New DON cleaning house - page 2

by trimm

3,577 Views | 22 Comments

I would like to hear stories of people who saw a home get cleaned out of staff because a new DON came in. It happened to me. Great eval's then when she came on I couldn't do anything right in her eyes. I have seen at least 20... Read More


  1. 2
    Wow, I think I struck a nerve here.

    I hope I wasn't "dead weed" I worked my ass off for that place and what did I get for it? The new DON had a history as a job hopper, worked at every facility in town at least once. We never hit it off from day one and she was nasty. She threatened people's jobs for the littlest crap and fired another RN just for disagreeing with her in her office.

    I remember back when I first started, a new owner took over and about 5 managers got fired in the same week. I have never seen this in any other kind of business. Recently one of the LTC centers in town shut down and our census went through the roof and I got no additional help. I asked for help and the DON made me out to be a complainer. I should have seen the writing on the wall. I had some unsubstantiated allegations thrown at me, I wasn't allowed to fight them because they were on my termination paper. Even after explaining what happened she still showed me the door.

    I guess the advice I would give is when a new DON comes in, start looking for a new job and don't complain.

    Keep the stories going, now I don't feel so bad.


    I am now considering going back to school and getting out of nursing all together.
    Last edit by trimm on Nov 9, '09
    skittlebear and Not_A_Hat_Person like this.
  2. 0
    On another note. I didn't mention that I am male and after going through this saw a therapist. My therapist who is also male told me that the problem might be that I was working with women and that women treat others differently than men do. I thought he was being very politically incorrect in his statement, but I knew he meant what he said. He also told me a similar episode happened to his wife and she left nursing over it.

    Is there any truth in this? As he put it, "it's because you worked with a bunch of women." I'm not trying to anger anyone, but if this is true or untrue, tell me your stories.
  3. 0
    Yep. I saw the same where I worked. A new DON was hired, she brought her own management team with her, even had positions "made up" when she couldn't put her buddies where she wanted them. Fired old staff... some good moves, some not so good.
    Changed things around to suit her and her friends... made changes weekly....
    She made comments about getting rid of the "old" staff, and made this clear when we were fighting for our hours, yet she was hiring her friends from her old place of employment to work a day here, two days there.... I've seen the schedule where her and her friends were getting 36-40 hours a week, and others were struggling to get 24.
    The schedule was made to accomodate old friends, and others were made to work what was left over.
    She yelled and berated staff in front of residents, yet her "buddies" could come in when they wanted to (late 4 days out of 5- not kidding!) and that was ok.

    I stayed over 2 years and watched as this facility went from a fine upstanding place from the opening to one of the most talked about (badly) and a place with the highest turnover (due to bad management) in the community.

    I would have stayed with this company for quite awhile longer, but when it gets to the point that you get physically ill pulling into the parking lot of your job, it's time to go. I am working elsewhere now, and am much happier. Just wish I knew why people let power go to their heads and think every idea they have is so much better than the way it was before...
  4. 1
    Thanks for sharing your story.

    I don't understand why this happens in nursing. Nursing is supposed to be about caring for the residents, not about attacking each other. My wife and I have decided that I will probably leave nursing and go back to school for something with less of this kind of stress.

    It is a "gotcha" type of environment where you have to watch what you say and what you do and depending on who your friends are may not survive. I often wonder how some nurses stay in facilities as long as they do. What is their secret? I went through the hiring date list at my last facility once just because I was curious, and there were mostly new nurses with a few exceptions.

    Is the system set up to cause this problem? I have never had a job before nursing where you had to do everything with a 100% accuracy rate in such a fast moving high resident to staff environment and sign for everything that you do. And even that has to be done 100%

    With a fall or an admit, it would be like doing 2 people's jobs without any additional help. Those days sent me through the roof. And if you left a sheet undone, holy heck rained down on you. I would find where other nurses left things undone and reported it, but was criticized by the new DON for that too.

    Sad to say, but the LTC is like high school and depending who your friends are is how long you will last. I had wonderful moments in nursing, mostly with the patients I helped, but it also soured me to it as well. Maybe the problem is that many DON's don't have management backgrounds. The one we got was a former DON at another facility at one time, then went to night ER nurse, then to DON at our facility. When I heard that I had a huge red flag go up.

    Somebody at the other facility didn't like her, and I knew we got somebody else's trash. Sorry, still venting.
    JB2007 likes this.
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    Quote from skittlebear
    . maybe if there were more nurse to patient ratios (say, 15 patients to every one nurse), things would get done the way they are suppose to, nurses wouldn't be so overworked and may come in to actually help cover a shift on their days off, and the patients would get better care overall. i guess i feel as though the biggest problem in most nursing homes is the incredibly high patient load a nurse has.

    my pt load was 33 to one nurse who passed meds and 2 cna's. maybe that's normal. i begged for a med aid.
  6. 0
    I've been a DNS in 3 different buildings. I was never hired to 'clean house'. I have high standards...let the nurses know what the standards were. Tried to help them meet the standards. If they couldn't or wouldn't, usually they left of their own accord. The average stay for a DNS in LTC is less than 18 months. Why? Take a look around. Would you want the nurses you work with taking care of you or your parents? I am held responsible for mistakes other people make and then get the cold shoulder when I try to change things.
  7. 0
    Nurses are people and people have flaws. We are held to expectations that are set so high that we are almost set up to fail. I would let most of the nurses I have worked with take care of my parents and I know there are some out there who I would not.

    I would spend an hour each night going over my paperwork and medex and treatment sheets just to make sure that every t was crossed and every i was dotted. In a workplace where a missed initial can get you fired, it is almost too much to take.

    It seems that some nurses are more immune to the rath of the DON due to personality. I never used to believe this thinking that all people treated everyone equally, but that is not true. I can still remember the cattiness of the staff when the new DON was hired. The one who knew her from a past job and had nothing good to say about her was fired a month later. I don't know the details, but she was a good nurse.

    The new DON was not perfect and I often caught her mistakes. I can still remember when she first started, and she came in to help with an admit. (I was shocked, I later found out she was required to fill out some of the paperwork, this soon ended as she changed the papers) I got a call from her asking why I didn't write an admit note. I was wondering why she was asking since our former admit nurse, who she had just fired used to do all the paperwork including the admit note.

    I was like, "I thought you were going to do it" I told her that the admit nurse used to do it and she said, "I only came in to do part of it." When she left the building the night of the admit, she had left me with a list of items left to do on the admit, and the admit note was not one of them. I was just following the procedure that I had done for the last 20 admits I had done before we had an admit nurse. (they never hired a new one after that cheap ***)

    Anyway, of course in her eyes she could do no wrong. She would write her initials on the wrong date in the medex, told me to do a readmit on someone who was not.

    Still venting.

    The main issue was a spurt in census due to another facility closing and no extra help with all the admits, falls, and skin issues that would arise on a nightly basis. I had 0 extra time in my shift as it was.
  8. 0
    My DON gig lasted 7 very long months. If it's a good LTC they keep the DON forever and bad ones cannot keep one for more than a few months. My own problem was a very controlling administrator who wanted a yes-woman and not someone who was there for residents/nursing staff. I did not clean house, I did not kiss tosh, so live was miserable. Stayed long enough to not look bad on a resume. Then gone and no more management jobs for me in this lifetime...or the next.
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    Regarding nurse to resident ratio's in LTC, there is just not the money available to provide more staff. Lots of medicaid patients and the reimbursement sometimes doesn't cover the cost of care. For example, in the facility that I work in we have one particular patient that costs us over $6000/month. Our reimbursement from medicaid is $4500. We eat the rest of the cost.
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    Haha,
    Guess what? We just got a new DON in our facility who is very strict. She is trying to change EVERYTHING! I'm going to try and stick it out, but I don't know if I can much longer. Maybe she will settle down as she sets in her new role. I will be looking for another job in the meantime, just in case.


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