An Open Letter to my Director of Nursing

I’ve worked with my fair share of Directors of Nursing. Each DON has their own unique style – some focus on clinical processes and paperwork and avoid patient care. Other DONs prefer to be with the residents and staff all the time, leaving reports and QA for other managers. Some prefer to let the Administrator set policy, and others prefer to do it all themselves. Many DONs have been in long term care longer than I’ve been alive – for others this is their first try at managing a nursing home. A lot of DONs are experts in certain areas but green in others. I’ve worked with some great nurses, but I’ve also seen a lot of extremes.

You are a wonderful blend of talents. You get super involved without going it alone. You’ve gone out and experienced a wide array of nursing jobs and bring great insight to the team. You’re well spoken, know how to use the computer, and you have great repoir with residents and employees. You’re direct and concise, yet thorough and considerate. You have immense clinical knowledge and use it as a tool rather than a weapon. You have fun with the team, but know when to get serious. You lead by example in terms of work ethic, personal conduct, professionalism, and integrity. You understand not just the job of the DON but also the job of the Administrator. You do whatever it takes to get the job done, but stand back and let people do their own work. You live up to your mistakes and learn from them.

It has taken time for me to adjust to your style, because you have higher expectations of me than any Director of Nursing ever has. It’s great to have a partner rather than an employee, and I couldn’t do it without you. Rather, we couldn’t do it without you. Your contributions of time, talent, and effort have improved our standards, improved our quality of care, and improved our employee morale. You’ve made your nurses better clinicians, your managers better leaders, and our team a more cohesive unit. I know I speak for everyone here, residents and staff alike, when I say, “Thanks for everything you do.”

They say that the best advice you can give any manager is, “Hire people better than you.”

I’ve done just that. 


Adam Gill said...

Well written....Your words have touched my heart!!!!!!

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Dave said...

I love your insight into nursing homes. My 78 yr old father has been in and out 5 different nursing homes in the last 3 years and finally has stayed with this one almost 2 years (Florala Health & Rehab in Florala, AL). It is further away than most of them BUT the Director of Nursing has her own father in the nursing home and you can tell she makes sure everyone is treated as if they were family too.

Love the insight your blog gives into the world of nursing homes.

On a business note - I have a medical supply retailer that is possibly interested in supporting your blog. They can offer regular guest posts on current events that relate to your website's content or support you financially in exchange for a simple text link or small graphic. JRS Medical would even be interested in you possibly writing a guest post for you with a link to us in it. Could you send pricing options to us?

My client, JRS Medical, is not just a retailer, they are also involved in reaching out to those less fortunate... from the victims of Haiti's earthquake to those in need through the Samaritan's Purse program & more.

I look forward to hearing back from you and working together, if not on this site, the other blogs you are a part of.

David Patterson
Social Media Coordinator - JRS Medical & DME Supply Group
dpatterson at elbrusconsulting dot com

Ms M said...

What a fantastic blog! I am a social worker in a nursing home in Canada, working on completing my Administrator training program. I really admire your style and commentary on life in nursing homes. Your letter to the DON made me laugh and smile, and your comments on "tube-feeders" are insightful and so true. I so often hear our nurses call residents "feeders", we even have "feeder tables" and it just makes me cringe every time. A reflection on the language we use is so needed.
Thanks for putting yourself out there and capturing the honesty of the day to day in an interesting to read way :)

K Radwill said...

Excellent letter. I have worked in LTC facilities for years. long term care billing has always cut down time that I have wasted on tedious tasks. I recommend it personally to anyone who works in these areas.

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Mary Reed said...

I live in a nursing home since 1/09.
I stumbled across your blog & feel the workers (all, DON's aides, administrators & everyone who works w/residents here could learn from your blog. I was in a motorcycle accident which left my speech disabled as well as paralyzed, so I write emails. Mary Reed

Mark Vincent Weiss said...

Thanks for the share, I totally agree on your thoughts here.. Same in independent retirement living, you have nice point of view.

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