Do you show appreciation to those who are inspirers and role models at the nursing home?

This article is written from a Swedish perspective, but can hopefully serve as inspiration for those interested from other countries.

At almost all workplaces, there are employees who are inspirers and role models for others. At the elderly care home, these people make a big difference to the quality of care. By creating an environment where employees are uplifted and inspire each other, the elderly care home can promote a culture of continuous learning, collaboration, and development that benefits both the staff and the residents. This leads to increased job satisfaction, motivation, and quality in care and nursing work.

Foto: Mostphotos

What is an inspirer

Sometimes I receive comments suggesting that reality should look different. One might think so, but many people live in nursing homes now and we have to see what we can do for them in the present.

I think I see many fantastic care personnel who create activity in everyday life and can be an inspiration to others. Different accommodations have different conditions, but everyone can do something. Focusing on the idea that reality should look different can easily become an excuse for not making the most of the present.

Everyone has a basic personality (and we can assume different roles in different contexts) a personality shows who you are and it permeates your actions. A metaphor for separate personality types can be a palette of colors symbolizing our personality traits. In care and nursing, all colors are represented. Some people may find it easier to be empathetic, sympathetic and caring, other personality types have to learn this, it does not happen automatically. There are tools available to help individuals socialize in the "right way" so as not to be excluded from the social context, such as getting support for communication to avoid conflicts or being rejected by other people.

Others can be cheerful, positive, confident, and spontaneous. Certain personality traits spread laughter and security in groups. It is a bonus for the work groups that have a person with a positive attitude and a great commitment, who thinks it is important to have fun and is not afraid to "jump in" where an extra hand is needed. That person usually creates good "chemistry" in the group. Our personality can develop over the years and certain characteristics improve with experience and surely with a certain degree of wisdom. Perhaps an introverted person can become more open and outgoing in certain social contexts over time.

Lifting up a person who inspires others is primarily a leadership issue, but we all have a responsibility to praise each other in everyday life. A manager has a mandate and hopefully knowledge about "building teams" It is important for a manager to see the benefit of each employee's strength and potential, to have the ability to capture this and provide the right support. The result is most likely a positive team spirit and thus a better working environment that creates ripples on the water where good examples can support everyday work.

People who are inspirers often spread joy at workplaces while being a role model for how the job can be done better and more enjoyable. Sometimes the climate at a workplace can be inhibiting for those who could or would be a role model. Let your colleagues' creativity bloom and the job will be much more enjoyable.

The term inspirer can easily become a bit grandiose. It should be a speaker at a conference or something. The best inspirers are those who are in our everyday life. Those who make us find the energy and joy of work when it feels heavy and difficult. Those who make us see other often more positive perspectives. They are a light that shines in everyday life that can otherwise be heavy and stressful.

Creating space for inspiration

We all have a responsibility to lead ourselves. Small actions in everyday life can make a big difference in the culture on a floor in a nursing home. A smile, a pat on the shoulder, offering yourself through song or pleasant conversations easily spread joy to other people.

Clear communication and openness: Promote a culture of openness and clear communication where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas, opinions and experiences. This creates an atmosphere of trust and cooperation where everyone can contribute and learn from each other. Daring to try new ways of doing things and especially letting everyone use their strengths is a good way to help employees develop.
Encourage learning and development: Offer continuous training, further education and opportunities for personal and professional development for employees. This can include workshops, courses, seminars and mentorship that promote knowledge sharing and skills development.
Create forums for knowledge sharing: Regular activities where employees can share their experiences and lessons with each other. This promotes knowledge sharing and increases awareness of different work methods and strategies.
Celebrate successes and achievements: Recognize and reward employees for their achievements, efforts and commitment. This can be done by appointing the employee of the month or simply by giving personal recognitions and praise for their work. Giving praise publicly but criticism in private can be a rule to stick to.
Strengthen the team spirit: Create a positive and supportive work environment where employees feel like part of a team and are encouraged to collaborate and support each other. This can include joint activities, group challenges and team building exercises that promote collaboration and community.
Develop leadership at all levels: Encourage leadership and initiative at all levels within the organization. Give employees the opportunity to take responsibility, make decisions, and lead projects or initiatives that interest them. This gives them a sense of ownership and commitment to their work.

Sometimes the person who is an inspirer is appointed coordinator, activity representative or quality representative. Sometimes this is a successful move but it can also be what stifles the ability to be naturally inspiring. Being burdened by administrative requirements can sometimes strangle creativity and joy of work. Give your inspirers support. Show that you see that they are working in a good way, give praise and learn from them. In this way, we create ripples on the water where good examples support everyday work.

Reflection questions - inspirer
Care personnel:
- Do those who do that little extra receive praise and appreciation?
- Do you have someone who creates a good atmosphere in the unit?
- Are you or could you become an inspirer for your colleagues?

Manager, nurse, occupational therapist and physiotherapist:
- How do you work to lift your inspirers?
- What ways do you have to show appreciation to your inspirers?
- Do you have any strategy for lifting inspirers as part of your quality development work?

Resident and relatives:
- Is there any of the nursing assistants in your unit who is an inspirer and role model?
- Have you shown that you appreciate it?

Erland Olsson
Specialist nurse
Better care every day

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