A Golden Rule Atmosphere

Lesson 1: Topic 14 of 19

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There are excellent reasons to infuse the atmosphere of your facility with the Golden Rule as a core value. Here are three:

  • Residents and Patients. Whether they are receiving long term care or the duration of their stay is short, such as in a respite or rehabilitation situation, the facility is their current home, so make it homelike. 

  • Staff. Those who know that they are valued have greater confidence in facility leadership, and greater performance.

  • You. Your morale will be higher and your stress levels lower when everyone is pleased with the quality care given and received. 
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A caveat, though: as with any ideal, there are complicating factors that prevent us from applying it quickly or easily. One paper published by the National Institutes of Health puts it this way:

Rules of thumb, such as the Golden Rule, allow a person to reduce a complex situation to something manageable – e.g., ‘when in doubt, do what I would want done’. Because it is a simplifying tool, however, the Golden Rule may lead to inappropriate actions because important factors may be overlooked. ― Kirsten Corazzini et al.


Taking the Golden Rule seriously and applying it at work encourages us towards excellence and inspires us to see what we do as a calling, rather than just a job. Corazzini and her NIH team have seen wonderful things: the CNA who loves every elderly woman in her care and treats them as if they were her own grandmother; the HR Director who discovered some employees were suffering from domestic abuse, and arranged to get them into women’s shelters and safe houses. These NIH researchers have taken a cautiously optimistic view of the validity of the Golden Rule as a helpful tool when caring for patients or interacting with coworkers.