Where Everybody Knows Your Name
Growing up, one of my beloved TV shows was called “Cheers”; a show about an ex Red Sox pitcher who owned a bar in Boston. One of my favorite characters was Norm whom when he walked into the bar each time without fail, would announce a loud “evening everybody” and the responses were always the same “Norm!” from everyone in the bar. Everyone knew Norm if not personally, they knew who he was and knew his name.
Having served the non-profit continuum of care for 14 plus years working at the state association in Pennsylvania, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit many a campus in my time there and one of my favorite things when visiting a campus was to take a tour. Sure, I loved seeing the grounds but the best part was watching the tour guide say hello to the residents we would pass; be it in the hall, in an activity or in the dining room. I loved seeing them say “hello Mrs. Wilson” and “have a great day Mr. Dobson” when we passed residents.
Since I am not a direct care worker, I figured I would not have much interaction with the residents when I joined the team here at The Campus of the Jewish Home. Would not have the chance to get to know them other than a name or two. But in my years here it has grown into so much more and I could not be more blessed.
I have met an ex-baseball player who played in the minors and almost was called to the “big leagues” as he called it. I met a woman who helped holocaust survivors relocate to the Harrisburg area. I have met veterans who served me and my country in ways I never could have imagined. I realized just how much I owe them in gratitude. And it all started with a name; their name.
It dawned on me what a difference I could make, if I just learned their name and said “hello Sam” instead of just “hello”. I realized how much they appreciated hearing their name and knowing that I knew who they were. They were not just another face to me, they were someone I knew and they knew me. I love the fact that at least once a day, a resident whom we care for asks ME about my kids and how they are doing.
I have witnessed a CNA make such a huge impact on the care of the resident just by using their name when she talks to them and is caring for them. How they light up when they come in for the start of their shift and they ask Mrs. Wilson how they are doing instead of “that resident”.
I have seen the difference when a volunteer asks “Mr. Rosini, is it okay if I take you to the birthday celebration” instead of just pushing them and not saying a word. Or how the residents light up when you are able to ask them about the time they worked as an accountant; or ask them to tell you about the time they rolled a “perfect game” on their first date.
It became obvious to me that no matter what position you hold on campus, we all can make a difference with something as simple as knowing the ones we care for by name. Just by knowing a name, the care levels can and will rise; something so simple can make such a difference and I am proud to say I work at a place “where everybody knows your name”.