No Rhyme or Reason

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

Did you know that September 1 was “No Rhyme or Reason Day”? Apparently, there is a day to celebrate words that don't rhyme and things that don't make sense. Who knew?

(I happen to like National Coffee Day — September 28 — but I think my readers know that already! And it makes a LOT of sense as a celebration, doesn't it?)

But anyway, this got me thinking about, well, things that go on in our facilities because people don't think. Things that occur for “no rhyme or reason.”  I mean, c'mon. Aren't you sometimes just tempted to walk around with “What were you thinking?!” stickers and just slap them on people? But the truth of it is, it's not really their fault. Let me explain.

I've often wondered why people do what they do and don't do what they are supposed to. Research shows that people don't do what they are supposed to for three reasons. Lack of: Accountability, Skills/Knowledge and Resources. See, not their fault. It's ours as nurse leaders.

Do we hold our staff accountable for their actions? Not only that, but have we taught them a culture of accountability? Do we show by example that all of us are accountable for care of the residents and resident safety? Do we walk by that open container of sanitizing wipes or do we pick it up, close the lid and put it where it belongs? Yeah, we didn't leave it there but we can all be accountable for doing what is right.

What about skills and knowledge? Do we give our staff enough time in orientation? Do we offer skills labs? Have we created a culture of trust and safety where our staff can come to us and let us know where they may be weak and need more learning; or have we created a culture of fear where staff are ridiculed or berated if they haven't mastered a skill and need help?

What about resources? Sure I know we aren't Daddy Warbucks and don't have piles of excess cash laying around (actually, that's Scrooge McDuck isn't it?)  but we can't expect our staff to get tasks done if they don't have the resources to do it.

For example, have we demanded that every resident be up, washed, dressed and beds made by 10 a.m., but only supplied our staff with enough clean linens and towels for one-third of the residents? Or do we expect one nurse to pass meds for 80 residents and then get angry because they are out of the two-hour window?

So while there is a “no Rhyme or Reason” day [It's also been called “No Ryhme (nor Reason) Day”], we do know that most of the things that we don't want to happen, happen for a reason.

Let's make this a season for reason. (I knew I could tie in the “rhyme” part if I just tried hard enough!)

Just keeping it 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. She has not starred in her own national television series — yet. The opinions supplied here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer or her professional affiliates.

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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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