Job satisfaction is one of those elusive quests; everybody wants it but few find it.
Achieving job satisfaction is important not only to the employee but also to the residents because it leads to the maintenance and continuity of care in the facility.
One of the most puzzling problems in the aged care industry is staff turnover. Unhappy staff tend to have a negative attitude towards their job which sadly impacts significantly on the lives of those they care for.
There are a lot of components in the difficulties of organisations to retain staff which I will leave to others more qualified to ponder. Nevertheless I will express my opinion based on my experience about the implications job dissatisfaction has for Recreation Therapists and their staff.
There are various reasons that make staff unhappy about their job; lack of communication, lack of support, unresolved conflicts and discrimination, to name a few.
However when talking to my colleagues there are a couple of factors that come up over and over again:
Lack of professional support
There is a suggestion that job satisfaction is closely related with management support and I fully agree with that. I personally find it very comforting and reassuring when management and co-workers treat me with respect and consideration - although this should of course be a given. I have worked in many a facility where it was not the case. Senior staff can be rather dismissive and patronizing to recreation staff. Once I had a senior staff member drastically change my ‘Flow Chart’ while I was on holidays. I felt extremely unhappy that matters relating to my job were decided without my consultation. The person in question changed the names of the forms and setup new reference numbers on the computer. To make matters worse no one had the courtesy to tell me when I came back. It took me a couple of weeks to realise what had happened. Fortunately the manager was very sympathetic and helpful.
I don’t think I am alone when I say I do take my work home. The often entrenched routines in the workplace are not conducive to the development and implementation of activities to suit individuals. Working hours very rarely cater for the preparation needed to do tasks such as: planning, organizing, adapting activities to suit the clients, shopping to buy the materials, sorting out, classifying, arranging, categorizing and documenting. It is certainly a labour of love! The fact that the Government agencies are completely indifferent to the plight of recreation/leisure staff is very disheartening.
I don't want to seem negative, but if you are feeling somewhat lonely you can be certain that you have plenty of company. On the other hand, we are all passionate about our chosen profession and we will keeping on working to change it for the better. There is a lot of lobbying that still needs to be done in Australia to improve conditions and wages for recreation thrapists. I would beinterested to hear how are the condition in other parts of the world.
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