What inspires our June Aide of the Month, Ginger Rushing, to keep doing her best? “The smiles,” she says. “It’s all about the smiles.”
Ginger was influenced early in life by loved ones in need of care. Growing up with a brother with epilepsy, she often assisted in her mother’s effort to help him return to normal in the difficult days after a seizure. When two beloved aunts, Aunt Cookie and Aunt Susie, both got uterine cancer, Ginger became their cheerleader—lifting their spirits and helping these strong women stay motivated.
These early experiences of compassion led Ginger to start her career as a certified nursing assistant, working at a nursing home. The work, however, was far from what she had hoped for. With several residents to care for and a tight schedule to keep, there wasn’t time to get to know them. “You take care of them physically,” she explains, “but you can’t mentally.”
Soon, she transitioned to one-on-one home care work, where she noticed a major difference. The clients she worked with in their homes had support and a motivation that her nursing home clients did not have. “They try,” she explains. “They try so much harder. They want to go back to their life, to the way things were before they needed extra help, so they fight harder, they try harder, you know? And the harder they try, the more you want to help them, the more you want to do for them. You want to see them smile and say to them, ‘Wow, you did a really great job today!’ And that’s what it’s all about. If you can get the families to smile, and if you can get the client to smile, it’s what we call 'Million Dollar Smiles.' It just makes your day.”
To keep her clients smiling, Ginger does what she did for her aunts—she becomes their biggest cheerleader. “Some people I dance with. Some people we’ll go outside or we’ll go for a ride. I do whatever it takes to get a Million Dollar Smile.”
At CCOR, Ginger has a team of fellow caregivers who feel the way she does. She has also found a compassionate support staff who are always there to answer questions or listen to her concerns. “You’re never alone in this job,” she says. “Everyone is willing to work together and that’s what counts.”
For Ginger, the Million Dollar Smile is worth any amount of effort. It’s what lights her up and keeps her doing her best. “It’s all about the smiles. No matter what. Whether it’s the smiles from the family, whether it’s the smiles from the client, it’s just about that one brief smile. That’s what it’s all about.”