Who Would Have Thought?

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Joan Devine
Pioneer Network Director of Education

Who would have thought that Zoom would take over our lives? (Diane Hall, Harris Ader, and Joan Devine on a call planning the Facilitated Networking Discussion, A Conversation Around and About the Dining Table)

If you had told me a year ago that we would be doing and seeing some of the things that have now become an everyday part of our lives in this world dominated by COVID-19, I would have perhaps thought you were a tad crazy.

But fast forward a year, and it is incredible the way all of our worlds, both personally and professionally, have been turned upside down.

For those of us who share the passion for pioneering a new culture of care and support for elders, and who are all about relationships, who would have thought that distancing from residents and each other, and wearing masks and other PPE that hide our faces and make us all appear the same, would be common place?

Or what about families. Can you have even imagined a world where families were not permitted within the doors of long-term care and assisted living communities?

And what about new processes that have been put in place, and the things we have had to learn in all of this? Screening stations at the front entrance to communities, window visits, hallway bingo, Zoom meetings, video chats between residents and family members as a way of life. Oh my — who would have thought!

Personally, if you had told me I would not be able to visit my grandchildren, I would have said, never going to happen! But it has. If you would have told me that I would be in the process of learning the ropes on how to convert a live conference into a virtual gathering, I would have said “not me”! But here I am, and let me tell you, it is definitely an adventure, and nothing they taught me in nursing school!

I remind myself daily that our training in culture change has taught us that change is a constant, but wow, I’m not sure any of us expected to see the kind of change we are experiencing these days! Pioneer Network values remind us that culture change is a journey, not a destination. Always a work in progress. But really, who would have anticipated the journey we are on now?

Last year at Pioneer Network’s Pioneering a New Culture of Aging Conference, Keynote speaker David Sheard spoke about the need for resilience. As we listened intently to his message, I don’t think any of us realized just what a timely message it was.

As we continue to work to keep alive our passion to change the culture of care and support, we may feel that our inner resilience has been beaten down up by rules, regulations and the need to focus on basic safety at the expense of relationships. But I would challenge you to not let yourself get down. Don’t lose your fire and your passion. Maybe it means we need to take some time getting outside of the space we find ourselves confined to during this pandemic, and step out (figuratively speaking) to find opportunities for learning and networking.

You say you don’t have time, but perhaps it is more a question that you don’t have time NOT to take the time. Refresh so you have more to give. Reach out to gather new ideas, and find new inspiration.

Though we can’t gather in person, we can be creative as we find ways to gather and grow together, to share stories, and learn lessons from each other. We can find ways to stoke the fires that light our passion, helping us take what we are learning from this pandemic and use it to challenge ourselves and others to make a difference in the lives of those we serve.

Who would have thought that a Virtual Gathering would be the path to networking and coming together? That participating in learning with fellow pioneers could look so different? But remember, we’re Pioneers, and that means we aren’t afraid to venture out on a new journey! You never know what you’ll learn, and who you will meet along the way to help refuel your fire. Who would have thought?!

One comment on “Who Would Have Thought?

  1. Joanne Rader on

    We need this gathering more than ever. Those who have attended previous conferences know how energizing and affirming they can be. Hope to see you “there”.
    Joanne Rader, RN
    “The bathing without a battle lady”

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