Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC

We all have heard the expression about getting more flies with honey than vinegar. Personally, I have absolutely zero desire to attract these annoying insects anywhere near me; bleh! But I get it. 

I know in my blogs I have mentioned that we get beat down by CMS all the time with the “Beatings will continue until the morale improves” mentality. We don’t like it, it wears us down, and frankly, it doesn’t change behavior.

So, think about when you’re doing something like audits in your building. You’re basically going around looking for something wrong. And you let everyone know when you find it, which of course you will. Insulin pens not dated, maybe expired meds, oxygen tubing not labeled, whatever. And the thing is, while there may be some improvement, you do keep finding “stuff” on every audit. 

So, what if we turned this on its head? What if, on our audits, we reward what we catch right? Like maybe round with a bag of treats and pass these goodies out when the med-cart is in great shape, or the O2 tubing is labeled, or the resident’s foley bag is covered, etc. Maybe even pass out raffle tickets with a chance for weekly or monthly gift cards. 

And yes, you still have to let someone know what to correct, but the emphasis is on what is right. Now watch behavior change. 

Instead of “punishing” bad behavior, positive reinforcement encourages good behavior, which is less damaging to anyone’s psyche. But make it honestly. Not like, “Remember in 2018 when you tidied that resident’s room really well, good job!” Or, “I like how you are not stepping on my last nerve!”

Anyway, give it a try. You can even give yourself a pat on the back!

Just keeping it real,

Nurse Jackie

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, Senior Director of Clinical Innovation and Education for Mission Health Communities, LLC and an 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. 

The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.