The expression “tried and true” refers to:

Something that has been tested, or that has been used in the past
something that worked well and which is trusted.

A No. 1 “Tried and True Tip” was taught and used in a quality assurance program in 12 facilities that participated in the Ohio CMP Nurse Leadership Training Program conducted by Tobin & Associates in 2019.

It was: Listen deeply and actively

We taught three points to go with this tip.

  • Point 1:  Physically stop what you are doing and look at the staff member:
  • Deep and active listening describe the most effective style of listening. When you physically stop and do a face-to-face with someone (pause for a moment), you demonstrate:
    1. The person speaking is important
    2. You are actively listening

This action results in productive work communications in long-term care facilities.  

  • Point 2:  Express face-to-face satisfaction in staff ideas:
  • Evaluate associates ideas/suggestions and apply them quickly to an active issue.  This will show:
  1. They are important
  2. You are listening and hear them 
  3. Your intentions are to incorporate them into the solution.

This action results in respect from staff members.

  • Point 3:  Offer staff praise for their ideas: 
  • Praise them even when their ideas do not work out.  You want staff to continue to offer solutions even though every idea is not used.  Remember to tell them that “One idea feeds another until the right idea works!”  

    We are all struggling with recruiting and retaining staff. That’s why we remind you that:
  1. Praise and encouragement are key factors in staff retention.  
  2. Offer a complimentary lunch, or $15 gas card (rewards do not have to be expensive). Make the gift affordable so you can continue to give it out.
  3. Publish credit in public. Put it on a bulletin board so residents and family members can see who is offering ideas.
  4. Tell staff as often as you can that they are appreciated for their hard work.

This action results in staff members knowing their hard work and ideas do matter.  Recognition of employee contributions is a powerful tool for retention. 

  The question is whether this works. That’s why we’re pleased to tell you the results of a quality improvement program designed around the “tried and true” No. 1 tip. They were:

  1. A nurse assistant advisory board. This eventually led to a proposal being formed by this board to present to corporate for an overall increase in base pay for nursing assistants (with ramifications for calls-offs)
  2. A mentor program for new nursing assistants (limited to two months). This reduced turnover by 17%.
  3. A new way to have short staff meetings throughout the month instead of one long meeting once a month.
  4. An acuity study that was decided upon by the facility and designed by staff. It looked at how to staff appropriately with the allotted staff on each unit.
  5. Incorporating nursing assistants in resident behavioral management meetings with families. 

The application and concentration of the ‘tried and true tip’ accomplished a “can do attitude” in staff members. It created a better environment for all involved in their individual long term care facilities.  What a ‘win-win’ for all!

Peg Tobin, RN, is the president and owner at Tobin & Associates.