In the past three weeks, I have been involved in some great “meeting of the mind” sessions. One was the AHCA/NCAL Quality Awards Silver Team Leader meeting. Prior to and following that one, I attended director of nursing onboarding meetings for two of our company’s regions. All of these meetings and the information sharing that took place were outstanding.

Now, I often ask why anyone would want to know what’s in my head. Like seriously, sometimes I think my brain has been hijacked by the late Andy Rooney.

My mind is full of stuff like, “Why does a round pizza come in a square box? Why are you IN a movie, but you’re ON TV? If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a stupid song about him? 

Why after living in Tampa for six years and you visit Maryland and it’s 60 degrees, do you need to put on a jacket? And, seriously, just how did all those dead bugs get stuck in my enclosed light fixture?”

And then there is my nightly insomnia ramble in my head. Like, just before I fall asleep, I remember an argument I had with my sister way in my past, but only now I have the perfect comeback to everything. (Take that, Sis!) 

And then my brain starts singing the theme song to “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” but only the first two lines because that’s all I know. Yet my 2½-year-old granddaughter knows every line, and no matter how hard I try to make it go away, my brain is like, “Nope, this song is brought to you by your mind-DJ and this is what we will be playing ALL night long!” 

See? We can’t have my mind by itself. This is proof. But with a bunch of amazing people in this profession, it works differently. 

The team leader meeting was phenomenal. Sharing best practices, sharing ideas to improve the process and timelines. Sharing by the trainers on 2024 process changes and improvements. It was an intense two days, but we all came away with incredible knowledge that will make us better at the award process.

Participating in the DON onboardings was just extraordinary. You had all of these DONs, none of them new to being a DON but maybe new to our processes. And they were learning evidence-based, systematic processes that are harmonious across facilities and counties to make the daily life of a DON just a bit easier to manage. And no one was shy about sharing some of their best practices which could be adopted. 

It really is astonishing when you have so many clever people in a room, where they are shown it is a safe place to share any idea, that they get comfortable with each other and share their wealth of knowledge. I highly recommend brainstorming and sharing of minds, no matter how large or small a group. 

And I guarantee no one will be singing the first two lines of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” for two solid hours!

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.

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