with difficult co-workers or your own difficult behaviors.

The resident in this scenario had Alzheimer’s disease which made it nearly impossible for her to express her needs.  People without AD can’t use that excuse!  But it’s possible that the same dynamic is in play.

I can’t speak for other people, but I know for a fact:

  • I’m grumpier when I’m hungry. 
  • I’m shorter-tempered when I’m tired. 
  • And I can be downright mean when I’m in pain. 

And to make matters worse, it’s difficult be objective about yourself and connect these behaviors to your own basic needs that are not being met.

So here’s my challenge to you:

The next time someone is being rude, mean or raging-on irrationally, remember the Aide in the Memory Care unit.  Stay calm.  Speak kindly and gently.  Remain patient.  Then try to get to the root of the problem.

Offer to get the person a snack.  Suggest they take a break, if possible.  Ask her if she’s feeling okay.  There’s a good chance one of these suggestions will hit her right where she needs it.

If you find yourself being rude or irrational, be your own Aide.  Step back and assess your own basic needs.  Take care of yourself.

pitcher2

When Sympathy is Not Enough . . .

All of us at Embracing Civility are honored to have Corey Anne Rotella, CNA, lend her very special voice to our blog as a regular contributor. Corey has worked on the frontlines of long term care since 2008. As she states, “Sometimes, you pick a career and sometimes a career picks you. In my case, the latter is true.”  (You can read more about Corey below.)

Here, Corey shares her thoughts on the importance of empathy in healthcare:

judy garland2Even before becoming a nursing assistant, I considered myself to be a sympathetic person, capable of feeling great sorrow for those in less fortunate circumstances. I would think, “Those poor homeless, sick, or emotionally disturbed people. How very sorry I feel for them!” Such feelings of sympathy tugged at my heart—but not for long. They moved quickly to the back burner, replaced by the routine of my own daily life.

The hard truth is that those fleeting moments of sorrow were really about ME. I had no idea what the people in those situations were going through, emotionally, mentally or physically. I only knew that it was far worse than anything that was happening to me. I realized that, in my sympathy, I was wishing I could pull them up to my level–without having any real understanding of their current struggles.

That’s the trouble with sympathy…
it’s all about the sympathizer.
That’s why the feelings fade.

It’s like those memes you see on Facebook: “Can I get a thousand likes for this child with cancer?” Or, “Repost this picture of an injured animal; otherwise you support animal abuse!”

Messages like these fly through the internet at a dizzying pace, forgotten in days, if not hours, and replaced with something else that MUST BE RE-POSTED. While it is a nice to know that people do care about others, this “sympathy” does nothing to enact lasting change.

Sympathy is a good beginning, but it doesn’t run deeply enough to foster the kind of understanding that we can use to ultimately heal one another. That’s why, in healthcare, sympathy by itself is a useless emotion! In this field, we have to meet people where they are rather than attempt to pull them “up” to where we are. To accomplish this, we need empathy.

Empathy is the ability to walk in another’s shoes. It is a skill, and like any skill, it requires both thought and practice. It takes time to develop but the value of empathy in every walk of life cannot be overstated.

But how can a young, healthy person possibly understand what it’s like to live with Alzheimer’s or cancer? How do you walk in the shoes of someone living with mental illness or who is facing a terminal illness?

The most honest answer is that we can’t. Not exactly. But we CAN relate. Every one of us brings our own unique set of experiences to each situation. For example, I don’t know what it’s like to live with Alzheimer’s disease, but I do know what it is like to feel as if I am not valued. I do know what it’s like to feel scared. I do know what it’s like to need help and not know where to turn. Someone living with Alzheimer’s is probably feeling all of those emotions.

I am able to use my own experiences to identify and relate to their troubles. I can apply what helped me through my difficulties to help them with theirs. So, where sympathy is passive (you feel it and move on), empathy is active, creative and helpful.

There is no “one size fits all” solution to everyone’s problem, but the ability to genuinely empathize with others opens the door to solutions.

Empathy is equally important when engaging with co-workers.

One of my favorite parts of working in healthcare is the diversity. We interact with people from a variety of educational, cultural and economic backgrounds—and we all bring something different to the table.

Things run smoothest when we can all relate to and understand each other without prejudging or making assumptions. Unfortunately, prejudging and making assumptions about others is prevalent in the healthcare field, and patients suffer because of it.

Look around at your team. Can you be more helpful and understanding to the new girl who speaks English as a second language? What about the older nurse who is burned out and crabby? Can you imagine the pressure that doctor feels? And someone in billing just lost her husband to cancer.

It’s not enough just to feel sorry for these people. EMPATHY is the only thing that helps. Empathy creates bridges and bonds. It helps people feel safe. It fosters an environment where everyone feels supported and valued.

Whether you work in housekeeping or perform brain surgery, empathy is a skill everyone can improve upon! We must all remember that (regardless of our differences) we have all experienced the same emotions and we are all working towards the same goals. If we can do this, then we can achieve a more productive, healthier, and happier work environment.


Here’s more about Corey Anne Rotella, in her own words:

Corey2“At first, I worked in the housekeeping department at an assisted living facility until I could afford to take the state test. Then I moved up to CNA. I also have my Medication Aid certification, but my heart is on the floor, where I can interact, observe and care for my residents.  My priority is taking time with my residents so that they know they are valued as human beings.  At the end of the day, don’t we all need to know that?

What I love most about my job as a CNA is that every single lesson I learn at work can be applied in all areas of my life.  A lifelong chronicler, I began to fuse my two passions and write about my work experiences, my perceptions and the issues that we all face in the healthcare system–patients and workers alike.

How Will You Thank Your CNAs?

behind_nurse_running_cna_buttonHey Nurses!  Have you thanked your CNA today? 

National Nursing Assistants Week starts in 2 days!  Now is the time to shout out to the world just how much your CNAs mean to you!

Here are a few ways you can do it:

JFNA-logoCheck out what some celebrities have to say about nursing assistants!  Then leave
your comment to share in the shower of praise for your healthcare team’s
hardest working members!

newcover.inddAnd don’t forget, we’re giving away a free copy of our book when you
leave a comment HERE!
 Tell us how much you appreciate the
CNAs on your team!

12packHow about a gift to give your team?  Today only get a 12 PACK of our books
to give as gifts to your team.  Get them today only for a special, one-day-only, teeny-tiny price!  Hurry! This offer ends at midnight tonight!

Free Giveaway for National Nursing Assistants Week

CNA WeekNational Nursing Assistants Week starts in just 3 days.  So we’re getting a head start on saying “THANK YOU” to all the hardworking Nursing Assistants out there!

From now until Thursday, June 19th, we’re giving away free copies of our book!

It’s pretty easy.  Just follow these three quick steps:

1.  Leave a comment below, (where it says “Join the Conversation”).  

If you are a nursing assistant, tell us what you love about your job.

If you are a nurse, tell us about an amazing nursing assistant you know.

2.  Fill out this form so we know where to send your book.

(Giveaway Ended – Form No Longer Available)

3.  Pay it Forward. When you are done reading the book, pass it on to another nursing assistant who you think may benefit from reading it.

Please Note: You must leave a comment below and send us your address in form above in order to receive your free book.

No Fields Found.

Survey Results: A Disturbing Trend

shockedOkay, remember that survey we started a few weeks ago dealing with bad bosses? Well, after weeding through hundreds of responses, we narrowed down a disturbing trend.

Here are the results:

I have (or had) a bad boss . . .
44% said Right now <~~~ Not too shocking.
31% said At my last job
25 % said A while ago
0% said Never

The problem with this supervisor is (or was) his (or her) . . .
31% said Incompetence <~~~ An expected response.
25% said Mean or thoughtless comments
19% said Lack of professionalism
13% said Other
6% said Absence (never around when needed)
6% had No response

What I did (or will do) about it . . .
38% said Talk to my Supervisor’s boss <~~~ Completely normal action to take.
19% said Talk to my Supervisor
13% said Talk to my co-workers
13% said Look for another job
13% said Quit
4% said Nothing

Did your actions solve the problem?
99.35% said No <~~~ Wait. What? Now this is DISTURBING!
Less than 1% said Yes

Nearly no one felt like their actions solved the problem. That’s just discouraging and . . . um . . . depressing.

When I realized where the results were going, I started to scour the web looking for experts who gave “the best advice” for handling a bad boss.

I found experts who said, “just quit.” But how does that solve the problem? It just leaves the bad boss in place to torment others.

I found experts who said, “You must go to HR.” Really? And that solves what?

I looked in our own book and found the section titled When It’s Not You It’s Your Supervisor, which I posted along with the survey. It’s good advice, but I kept looking.

shocked2Then, I found something that KNOCKED MY SOCKS OFF!

Alice, a CNA who writes for a blog called CNA Edge gave this advice in a recent post:

“. . . there is a freedom in having poor leadership. It means we either learn how to become leaders ourselves or we let the system beat us down.  We learn to not just survive in these impossible situations, but thrive. We excel, when they treat us as disposable, we rise above the sniping and backbiting and keep moving forward.”

“If enough of us do this, consistently and not just when it’s easy, we will become an asset that anyone with any sense will be loath to lose. And we will be doing this on our own terms for our own reasons. We will lead by example. If we do that, eventually we will have a voice that people will not be able to ignore.”

I love Alice’s advice because it reminds us that the only thing we are REALLY in charge of is ourselves. It’s probably safe to assume that NOTHING is going to change your bad boss until he or she is ready to change.  But you can change the way you deal with the crappy situation!

Can you take Alice’s advice and find the
“freedom” that comes with having poor leadership?

Will you step up and take the lead?

How can you be the best example of leadership
when the actual leaders are blowing it?

It’s a BIG Deal!

dealThe Deal of the Day is here again!
Save big bucks, today only on
a Complete Civility Training Program
for up to 24 participants!

THIS PACKAGE INCLUDES:

24 copies of the book, “The REAL Healthcare Reform” (read sample pages).

1 copy of the Companion Instructor’s Manual (read sample pages). The Instructor’s Manual includes:

  • Engaging classroom activities.
  • Enlightening PowerPoint presentations.
  • Thought provoking discussion questions.
  • Simple tips for improving participation in discussions.
  • Presentation tips to keep your organized and energized.
  • Fun and challenging “5 minute quizzes” to test your learners’ knowledge following each lesson.
  • Master copies of all the handouts, quizzes and PowerPoint presentations on CD.

This deal is too good to pass up!  Click her to ORDER NOW!  The deal ends at midnight tonight.

THANK YOU! Your gift is on the way!

thanks

Thank you to all of the dedicated nurses who participated in our Nurses’ Week Giveaway!  Your responses were uplifting and inspiring!

If you completed the first 2 steps (posted a comment and sent us your address) then you can expect to receive your free, signed copy of The REAL Healthcare Reform in 2 to 3 weeks.

If you work with a terrific CNA, check back with us the week of June 13-20 for National Nursing Assistant Week.  We’ll do another giveaway, but this one will be for nursing assistants!

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