Each and every day, skilled nursing centers around the country assist our beloved family and friends who are seniors or who live with with disabilities, enabling them to live happier, more comfortable lives. Whether it’s reading or listening to music, interacting with families, listening or just helping them feel better, these centers pay it forward by helping to improve individuals’ quality of life and, in the process, experience more fulfilling lives.
Currently, there are more than 15,500 skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) in the United States, serving more than 1.35 million residents, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Registered nursing staff work well over 40 hours a week on average tending to their patients, depending on the demands of their job, the facility’s staff size and the patients’ needs, which all greatly influence the number of hours a nurse works during any given week or month.
Nursing is a demanding job that can mentally, physically and emotionally drain anyone, and so it’s important for nurses to take time to care for themselves so that they won’t get burnt out devoting long hours to caring for patients.
This week, the American Health Care Association observes National Skilled Nursing Care week, with a focus on “living soulfully.” SNFs around the country are celebrating their residents and staff by showcasing how they achieve happy minds and healthy souls.
“I love getting to know the residents and to get to be a little bright spot in their days.”
~Timber – LakePoint ElDorado
With so much of their time dedicated to bringing quality of life to their patients, we wanted to know what the registered nurses at SNFs love most about their job. After surveying our current SNF clients, one of the most common responses was the residents. Not surprisingly, nurses love helping others, meeting different people, bringing a smile to someone’s face, and the ability to make a positive impact on a patient’s life, even for just a short time.
We received many responses that echoed this sentiment from Kathy, a staff member at Woodcrest at Blakeford: “Working with amazing team members and interacting with families and residents.” Timber at LakePoint El Dorado said: “I love getting to know the residents and to get to be a little bright spot in their days.”
In our survey, we also asked how nurses and staff brought quality of life to their patients. The answers reflected a general concern to make residents feel like the facility was home and, with that, ensuring that staff provided the comforts of home whenever possible. From lending a listening ear to residents to walking them through complicated healthcare and billing information, respondents said they really try to take time to interact and give to patients on a personal level while meeting their healthcare needs.
Sandi, Northern Nevada State Veterans Home, said she improves patients’ lives “by listening to them and delivering the quality of care I would want for my own loved ones.” Linda, who works at Altoona Health & Rehab, said she “listens to their wants and dreams, and tries to make them happen if possible.”
“Ensuring residents and patients have accurate information regarding healthcare can bring peace of mind, especially during an unplanned health event. Providing knowledge can bring others a sense of empowerment and calm,” Laura Moss at Blakeford told us.
Clearly, SNF nurses and staff work long hours to make sure their patients are well taken care of and loved. But what about their own happiness and quality of life? What do they do to live soulfully away from work, and how do nurses take care of themselves when they spend so much time caring for others?
Many survey respondents expressed what brought them comfort and happiness in their own lives. When we asked how nurses care for themselves, we received some common answers: exercise, church, growth mindset, praying, maintaining an attitude of gratitude, “me” time, spending time with family and friends, traveling, walks, healthy eating, hobbies and meditation.
“I like to travel, see new places, experience people from all walks of life. I am an ambassador to happiness. Spreading happiness multiplies your own 10-fold.”
~ Helen – Aldersly Garden Retirement
Some offered advice to their fellow nurses and SNF employees. For example, Rhonda from Las Collinas Post-Acute said, “You need to keep yourself well-balanced and healthy to be able to continually assist others. I love to read, take day trail hikes and go for massages to re-center myself.”
“I like to travel, see new places, experience people from all walks of life,” replied Helen of Aldersly Garden Retirement. “I am an ambassador to happiness. Spreading happiness multiplies your own 10-fold.”
Sonya from CCR Inc. offered good advice for all nurses and SNF staff: “It’s about helping others. Breathe. Take time to just breathe. Find something good in everyone and everything.”
Timber at LakePoint El Dorado shared her three tips for living well: “1. I spend time daily in prayer. 2. I look for the joy in each day rather than allow myself to focus on the negativity around me. 3. I bake goodies to share with my family and my neighbors (and sometimes my co-workers).”
Tina, who works at HCR Manorcare of Hinsdale, said taking care of yourself means “making sure that as you are filling others’ cups you also replenish your own cup. Being mindful of your thoughts, words and actions.”
We appreciate the vital work the professionals at SNFs do to ensure patients are comfortable, cared for and loved, each day of the week. Without their deep devotion to caring for people, patients’ quality of life would not be as high. The eSolutions’ team celebrates and honors nurses during National Skilled Nursing Care week and all year round. Thank you for all you do! We encourage all nurses and SNF staff to take time out for themselves and to remember to “live soulfully.”
What Does it Mean to ‘Live Soulfully’?
“Live Soulfully” is the theme of the American Health Care Association’s National Skilled Nursing Care week. But how do SNF nurses and staff define that? Here are some words and phrases the nurses we surveyed used to define “Living Soulfully”: