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Stress reduction tips for the busy senior care manager

Posted Feb 10 2009 11:28am
If you’re like me, days when your time is short – but your task list is still long – are days that add to your stress.

I’m sure you don’t get snappy and irritable, like I do. I imagine that you balance your personal stress much better – or maybe not.

The things that stresses me the worst are those that are out of my control; something that stress experts find is pretty universal. We tend to feel more and more stress the less control we have over events. The best solution to these stressors is to find a way to gain control over them, or at least more control than you currently have.

Let’s consider training (I bet that surprises you)! You have a minimum required number of training hours that you need to ensure that your employees complete each year. Some training must be completed before the person can work independently; other training, like first aid, is simply one of those things that you need to get checked off as quickly as possible after hire.

Stressor #1: Requirements. You have no control over them – you can’t modify them for this person or that. They are always there, hanging over your head.

Stressor #2: Your employees. Sign them up for a first aid class. Bring in a trainer. Take precious time out of your busy week to present an inservice. And definitely make attendance mandatory. Your employees, over whom you have only a perception of control, will not all show up. Some may be sick; others won’t be able to find childcare; still others will simply say, “Oh, I forgot.”

Stressor #3: Surveyors from licensing and internal QA monitors. Yet another element you can’t control. They’ll ask you for detailed records of your training compliance, and they won’t give you a lot of time to hunt for those records. You’re either compliant – and can quickly demonstrate that – or you’re not…and you’d better think about career decisions.

You can gain control over these stressors. They don’t need to add to your stress by being things that, in your mind, you have absolutely no control over.

Here’s how:

Stressor #1: OK, you’re not going to get rid of regulations, or change them to suit your situation. But you can look at regulations, especially in the area of training, as your outline for planning the entire year’s worth of training opportunities. You can schedule them, topic by topic, onto a calendar and get a sense of mastery over the requirements.

Stressor #2: Keep holding monthly meetings, but change them from mandatory inservices to team-building, informational sessions. Bring a cake and celebrate the monthly birthday; read thank-you notes from clients or families, share what you’ve seen that month that makes you proud of your team. Then assign your team their required training topics to be completed online at a time that works for them during the month. Just make sure that they all know what topic is assigned, and when it is due. Recognize those that completed their training at your monthly team-building meetings, or those that went beyond the minimum and learned even more. But take the compliance monkey off your back, as it were, and give that responsibility to your employees. Your job, as a leader, is to assign, ensure completion and then look for ways to give personal feedback and guidance.

Stressor #3: This is an easy one if you’ve chosen an online training system with easy-to-use reports. Here’s what one of our clients emailed us the other day, “It was our first survey in 4 years and I was very nervous. The surveyor asked to see training records for specific employees. With just a couple of clicks I could show her exactly what she wanted. Whew! We sailed through survey; I consider the cost of this online training program worth every cent.”

The stresses in this line of work are many. Smart choices and good use of your resources can help you gain control and reduce at least a few areas of stress!
www.EasyCEU.com: CEUs for senior care professionals · www.aQuireTraining.com: Staff training for caregivers · www.Apply2Care.com: Caregiver job applications right to your inbox
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