Residents of the DeKalb County Nursing Home in Dekalb," Illinios are contributing greatly to the "process of interviewing and evaluating prospective employees. Their participation in this process grew out of concern expressed during the Residents Council meetings regarding the quality of nurse assistants; Residents said. they would like to be included in the selection of new employees and be nvolved in their orientation to the facility.
Several residents volunteered to be guides and after a briefing on the qualities the personnel and inservice. departments look for and some inforamtiona on interviewing skills drey were ready lor action.
Now a prospective employee fills out an application form and is interviewed by the personnel director. Their they are taken on a tour of the facility by one of ourt resident guides. During the tour although, the process is quite, informal the resident guide is able to assess the individual applicant. They use therir natural ablility to snese a caring person. They observe the prospective employee's reaction to residents who are disabled, deformed, or disoriented. The guide is quite aware of nonverbal cues that communicate repuganacne or acceptance, concern of disinterest. Also included are some well-planned questions and commnets that aid in the resident s assessment. On completion of a tour our resident guides can predict with fairly "good accuracy how a prospective employee Jteel s about aging and chronic illness.
As important as the resiedt guide's assessmet is as a helpful adjuct to hte persnnel director's interview and reference cheek, there have been many other benefits. The positive, feeling residents have about having a part in the selection of those who will care for them cannot be discounted.
"The comments made by new employees expressing their pleasure in being taken on a tour by a resident and being given thisopportunity to meet residents prior to their employment have been" rewarding.
I am convinced that this program is effective in "breaking down barriers'1 and in changing some preconceived notions people have about nursing homes and the residents who live there. Example: I thought they just sat around all day not knowing or caring what 'was .going on,"- "I. was surprised to- find residents could be so interesting; and friendly."
Long-term care has suffered from media reports of nursing1; home problems and abuses. We who are "involved in -meeting" the challenges of long-term care would like to share our excitment at the opportunity for creativity that exists in this field. We feel this program, 'giving residents a part in the selection, has been efficient and effective and we are delighted to share it with you.