Just Named Director Of Nursing For An Assisted Living Facility? Take These Steps

Coming into a new Director of Nursing (DON) position at an assisted living facility you don't know well is a little scary. Your eagerness to enhance the experience of residents there can be high, but you might be concerned about challenges you've not yet been presented with. These action steps can ensure smooth changes for you, the residents, and your staff.

Observe the Department

Because your greatest responsibility is to oversee the nurses and aides, staff members might wonder whether you'll come in and start changing things right away. It's wise to observe for a few weeks instead; first see what's working and then start to formulate suggestions, ideas, and adjustments that may be sorely needed. Get a feel for the personalities that you're dealing with and spend your first few weeks getting to know people by name.

Examine Compensation Structures

As the DON in a facility, it's good to make yourself aware of the payment structures in place for your department, for many reasons. You likely know that good nurses and aides must be compensated fairly in order to keep them happy. You're also responsible for yearly reviews and raises, so you need to know what increases are fair.

Knowing what the pay is and ensuring that it's fair is also essential for you because you will be in charge of hiring per-diem and part-time staffers to step in when people are sick or take vacation days. These part-timers are out in the open market and know very well what the going rate for staff members is. If your facility isn't paying enough, it's harder to attracted those needed people.

Healthcare compensation valuation professionals are critical for working out these issues. You may ask your executive director if they are already in touch with such experts so that you can discuss your department with a professional. They can look over the current compensation structure within the nursing department and make recommendations that guide your own actions regarding payment and raises. 

Ask for Recommendations

You might be ready to apply new rules or talk with your staff about what changes you're planning. Before this step, though, you might ask aides and nurses whether they have their own ideas and suggestions. Asking will show a willingness to listen, and this also empowers staffers who might not feel they were ever heard by superiors.

Your tenure as a nursing director can begin well when you're thinking about these tasks. Consult your executive director and industry professionals for more ideas