The CEO of American Senior Communities, Donna Kelsey, has made workplace diversity a point of focus in hiring the nurses who spend time with our residents. It is for this reason that our nurses provide the best care to our residents in line with our values of compassion, accountability, and relationships; nurses who understand the background and culture of residents are more likely to engage with them appropriately.
It is the desire to establish a strong sense of understanding between residents and staff that moved Kelsey to make diversity a point of emphasis. “Diversity in our organization is intentional,” said Kelsey. “If we’re all the same, we’ll never reach out into our communities.” She recently appeared on Experience Care’s LTC Heroes podcast and discussed some of the methods she has employed to enhance diversity in the American Senior Communities workplace.
Kelsey knows that increasing diversity requires a commitment of both finances and time. For that reason, she and her team explored every avenue to make working at ASC more appealing to people from different backgrounds. Their efforts have produced:
Career Advancement Opportunities: When nurses feel supported by their organization and know that they have career advancement opportunities, they are more likely to be satisfied at their jobs. And when staff members are happy, so are residents.
Giving nurses from minority backgrounds an opportunity to advance their careers is a great way to encourage them to apply for jobs in long-term care. It was with that thinking in mind that American Senior Communities created the Opportunities to Nursing Excellence (O2NE) Program, a unique nursing scholarship program that provides ASC employees with the opportunity to advance their level of professional education, from CNA to LPN or LPN to RN.
Community Outreach Programs: Kelsey notes how she was able to add more diversity to the workforce by simply asking around. “Somebody knows somebody, or a person reached out, and they’re the daughter or son of someone,” she said. Kelsey also emphasized the importance of being purposeful and sincerely dedicated in conducting outreach programs. “It’s about being intentional, and not just with women, but also with minorities in the communities that you know are representative and have minorities,” she said.
Social Media: American Senior Communities has cultivated a strong presence on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram, sharing videos of the team and their stories and directly engaging with community members.
These endeavors to increase diversity have produced great results on account of the leadership of Kelsey and her team at ASC, who have stood tall in their support for and commitment to creating a workplace environment that best represents the community. Kelsey’s thinking behind these efforts is that: she has a platform and is obligated to use it to give the voiceless a voice. “It really comes down to leadership making it important to bring awareness,” she said of ASC’s diversity programs.
By Elijah Oling Wanga, Experience.care