A friend of mine, who is a nurse leader and someone I admire, recently sent me an email. In it she wrote that her middle child had moved back home for a short period of time as she was waiting for housing to open up at school.

My friend started to notice that her kitchen spoons were disappearing. As this was a mystery to her and her husband, they asked their adult child, “Hey, do you know where our spoons are?” Apparently her answer was a shrug as she went out of the house. 

Fast forward a month later and her daughter was moving into housing at school. As she was leaving, she handed a bag to her mom, “Oh, by the way, here are your spoons.” My friend and her husband decided to let it go and just be grateful they got their spoons back.

Now you might wonder what this story has to do with healthcare and long-term care in general. The thing is, we sometimes don’t hold responsible adults accountable for doing the stuff they are supposed to do (like taking three minutes to look in your room when you know the spoons are there)! I mean, unless you are certain you have gremlins — I heard they can be quite tricky little monsters (you know they live in dryers and eat socks … ).

As nurse leaders/managers, I believe we have to be smarter in what we decide to let go and shrug off, as we might wind up having to do those things ourselves too often. My friend knew neither she nor her husband had the spoons and there was only one other person in the house: An adult child who should have been responsible (but she knew that her mom would eventually take care of it). How many times do we let staff get away with not completing assessments, like leaving a MAR or TAR so ‘holey’ (a play on “holy” — get it?!) that it could be biblical instead of holding staff accountable for completing their work?

Yeah, it will take some effort at first to ensure everyone is doing what they are supposed to do. But when you make sure everyone knows that you EXPECT them to complete their assignments, and that you will hold them accountable (yup, with consequences) it will get done (‘cause you have enough of your own stuff to concentrate on).

A smart woman once said, “What you inspect, they will respect!”

Just keeping it real,

Nurse Jackie

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, 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. 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.