considering applying for DON position

  1. May be moving out of a large metroplex to a small rural area, with limited nursing positions. Considering applying for a LTC DON position, but have no idea if I'd even be considered. Would like feedback on what my learning curves would need to be, and what are the typical challenges a DON faces.

    Background: MSN (Clinical Nurse Leader), 8 years outpatient procedures/surgeries, 3 years SICU, 1 year Periop Clinical Specialist (lateral specialist for large hospital Periop: OR, SPD, PACU, Pre-op, Endo, IR, Procedures; includes TJC condition rectification/policies, EBP, PI work, staff education and new equipment and policy role outs, etc.)

    I have always LIKED the elderly; used to go an play the piano and sing once a week when I was a kid, at a LTC. I did not care for it as a nursing student, but I was concerned about my med passes, as this was the focus of that semester, lol.

    Position would be for a state-run veteran's home, fairly good employee reviews on line, but voice typical problems like call ins, double shifts.

    Do you have to have worked in LTC to become a DON? Any advice, and or probing questions is greatly appreciated. I think two of my best qualities to make me successful would be that I am fair (don't play favorites) and that I learn very quickly (all the regulations I would need to get up to speed on quickly).

    Thanks!
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    About redreba

    Joined: Jan '18; Posts: 8; Likes: 21

    5 Comments

  3. by   NurseCard
    Is being "overqualified" a thing in the nursing world?

    I mean... most DON positions in LTC do not even require a BSN.
    I'm not even sure that they all require an RN.

    I don't suppose it really matters though... you sound like
    you would do great in any leadership role. Working in
    LTC is very stressful. Many many MANY regulations that
    you would indeed have to learn and follow. Like you said,
    you'd be dealing with tons of staffing issues. You are on
    call 24/7 in most positions.

    Some employers may worry that a candidate like you would
    quickly become disenchanted with this position. Quickly.

    I'd give it a shot though! It would be something new and
    you may really enjoy it, and you may make a great difference
    in that facility.
  4. by   CapeCodMermaid
    WOW...I don't know where you're from but I've never met a DNS who wasn't an RN. We have more regulations than the nuclear power industry and every year are expected to do more with less. It's a tough job even with years of LTC/SNF experience, and the new survey process makes it even tougher.
  5. by   NurseCard
    I don't think I've ever met a DON who wasn't at least an RN either. I don't
    know why I made that comment about not needing to be an RN. I honestly
    don't. Maybe I've heard of an LPN directing an Assisted Living facility..
    perhaps that's what I was thinking of.
  6. by   sallyrnrrt
    You have stellar qualifications

    As a DON I was responsible for:
    Risk mgt. falls etc.
    Incident report of low up
    Staff development
    Monitoring for weight loss
    Skin assessment
    Care plans
    CMScompliance, with what was a " reportable" to state
    Chart audits
    Unfortunately 24/7 on call
    Cna skill evaluation of skills
  7. by   hibiscus6
    My company requires a BSN for leadership positions including DON. I have worked with 2 DONs who were successful in moving into their roles from ICU positions. I also worked with 2 ADONS from similar backgrounds who failed. I think some of what makes the difference is in respect for long term care as a specialty and being open to learning (versus a "how hard could it be?"approach). Sounds like you have good leadership skills , and the ability to be fair is a necessity. If it's a decent company (unfortunately not all of them are), it could be a rewarding position for you.

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