Nancy Weinbeck
Nancy Weinbeck

Workforce woes. Staffing crisis. Abundance of jobs, no one to fill them. Signs everywhere saying, “Now Hiring.” Theories abound on where all the workers have gone, but the reality is that every industry is facing staffing shortages, and we are seeing it here at Bayview, as well.

The growing aging population is increasing the demand for those who can provide care and support, yet the demographic trends for upcoming generations leave a big gap.

So, what is the elephant in the room? Our health care competitors. Why would anyone choose to work in a senior living community, especially a life plan community that includes a nursing home (our health center) when hospitals frequently offer better wages and more “cache.”

Ageism hits our industry hard, even though it is an “ism” that we will all face, assuming we are lucky enough to make it to our older years.

So why work in a continuing care community when there are plentiful opportunities elsewhere? Here’s why: When you join a community like Bayview, you are more than just staff. You have joined your second (or maybe your first) family. The wisdom, grace, love and connection from residents that shower our team members add purpose and meaning to one’s life.

Happiness research points to what we already know in our hearts: Being of service to others brings health benefits (check volunteer research), emotional benefits and the deep satisfaction of knowing that you make a difference in someone’s life.

I am reminded of the starfish anecdote — a person spied a child walking along a beach where a storm had left vast numbers of starfish on the shore. They watched the child bend down, pick up a starfish and throw it back in the ocean. When asked why, the child explained that when the sun comes out, the starfish will dry out and die. The person said to the child that there are thousands of starfish on the shore; you won’t really be able to make a difference. The child picks up a starfish, tosses it back into the ocean and says they just made a difference to that one.

A living wage is important. A living wage with purpose and meaning is exponentially more important. Making a difference, one life at a time, is beyond a dollar value or a status value. I’ll shout it from the rooftops. It’s why we’re here.

So back to the elephant in the room. Why work in our field? We have 200 staff that will share their starfish stories and tell you why.

By the way, in case you were thinking our residents are the starfish, think again — we are ALL starfish. We are blessed to have our staff and look forward to welcoming new team members to the Bayview family.

Interested in joining our family? Visit us at bayviewseattle.org/careers.

 

— Nancy Weinbeck is the CEO of Bayview in Queen Anne.