You Want Me To Do WHAT??!
More adventures in assisted living nursing from the author of the Fired After 50 seriesOne of the many unexpected delights of my new job as DNS in an assisted living community is the mutual respect and admiration that has developed between my executive director, Mike, and me.
I've never had the pleasure of working with someone as compatible as this man. He may call himself the "benevolent dictator" of our facility, but he is the only administrator I've ever trusted---literally---with my nursing license. Maybe that's because he was an EMT for twenty years and is married to a nurse; maybe because he's just one hell of a great guy who---as he puts it---"doesn't believe in treating people like (insert a popular four-letter 'brown' word here)". He's got mad skills and has probably forgotten more about emergency response than I'll ever learn in a lifetime. Plus, he likes football, enjoys nothing more than a juicy medical mystery, talks my language, and has a raucous, earthy sense of humor that meshes well with my own. And then, there's this: Mike's confidence in my abilities is boundless, which is inspiring......but also a little scary at times.
Otherwise, we think so much alike it's almost freakish. We're "big-picture" people whose vision for our facility is both ambitious and even somewhat daring; in fact, we're planning to make ours the first ALF in the area to devote rooms to hospice patients, because we have the same philosophies about allowing residents to age in place instead of forcing them to move out when they're nearing the end of life and need more care than the typical ALF provides. Now we're going to offer short-term stays to hospice patients who have been in the hospital and need a few days or weeks of care before going back home, those whose families need a respite from caring for them, and others who are at the very end of their days and need only comfort measures. It goes without saying that we're really excited about this, along with most of the other upcoming developments in our building.
However, when Mike stopped by my office last week to let me know he was planning a series of informational seminars for the public on senior care options, it didn't occur to me that he was also planning to make me a part of it. THAT announcement came yesterday morning, as a casual "oh-by-the-way-you-get-to-give-one-of-the-talks" sort of thing.
"You want me to do WHAT??" I gasped, incredulous. Now, as you may know I'm not particularly given to shyness; I'm a lector at church and I read from the Scriptures in front of six or seven hundred people every fourth Sunday. But those are not my words, and they were written by people much wiser than I; writing, developing, and then giving a formal speech to a large group of strangers in a public forum is something else entirely.
Mike was grinning from ear to ear. "You can do a 30-minute talk on health concerns and how we address them here, then open up the floor for some Q and A," he continued, obviously enjoying my reaction as the realization dawned that he wasn't giving me a choice in the matter. "You know, you can talk about how to recognize when it's time to get Mom or Dad into assisted living, how we coordinate health services and so on. It won't happen till this summer, so you've got plenty of time to prepare.......hey, it's better than two weeks' notice, wouldn't you say?"
I sat there in my office chair, still thunderstruck. What on earth gave Mike the impression that I could pull this off? I wondered. I was a nurse, not an educator. And then I made the mistake of asking, half-kiddingly: "So......what makes you think I can do public speaking?"
He threw back his head and laughed so loudly that heads turned all over the building. Then he fixed a steely gaze on me and said, "I can NOT believe you just said that..........Have you totally forgotten who hired you in the first place?" but the stern-boss act was ruined by the series of snickers that erupted into more guffaws the instant the words were out of his mouth. "You oughta know better than anyone around here that you can't BS a BS'er!!"
Does the dude have my number, or what? He doesn't let me get away with ANYTHING less than total frankness, and for a nurse used to working under people who dissemble politely---and sometimes not so politely---this is utterly refreshing. No BS, no excuses, no reason to fear taking my career to the next level because I've finally found a place in the world where the only limits are those I place on myself.
Life is good indeed......even if I do have to take a really huge step out of my comfort zone from time to time!
About VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN
VivaLasViejas has '17' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'LTC, assisted living, geriatrics, psych'. From 'The Great Northwest'; 55 Years Old; Joined Sep '02; Posts: 25,271; Likes: 36,806.2Jan 6, '11 by jgamomThis was an incredibly refreshing article to read. It's nice to read something positive for a change. I do suffer from a fear of public speaking so I would be terrified of your assignment. I'm sure, though, with the important content of your discussion and your obvious passion for the subject matter, you will do a great job. Good luck!3Jan 6, '11 by txredheadnurseHere is a big attagirl for you. You will do fine, probably discover you actually enjoy the interaction of public speaking and add another skill to your professional set. Plus it is totally awesome when you have a boss who truly sees you and appreciates you. That sort of reception can be difficult to find for straight shooters/plain talkers like ourselves.4Jan 7, '11 by tralalaRNBoy oh boy - if THIS isn't the best example ever of "when one door closes, another opens". . yeah for you. Don't know you, but while reading this, I was smiling. So happy your career has just turned so very well for you. Kudos.3Jan 8, '11 by GHGoonetteI'm eagerly waiting to hear how the "public address" went....
How wonderful to work for a boss who not only knows what he's doing, but actually has a great sense of humor to go with it! Sounds like he has great business skills as well....
Many of our "retirement villages" have frail care units attached. Is this what you envision for your facility?