Burnout is common among health care employees. Never-ending demands to improve productivity, being short-staffed, and a growing emphasis on the 'business side' side of medicine can make workers feel frustrated. The increasing focus on the financial aspects of medicine can be disheartening for health care workers, many of whom chose to work in the medical field for altruistic reasons. Yet, even with the demands of the job, there are some workers who manage to maintain the patient-centered focus of care and form connections with patients every day.
The housekeeping staff have it especially rough. Housekeeping is an often thankless job...one many take for granted. They get complaints from patients and staff when things aren't perfect but aren't often praised for the ongoing excellent work they do.
In spite of the many demands of the health care housekeeping job, there are a group of housekeepers in a skilled nursing facility in a small town who are making a huge difference in the lives of local people.
Recently, I observed these housekeepers pause from cleaning as they approached a terminally ill patient in the hallway. They had been told this patient loved music, and they smiled at her and began to sing. "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine..." they sang, and a large grin flooded across the patient's face. She beamed and her eyes danced with joy, and then she joined them, belting out, "Please don't take my sunshine away!"
They completely made the dying woman's day.
I immediately told the social worker how awesome it was. What amazed me most? The social worker said "They do that all the time." She explained to me that if the housekeepers find out a resident is having a bad day, or a birthday, or for many other reasons, they will sing to the person.
Talk about making a difficult, demanding, thankless job into an awesome mission.
If you are frustrated in your life, and feel like you can't make a difference from where you are, or you don't have the money, or the time, or the connections, or the career, or (fill in the blank)...think again. You can make a huge impact on people's lives right where you are.
When you choose to get out of your head, and stop focusing on what you lack in your life, and start focusing on making someone's day, every day, not only will you feel better, but those around you will feel better, and it can cause a big ripple effect on many people.
No matter how busy you are, and how hectic your schedule is, taking a brief time out from your daily routine to connect with someone and make them feel special can make a lasting impression on that person, and those who observe it.
You never know whose life you will change by taking a quick moment to be the sunshine in someone's day.
Photo credit: https://flickr.com/Hamed Saber/Tehran Sunset