If senior living leaders could wear an honest T-shirt, what would it say?

By Pat Moran

I made a quick run to Safeway this afternoon. As I was standing in the “15-items-or-less” line I noticed a young woman standing in front of me wearing a black tee-shirt with a big red heart. The message was: “I love my job”

I Am a Cynic

I tend to be a cynic about such sentiments. I have seen flight attendants wearing “I hate my job” buttons and I have seen really mean, ugly people with happy, happy sentiments. I leaned forward and asked her, “What do you do that you love your job so much?”

I expected her to say something like . . . “I don’t really like my job” or “I can’t believe I put this shirt on.” What I got was very different. As she turned around I saw that the front of her shirt said Oakwood Village Assisted Living and Memory Care.  

“Do you really love it?” I asked.  

“Oh,” she said, “I love every minute of it. I have learned so much and I love the people I work with.”

I was delighted. I told her that my husband (Steve Moran) and I both work in the long-term care industry and we love it, too. I told her that I started as a CNA almost 50 years ago and never looked back, traveling a path that included becoming a nurse, getting a degree in healthcare administration and a nursing home administrator license and that today I teach nurses and other senior living professionals how to use EHR software.

She responded telling me that she is preparing for a nursing career and never wants to work with any other populations than the elderly.

What Would Your Employees Want Their T-Shirt to Say?

I know that, today, workforce is one of the top issues facing the senior living sector. It manifests in three ways:

  • Turnover, which is a more sanitary way of saying employee satisfaction

  • Availability of capable and willing potential employees

  • The cost of labor

I got to wondering if most senior living employees would be glad to wear a “I heart my job” t-shirt or . . .  if they would want to wear a shirt that said something less flattering about the company they worked for.  

I then wondered if senior living leaders could wear an honest T-shirt, what would it say? I asked Steve about this and he decided to put up a little poll. He will publish the results in a week or two.