Rachel ZimmermanTalking with Provider, Zimmerman and Jameson offered several tips and pieces of information they want their colleagues to know about the Quality Awards journey:
You don’t have to have all your quality ducks in a row before you start your quality journey. The award helps you implement the processes and develop a strategic plan.

You can’t do this by yourself. You need the whole team on board. They need to know why you are taking this journey and how it will benefit them and the residents. Announce and celebrate successes along the way.

Partnerships are important. While you may be hesitant to reach out to others, this journey is about collaboration. Connect with other facilities and organizations who are going or have gone through the Quality Award journey. Share solutions. At the same time, AHCA/NCAL has numerous resources, and staff are always eager to help. The association wants Quality Award applicants to succeed and move to the next level.

Don’t be afraid of failure and facing your flaws and weaknesses. As you go through the journey, you will see problems with processes and systems. Embrace them and see them as opportunities for improvement. Create a safe space for the team to talk about problems. Change the dialogue within your facility.

At the same time, don’t be discouraged if you don’t get an award the first time you apply for it. Focus on what you have learned to date that has improved quality and strategize about what you can do differently on your second try. 

Breanna JamesonJameson said that their facility couldn’t compete with organizations that raised wages significantly. However, she stressed that, thanks to the Quality Awards, they were able to compete for staff. “They are excited to see what quality means. While wages are important, we don’t pay enough attention to our team members who are passionate about quality. They want a company that fights for quality as well.”

Ultimately, Jameson suggested that you can’t go through the Quality Awards process without making gains. For instance, she said, “If you want an organization with consistent quality and outcomes without fighting battles every day, this is the pathway. It is impossible to go through this without finding ways to de-escalate the chaos and positively impact quality.” Zimmerman urged, “Just start. You aren’t perfect, but you can be stronger. Lean into the challenge and be comfortable wading into the unknown. The rewards will be innumerable.”​