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EP 145 SCI Netcast: Kristin Johnson with Wentworth Senior Living

EP 145 SCI Netcast: Kristin Johnson with Wentworth Senior Living
Kristin Johnson with Wentworth Senior Living
Kristin Johnson with Wentworth Senior Living

Find Wentworth Senior Living Here: https://wentworthseniorliving.org/

Kristin joined Wentworth Senior Living in 2001 first as a Resident Assistant. A few years later she briefly relocated to Pennsylvania but returned to WSL in 2010, and has since held positions as an LNA, Health Resources Coordinator, and Senior Operations Manager. Most recently as Director of Resident Services, she manages facilities, housekeeping, transportation, dining services, and operations in addition to the WSL Safety Program.

She was inspired by her mother and grandmother who were both nurses. Kristin is always ready to help others and does so with a smile on her face. She is a great asset to the WSL team. 

Full Transcript

Valerie VanBooven:

This is Valerie VanBooven with The Senior Care Industry NetCast, where leaders with three or more years of experience in the senior care market share their advice. So let’s get to it and in a few sentences, tell us who you are and what you do.

Kristin Johnson:

Hello there. My name is Kristen Johnson. I’m the Director of Support Services at Wentworth Senior Living in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I am the Director of Support Services, as I just said. And I am responsible for our operational oversight, training and development incentives and I also oversee our facilities and operations.

Valerie VanBooven:

You have a big job. That’s a lot.

Kristin Johnson:

It is a lot.

Valerie VanBooven:

All right. Well, tell us from your perspective and your years of experience, what is the best thing about serving aging adults?

Kristin Johnson:

I think when they get to this point of their life, there’s some struggles in being at home and they’re caring for themselves and their homes and we get to alleviate that a little bit and just let them enjoy their life. We take those stressors away or at least minimize them and just really allow them to focus on the things that bring them joy every day.

Valerie VanBooven:

Yep. That’s awesome. I mean, and I think I’ve told other folks in senior living and senior housing that we’ve interviewed, I’ve told them in my past experience when someone finally has been at their new community in their new home for say three weeks or so, it takes about a month maybe, they most often say, I wish I’d done this 10 years ago. I wish I’d done this 20 years ago.

Kristin Johnson:

Yeah. There’s always that huge sense of relief, that you just kind of see that weight lift and they’re enjoying things again.

Valerie VanBooven:

Yeah. You know they’re going to be okay and this is a great place.

Kristin Johnson:

Yeah.

Valerie VanBooven:

All right. Well, I would imagine that in your career and in your lifetime, there have been other professionals or organizations out there that you just think do a fabulous job. Who would you like to talk about?

Kristin Johnson:

Well, we’re currently partnering with an agency called LNA Health Careers. We’re doing some recruiting efforts there. They’re really great. That New Hampshire public television. And we’ve got a lot of support providers that come in that we work with locally that are wonderful. They do great work for our residents. And being an age in place facility, they really help them stay where they are and age where they are longer. So.

Valerie VanBooven:

Great. Awesome. I know you want to talk about recruiting and staffing a little bit. So why don’t you tell us what it is that, your experience, with all of us, because I know it’s a challenge and it’s been a challenge for many years, but since COVID, it’s been a really big challenge.

Kristin Johnson:

Yeah. I mean, COVID definitely, we all had those struggles and I don’t think where we are right now, any of us really saw this coming through that, and this is equally difficult, making sure that we have the staffing needed to care for our residents. We have a wonderful team here and they really step up to the plate every single day to make sure that those residents needs are met, but it’s a challenge every day. There’s just … The people that were there before just aren’t there anymore. And so we’re really having to get creative about where we’re sourcing and recruiting and making sure that we bring the employees in that bring their best foot forward and care for our residents the way we need to.

Valerie VanBooven:

Sure. And I would imagine for a long time, I think the tables have definitely turned a little bit where people needed employment. Now, at least the perception is that employers need the people. I mean, we needed the people, but what I’m saying is it was so much easier to find good people who really wanted to spend their time and their life’s work with seniors and the elderly, whether it’s home care, assisted living, senior housing. And now that seems like it’s hard to find them. I’m sure you’ve come up with some very creative ways to recruit.

Valerie VanBooven:

And also, I would say from my perspective, just talking to so many people every day about this, that marketing is almost more about the employees than it is getting new residents. I mean, it’s almost, you know what I mean, deeply important on both sides, but the recruiting issues have become a marketing challenge. I mean, figuring out a good way. It’s a sales job. Trying to get new people in and find creative ways to make that happen and to keep people and to keep employees that are happy and feel fulfilled in their work and are paid enough to be able to support their families. So it’s a challenge all the way around, for sure.

Kristin Johnson:

It is. We’re fortunate. We have a great community here and I think we have a lot to offer someone just starting out. I mean, I think we’re seeing a lot of that now too, is new people coming into this field and we have a wonderful community to teach and help them build their foundation for a career in healthcare going forward. So it’s challenging, but it’s also a little exciting to know that this is maybe the beginning of someone’s career.

Valerie VanBooven:

Yes. And for any of us who’ve worked in healthcare, I’m a nurse by trade. I didn’t start out as a nurse. I started out as a home health aide or well, I started out in the hospital as a CNA. So we all have to start somewhere and getting that experience and then climbing that career ladder is an exciting time. And if you do well in healthcare, you will always have a job in healthcare.

Kristin Johnson:

Absolutely.

Valerie VanBooven:

From the very beginning of your career, all the way to the end, there will never be a shortage of need for good aides, good nurses, good people in the dietary section, good people everywhere in that building and all of the facilities around. So it’s a great career. I tell my kids that all the time. My girls are 14 and I tell them I know computers are fun and exciting and yes, computer technology is another place where you’ll always have a job, but if you go into healthcare, you will always have a job that you want and that you like. Anywhere in the world pretty much.

Kristin Johnson:

Yeah, absolutely. And I think we’re seeing that there’s just more opportunities and probably ways that we wouldn’t have really considered two years ago. So.

Valerie VanBooven:

Exactly. So let’s talk about online marketing a little bit. Everybody has a website pretty much. I can’t imagine a healthcare company that does not. So marketing has become a bit challenging, especially … It’s funny because for a home care agency, they’re trying to come into your community and for you, you’re having to say, Ugh. For a long time, and maybe it’s not so much that way now, but for a long time, people couldn’t come in. So it was hard to network. It was hard to be able to see each other and talk to each other and learn about each other because nobody got together. So what has been your experience and how have things changed? Is it better now? Are you able to go to networking events in New Hampshire?

Kristin Johnson:

We haven’t quite stepped out there yet, but like I said, we have really great relationships with the organizations that we work with. And word of mouth has always been a really great source for us. We’ve been in the community for a really long time. So our name is one that is known. And so having people talk about us definitely helps. We’ve really stepped up in terms of our online marketing. I think just technology, we’ve seen that really explode over the last little while. So we’re taking advantage of that as well. We have a fantastic marketing team. They hit the ground running every day and we’re looking at that.

Valerie VanBooven:

Excellent. Yep. Branding of your own business is so important. And once you’ve been around for a long time, that’s good to have people say good things about you and know that you’re trusted. So that’s awesome. What piece of advice would you give to other senior care providers?

Kristin Johnson:

I think right now, I think about that a lot actually. And I think self care, we’ve been working so hard for such an extended period of time and you’re just boots to the ground and just self care, encouraging that for our teams, for ourselves. They say that as a parent, you can’t take care of the people that matter to you. You have to take care of yourself first. And it’s just really that self care and taking little moments every day to find. No matter how small, just little moments of joy and things that can bring a smile to your face or that to someone else.

Valerie VanBooven:

Yep. Absolutely. Self care is … We are all caregivers by nature and sometimes by trade. And so caring for ourselves is kind of lost in the fray sometimes. So yeah, you’re right. Caring for yourself.

Valerie VanBooven:

When you have a win in life or in business, how do you like to celebrate? And that could be as a team there at work, personally, birthdays, weddings, all those kinds of fun celebrations of life. How do you like to celebrate?

Kristin Johnson:

Yeah, we celebrate as a team and a family. We really are like a family here. We’re talking a lot about COVID, but I think it’s really unified and solidified our team here. And so we are like a family and we like to celebrate those wins together and laugh together. And same personally.

Valerie VanBooven:

Yeah, absolutely. A good meal, a good, or some celebrating birthdays. I mean, I’m always up for a piece of cake or a good dinner. Something like that.

Kristin Johnson:

Yes. Yep. We like to break bread together when we can. And yep. There’s always something about having a meal together.

Valerie VanBooven:

Yeah. It is. It’s brings people definitely together over food and drink and just having a lovely evening of conversation, whether it’s work related or not is always fun.

Valerie VanBooven:

So I want to thank you for sharing your community with us. We will make sure that everyone who sees this video will also see your website address and your contact information in case they have questions. And I know that the staffing issues have been a challenge, but it’s good to hear when a professional tells me we are finding creative ways to work together. We are finding creative ways of outreach with other organizations that might be able to bring in more help to our community. And it’s good to hear that you have a very loyal longstanding staff there that can take care of all of your amazing residents. So that’s great.

Kristin Johnson:

Great. Well, thank you for having me.

Valerie VanBooven:

Thank you so much.

 

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN

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