Magical moments

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Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC
Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC

As long-term care employees, we have to keep things moving smoothly and optimistically whenever possible. It's a part of our special charge to be, well, special to our residents and their families.

As it turns out, there was something particularly special about the 30th annual convention of the National Association of Directors of Nursing Administrators in Long Term Care (NADONA/LTC) at Disney World.

It was held at the Disney Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, FL, a place where staff — all Disney staff — are trained to say, “Have a magical day!” at every encounter.

It was kind of nice to be told that your day can be magical! (Except for one friend of mine who was having a “Murphy's Law day” — luggage didn't arrive, rental car broke down, had to change his room twice, etc. He said that if one more person told him to have “a magical day” he was going to kick them in the shins!)

In Disney, all employees treat you very nicely. Customer service with a smile, doing whatever can be done to make your stay special.  Why? They want you to be a “word-of-mouth” advertisement for them and to be a repeat customer.

While I am not sure we can create magical days for everyone in our facilities (though I have seen downright miracles for some short-term rehab patients) I do think we can adopt some of the Disney customer experience culture to create magical moments. 

As an AHCA Silver Examiner, I have seen countless examples of that in applications. We're talking people who really listen to and act upon the voice of the customer. 

I think this is something we all can do. I know we can't please everyone. We've all had those “problem” residents and families where you could get out your fairy wand and grant every wish and they would still complain!

But we can create magical moments. Some people are more easily pleased than others. Take my dad, for example: Having a bowel movement every other day is a magical moment for him. Keep him regular by giving him the right meals and softeners and he would be giving you his own 5-star rating. 

It really is the small things: a kind word, a gentle touch, a smile, even just taking the time to listen to someone who can create these magical moments in our setting. I know we can do it.

And doing that will create a sense of satisfaction for you, the caregiver … and give you a magical day!

Just keeping it real,

Nurse Jackie

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The Real Nurse Jackie

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, a 2012 APEX Award of Excellence winner for Blog Writing. Vance is a real life long-term care nurse. A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, she also is an accomplished stand-up comedienne. The opinions supplied here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer or her professional affiliates.

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