I would just like everyone's opinion on what you think makes a good/great DON in LTC
Following - Anxious to see the answers
A good DON doesn't call night shift staff at home during their "sleeping hours". A good DON knows that the night shift staff need their sleep and so doesn't call them and bother them at home.
What makes a good DON depends on who you ask.
Staff nurses want someone who supports them and helps out when it gets really hectic.
Administrators want someone who looks after the bottom line.
Being a night shift nurse, I agree with Blackcat99.
I think I was a decent one. For one thing, I never asked staff to do anything I wouldn't do, and for another I went to bat for them when they deserved better pay and recognition for a job well done. I also think a good DON doesn't put up with lackluster performance or hesitate to discipline when it's needed; this is not only unfair to the staff who do the right thing, but to the employee her/himself because they don't learn the skills necessary to get along with co-workers, patients, and management.
Above all, a DON must lead by example. I used to take the occasional floor shift so I could stay up-to-date on patients' conditions, and also because I didn't want to forget where I came from or demand that the nurses take on more and more work. I wanted my care managers to work the floor once in a while too. It was good for all of us.
Viva and Capecod some to mind.....
Fair management abilities.
Compassion for the residents...not forgetting that they are why we are working.
Common sense and critical thinking abilities.
Good managers remember that their employees are human beings. I hated working for what I call "spreadsheet" managers, who change employees' schedules and assignments around at will without any consideration of their lives away from work and the disruption that this causes. There are emergency situations when you have no choice, but those are the rare exception. Because I treat my employees well, I generally have volunteers when these things happen.
Consistency. A former DON was famous for changing policies at the drop of a hat, not even informing all the employees what this new "policy" was and then yelling at or writing people up when this mystery policy wasn't followed. Yelling at one employee for something that a different employee was praised for, yep that happened quite a bit. One employee was fired for exceeding the call in limit despite the fact that other employees that had even more call ins weren't disciplined at all. Staff never knew what to expect.
That's definitely how not to be a good DON. To be a good one, make your policies clear and reasonable. Treat all staff the same, do NOT play favorites. Communicate your expectations clearly and listen to the staff. While it's good to have a DON that's known as being nice, it's better to have a DON that's known as being fair.
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