Embracing living with Rebecca Priest: What Track is Playing?

Rebecca Priest

Rebecca Priest

I bought my husband a record player for Christmas. It’s awesome. A pretty little piece that serves as functional art in my home invoking feelings of nostalgia and connectivity to the music it enables. We really love the experience of vinyl because, like our relationship, the thing about a record is that you can’t just “set it and forget it” and get the experience you were anticipating. We select for our mood, our activities, and our needs in the moment.

In a relationship, like in listening to a record, you could set it and forget it…but the inevitable “KKKKKKhhhhhhh” at the end of “side A” will come faster than you ever thought possible. Then, as a listener, you have some choices. You can turn it off, replay it, flip it to “side B,” or put on a new record.

You have to stay present, listen, and react.

Why would you replay side A?

To hear it differently, to appreciate it differently, to learn the lyrics, or to experience the way it makes you feel again

Why flip to side B?

To hear more of the artist or see what else the music has to offer

Why turn it off?

To reflect, gain some clarity, or because you didn’t like side A all that much; or because you can’t stand the “KKKKhhh” and you’re not sure what you want next.

Why change the album?

You need something different in your music experience.

Why not leave it be?

It will ruin the player, ruin the record, and the sound is intolerable for extended periods of time. You might let it stay for a while, but only so others learn how to change the experience.

I find this reminds me a great deal of our journey as an organization. Many people in my 10 years at St. John’s have shared with me that “flavor of the month initiatives” are worth “waiting out.” A pattern of “starting and stopping and starting again” is so common, we like to use it as evidence that leadership is scattered, efforts failed, etc. I think it could be evidence that we keep waiting for someone else to change the record.

This week is certified Eden Associate training. Through my personal Eden Education, neighborhood education, and commitment to dedicated working teams with the same people and same elders, I’ve changed “tracks” and “albums” to provide the core neighborhood staff members with interpersonal tools, resources, and guides to ensure they make a decision that puts on the best “track” for the group. We’ve been playing records together for 10 years in an effort to create real homes. Remember, you, too, can flip the record. You can opt to replay it, turn it off, or change it. Your team, including your elders, can and should make the decisions about what to do next with the “record,” which is their life at St. John’s.

And, just like in my house, you’ll likely need to make a decision on “what’s next” in no time because “Side A” is shorter than you think, “Side B” is even shorter, and “what’s next” depends on what you need at the time.

At St. John’s we can’t let white noise impact the lives of elders. As a team, please listen for it, and make the changes needed for your neighborhood to play beautiful music. In our ever-shifting world of health care with varied elders, staff, and expectations, “setting and forgetting” cannot prevail.

Connect with St. John’s. Follow me on Twitter! @rkpriest

Rebecca Priest
Administrator of Skilled Nursing

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