Guest Columns

#Unboxme in 2018

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Tara Roberts
Tara Roberts
I know you think you have unwrapped all of the presents under your company's Christmas tree — but wait.  I know of a present that you haven't “unboxed” yet and it's the gift that keeps on giving year after year. 

I recently had the pleasure of speaking to a therapy provider's regional support team and executives on the challenges that the Requirements of Participation brings to their long-term care customers. The theme of the presentation? Resources, resources and more resources.  

With the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services estimating nationwide on-going annual costs for RoP implementation at $736 million resting on the shoulders of SNF/LTC operators, the growing resource needs of LTC is a budget buster.

So how do you do it? With operation margins dwindling by the day, growing your bench strength has to become an internal process. 

During my recent presentation to the therapy provider, I asked people to raise their hands if they are licensed professionals. Nearly 100% raised their hand. Then I asked how many of them provided direct patient care daily. No one raised their hand.  

Then I asked who “unboxed” them? Who saw more than a licensed PT, OT or ST? Who saw potential in them for managers, for clinical educators, for compliance officers, for competency and quality assurance directors?

Someone “unboxed” them and released their full potential. No longer were they in their PT, OT or ST box doing just PT, OT and ST tasks. 

This was a two-way process. They had to agree to be “unboxed”. It's OK to want to stay in your box. But for operators who see the potential in their staff beyond the credentials behind their name and those clinicians who want more than the credentials behind their name-#Unboxme is for them!

I think back to my own “unboxing”. I love being a physical therapist. It's what set me on my journey to a career in long-term care but I was lucky enough to pair with a company and mentors that were interested in my whole self. They wanted to look at ALL MY CAPABILITIES and ALL MY INTERESTS. 

This blog is case in point about how I've been able to move forward into new endeavors. All my talents are being tapped into making my company better, stronger and more efficient. I am fulfilled and extremely satisfied in my job. 

I'm now in a position to return the “unboxing” favor.

It is the basis of my management strategy: To unbox ALL the talents of my team to reap the benefits for our company's performance and create job satisfaction for my team so high that they will want to stick around for a long time. 

Now, “unboxing” someone may also lead to a path for them beyond your team or even your company. That's going to happen and is OK! In fact, those are sometimes the most rewarding moments in a mentor's career.

How do you get started with “unboxing” your talent and unwrapping your resources STILL under your company's Christmas tree? At Nexion Health we utilize a strategy called P.U.R.P.O.S.E. Driven Mentoring. I'm a product of this philosophy. I utilize this strategy to develop my own team. 

P.U.R.P.O.S.E Driven Mentoring is a vision created by my own mentor and boss and COO of our company Meera Riner packaged into the acronym. It allows us the bench strength to stay viable in long-term care.

Here's your homework. Evaluate your team members. Look for those who need to be “unboxed”. Then stay tuned for my next blog that will introduce you to P.U.R.P.O.S.E. Driven Mentoring.

Meanwhile, maybe find a fun work personality quiz or set up a Survey Monkey to see what your staffs' interests and hidden talents are. For fun, I've listed a few questions to consider…

RoP Resource Fun Quiz (emphasis on FUN)

  1. Do you binge watch crime scene investigation shows?  You should be a grievance officer or abuse coordinator.
  2. How do feel about germs? Three second or five second rule?  Future Infection Prevention and Control Officer
  3. Is completing a puzzle one of your favorite past times? QAPI Implementation Leader
  4. Is your super power teaching and your disguise are scrubs?  Competency and Staff Education Coordinator

Happy “unboxing” in 2018!

Tara Roberts, PT, is the corporate director of rehabilitation and wound care services at Nexion Health Management, Inc.


Guest Columns

Guest columns are written by long-term care industry experts, ranging from academics and thought leaders to administrators and CEOs.