Whether nurses and other staff are 20 or 40, they appreciate recognition and perks that make them feel cared for and appreciated. Here are programs and events that facilities with happy staff and low turnover have implemented:
  • Employee recognition committees that plan and hold events such as luncheons, awards, and games. “We celebrate everything,” says Anne Marie Barnett of Maryland NADONA/LTC. “Our employees love food, so we have lots of breakfasts and luncheons. When I make rounds, I always have a pocketful of candy, and I keep a full dish of candy at my desk.”
  • Diversity celebrations. “We have employees from all over the world, and we celebrate that and become a family. We have celebration days for different countries, and the staff from those places prepare and serve the meal, dress in native attire, play native music, teach dances, and so on,” says Maxine Roby of Rowan Community in Denver.
  • Complimentary beauty and health services. Roby says, “We have a barber and beauty shop with a full-time cosmetologist. Haircuts, pedicures, and manicures are free for employees and residents. When staff feel good about themselves, that carries over into how they feel about their work.”
Rowan also has a part-time staff massage therapist, and staff can get free massages. She tells the story of an employee who had an accident on the way to work. Instead of going home to rest, she came to the facility and got a massage. Then she went back to work.
  • Initiatives that support employee causes. When an earthquake hit Haiti a few years ago, many facility staff had friends and family there. As a result, many communities committed energy and even money to help.
For example, Rowan helped its state senator pass a bill that enabled unused medications from nursing homes and other settings to be used in aid programs.
  • Story-telling programs that enable staff and residents to share stories from their lives as a way to get to know each other. Rowan staff spent three days together telling their stories to each other and putting on plays about each other’s lives. At Brookdale, a storytelling program encourages staff and residents to share stories from their lives.