First I want to start by saying that there is probably nothing I am going to say to you now that you don’t already know. I just feel that in this present day and age, we may need to update our survival skills in the workplace and specifically during the inspection process.
We all hate being inspected and often without warning. I break out in sweat as I have flashbacks to my mother coming into my 9 year old bedroom, tossing items from my closet onto my floor and declaring “what a mess I had made!” I’m sorry, but WHAT??? The mess was quietly content and confined to the closet until you opened it. What was her definition of clean if not tightly tucked away? Anyway “Surprise” inspections or surveys are never fun for any of us.
Much of what we thought we had under control gets exposed and, although it may be as minor as a slap on the wrist, it nonetheless hurts us. We take our jobs seriously, take pride in what we do and often drain our cups daily for the joy of the residents. Deep down, we are hard workers who care and give, trying to be perfect, but never quite achieving it.
So when your faced with the announcement or surprise knock on your door, I have a few tried and recently true best practices to help you survive the week:
- Prep your family. As soon as you can, give them the heads up of what a “survey week” will look for you. What I mean by that is, prepare them ahead of time for an “out of the blue” schedule change. Let them know you will be exhausted when you get home, which will probably be later than usual and ALL you will want to do is eat pizza and crash. If they know what this type of “week” looks and feels like, they won’t be surprised when they get your text. They will know that it’s a freezer pizza and “leave Mom/ Dad” alone-type of week.
- While we are on the subject of schedules, that grocery shopping that you had planned for Tuesday night is out of the question. There is NO WAY you are going to want to run into the nearest grocery store and wander the aisles. If you haven’t experienced this gem in our “new normal” I encourage you to give it a try… curbside pickup. I have found this convenience to be totally worth the $1.99 when I don’t even have to get out of my car and a kind stranger will deliver my bags of eggs and cereal to my trunk! During survey week, this could be a life save and perhaps even a game changer for you. Consider it…
- As for food, please let go of the latest diet fad you have been pushing through since your new years resolution of 2021 and give yourself a break. You will be pressured into stress eating or pressuring others to do it. It is ok to indulge on the twinkie or twix bar. I myself keep an extra bag of peanut m&m’s in a drawer for exactly this reason. You are under stress and deserve the momentary (and yes it is only a moment before you have inhaled the whole thing) indulgence of chocolate. Cut yourself some slack, your probably clocking twice as many steps during this week and able to sweat it off…
- Speaking of sweat, forget the make-up. Just let that idea go, at least a little. Thanks to covid-19 precautionary face masks (and all the Rage, I must add) I have already completely dropped lip care and lipstick from my daily regime, maybe it’s time to let go of the maskara thing too… just for the week. I don’t know about you but the face masks, face shields, goggles and occasional gown and gloves that are necessary courtesy of 2020, make me look like Alice Cooper by noon. Let’s be real, our adrenaline is going to be running a little higher than normal, no matter how perfect you are. When we look like a 70’s rock band, it is time to reconsider the morning routine. Again this is just for the dreaded week of inspection.
- Wear gym shoes, or whatever you call them depending on where you are from. There is nothing more defeating than coming home tired, spent and with the achy feet to remind you of why you are eating cardboard frozen pizza at 10 pm. Yes, it was a rough day, don’t make it any rougher by wearing uncomfortable shoes. Once home, you do not need any more reminders (like throbbing feet) of how exhausting the inspection process can be. Take care of your feet and they will take care of you.
- Find a netflix movie that you can watch. Even though it is “All hands on deck” time, everyone needs at least 15 minutes to recharge before you get back out there. I find that a movie on netflix, broken into 15-20 minute segments (while I swallow my sandwich like a python) is a great way to ensure that you get a break and take your mind off things when you DO take the break. It doesn’t have to be long, but it must exist. Think of it like creating your own docu-drama, horror, romance or crime mini- series all your own. You will look forward to it which will make you TAKE the break and you will finish a movie in about a week’s time. Take the time to shut your brain down and find something that makes you do it.
So in conclusion, you will survive. You will be tired and worn down… but you will make it through… and it will be because you are the hard worker that you believe yourself to be. If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t be concerned with the outcome. And that is why you are in this field. Because you care!
-Cathy Braxton, Improv4Caregivers