I was recently interviewing a team member at a CCRC campus, and I asked for her thoughts on what she felt the organization does well. Her answer was tea. Wait… what? Turns out they had a new client moving in, and when the admission interview was done, a few things were learned, one being that the woman was English and that she had a customary love of tea. Upon returning to the facility, this information, along with all the medical needs, was shared with the nursing team. Move in day came, and as the woman was settling in the nurse came in to see her and introduce herself. Normal stuff, but instead of a clipboard or a blood pressure cuff, this nurse was carrying a shiny silver tray with a fancy tea set full of piping hot water. I’m not sure what words were spoken in greeting, but I don’t think she had to say anything. Her actions spoke louder than words, and those actions offered the warmest welcome possible.
A cup of tea. Now mind you this cup was served in style and with forethought; imagine the difference in the story above had it been a Styrofoam cup with a tea bag soaking in it. How powerful though, that this affinity for tea was something that the nurse grabbed onto and followed up on. Sometimes in our rushed worked day we complicate things too much – we get tied up in our tasks and our documentation and…and…and. Stepping back and taking the time to honor another person like this nurse did is the real heart of the matter. The old saying is really true – It is the little things that matter the most. What opportunities are there in your normal day to seek out and then follow up on making someone’s day in some simple way? What do you do in your organization to encourage and recognize staff who routinely act in ways that make life better for those around them? Challenge yourselves to take some time to work on building stronger relationships with those around you – staff and resident alike. Use tools like Action Pact’s Daily Pleasures interviews to discover the little things that would put a smile on someone’s face – and then follow through on it. Be bold and visible, be anonymous if that is what you prefer, but work to create a climate where random acts of kindness become the norm rather than the exception. And remember – it can be as simple, and important as a cup of tea.