I am extremely excited that Winter is almost behind us! I love skiing, but besides that, Winter is not my thing! Hopefully we have an early Spring: fingers crossed! :)
We are past gastro season, but be careful, as there is a virulent fever going around. Please make a habit of washing your hands as often as possible, especially upon entering the building. Please wear a mask if you have a cough or a sore throat. Visitors are invited to stay home if they are sick.
I met with the LPNs in February to make sure everyone is on the same page for scheduling. I think most people understood that scheduling realities are not as simple as they may appear. Management and Human Resources have realized that, even though we try hard to create stable schedules, special requests are out of our control. Joyce and I implemented strategies to improve stability, but many employees request that she make changes. Please know that when one person asks for a change, this modification might affect five other people's schedules.
Please also understand that we are properly staffed. One of our biggest issues is work attendance. Joyce deals with daily call-ins (sometimes more than five per day) and sick leaves. The results of this high absenteeism are decreased stability, poor replacements, unit changes to prevent forced overtime, and more. There is no magic recipe when absenteeism is this high.
Consequently, we continuously hire new people to cover leaves, which now represent ten percent of our employees. For a team of our size, ten percent is a huge number! We need to decrease this statistic. Schedules have been stabilized for both LPNs and night shift caregivers. I think those two roles presented some of the biggest challenges. We hear you.
From now on, as discussed, clinical requests for days off or schedule modifications will be sent to me prior to being authorized. Schedule changes will no longer be authorized by the Human Resources Department, as the picture was not complete and schedule stability was compromised. Joyce and I have been working together very closely for the last two weeks, and I already see a huge difference.
Sandra, our new Supervisor who you probably met by now, is off for three weeks. Rebecca Stevens will be back in April. Upon Sandra's return, as I explained to most of you, we will be sufficiently staffed to have our third Head Nurse. I know the workload has been a huge struggle for most of you due to Norton 2 being shared by Sarah and Cathy. This arrangement is hard on most people, including the Head Nurses. This situation is not easy to manage, and Sarah and Cathy are of course unable to support you as much sa they wish.
Knock on wood, we also have the Float Caregiver on both evening and night shift. The feasability of this shift relies on work attendance. We will need your collaboration to create the evening float's task sheet. Each unit should indicate their "rush hours" and together we will draft a routine for this shift. The current shift that needs to be filled is the Clinical Aid. You know that many challenges will be a lot easier with the implementation of this shift, as they will put away laundry, help clean wheelchairs, accompany residents to activities, and more. Carolyn has interviews scheduled and as soon as the staff employees who obtain the positions are replaced, we will move forward. Please keep referring your relatives and friends if you know anyone looking for a job, as we need to fill these posts!
I totally believe we have a very good organizational plan, and these arrangements are beginning to come to fruition! Please keep bringing your ideas to the table, a lot of great improvements come from front-line employees!
Thank you so much for your hard work and compassion. Please see me with any questions you might have.
Director of Health Services