New DON cleaning house

  1. 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 nurses get fired in my short 7 year career and at least that many people just from the last home I worked at in the last 18 months.

    Is this the norm in the nursing business? I have also seen DON's come and go on a regular basis. Why the high turn over? and this was a nursing home.
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    About trimm

    Joined: Nov '09; Posts: 23; Likes: 66


  3. by   Midwest4me
    I've seen a high turnover of DONs and Administrators when I worked in LTC; seems each averaged about 6 months. This was common in most every nursing home I worked. It seemed the time each spent in the LTC was linked to how well the state surveys turned out. New DONs swept in with a slew of their preferred staff and the cycle continued.....very sad.
  4. by   WickedRedRN
    I have seen it, it seems when a new DON or Administrator is brought in from the outside, they have a tendency to bring their preferred staff with them. I survived 6 months in LTC before I realized the politics were too much for me. In that time I had 3 different DON's (not counting the interms), 2 ADON's, and 2 Administrators. Each change resulted in more upheaval and no consistancy at all.

    Hope my experience is an exception rather than the norm, but I suspect it is quite common.
  5. by   Vito Andolini
    I would clean staff if I became a DON. Sorry, but we have some real dead wood and it needs to go.

    I would first try to rehabilitate the staff, but if that didn't work, they'd be gone.

    Ego, power - some people can't handle it. Or maybe, like me, they just want professionalism and are not getting it. And some of the firings could have been justified and overdue. You really don't know the whole story, all you know is that some people were let go.
    Last edit by rn/writer on Nov 8, '09 : Reason: Removed unhelpful comment.
  6. by   pennyaline
    Quote from trimm
    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 nurses get fired in my short 7 year career and at least that many people just from the last home I worked at in the last 18 months.

    Is this the norm in the nursing business? I have also seen DON's come and go on a regular basis. Why the high turn over? and this was a nursing home.
    Yes, it's SOP. A new director has to establish her power and mark her territory, and it's done with disciplinary actions and terminations. Often these actions are justified as the new Director winnows out a predecessor's favorites and undeniable screw-ups. Most staff members know that a new Director usually means that the axe will fall on someone, thus a new DON or ADON is often subject to a stifling amount of ass-kissing from established employees hoping to make points, keep their jobs and maintain their position in the staff hierarchy.

    High DON turnover can be voluntary or involuntary. Either may be in play in facilities with rotten survey records or pie-in-the-sky corporate ownership, as new DON's either fail to meet unrealistic administrative expectations or recognize that they are in unsustainable positions and leave for jobs with better terms. A facility I used to work in has gone through four DONs in the last eight months.
  7. by   skittlebear
    wow, I thought our facility had a high turnover. The DON that hired me lasted about a year. The next, about 1.5 years, and now...she has resigned. I'm scared of what we might be getting next!
  8. by   diane227
    They have the right to come in and clean house and they usually do. Often, they have their own people to bring in. There is nothing you can do about it. It is one of the hazards of management.
  9. by   Pixienurse123
    I was the DON of a 120+bed LTC facility. I was hired to "clean house". There had not been a permanent DON in over a year. I tried to improve the performance of most of the staff, but unfortunately there were several who really needed to go-too many bad habits from not being properly supervised for so long. I like to think that i made some good improvements. To the OP, I'm sorry that you have had to see so many co-workers go. I can imagine that it would be hard to keep a positive attitude in such turmoil.

    As far as why turnover is so bad, OMGoodness where do I start??? I went to bed with that place in my head and woke up with it in my head!! 2am phone calls to tell me CNA's refused to do what nurses told them-working all day only to have to turn around and go back because a nurse didn't show up or just called in and quit!! Having the state dept of heatlh threaten to report you to the board of nursing for something that happened when you weren't even in the building or happened before you even went to work there. I got to the point that i didn't even feel like a nurse because most of my time was spent begging people to come to work to cover staffing shortages.

    However, I worked with some of the greatest people i will ever know!! I was priviledged to care for the sweetest, most beautiful residents ever!!

    I lasted 2 years. In that time I learned invaluable lessons, made great friends, and was touched so profoundly by the people we took care of.

    I am now just a regular nurse in a regular hospital taking care of my patients and it is WONDERFUL. I am so glad not to be worried about scheduling and staffing and all the other issues that almost drove me from the nursing profession (I had started looking into going back to school for another type of degree)

    I hope i return to LTC someday, but it will soooo not be as a DON!! LOL!!
  10. by   diane227
    You could not pay me all the money in the world to work in long term care. Not enough staff and VERY heavy patient loads with patients that require a lot of time and attention. It is just too much. I don't know how people do it. It is a job that I know I could never do. My hat is off to those of you who can.
  11. by   skittlebear
    i completely agree that most dons are probably hired to clean house and it is there job to fire some of the "dead weeds" as another poster mentioned. i also agree with that. provide adequate nursing care, follow the rules, represent your facility well, or be gone!

    one thing though, that i never understood in most nursing homes was this: why is the patient to nurse ratio so terribly high that it is almost freightening? i'm not saying that about all nursing homes, but the nursing homes around my area are always so short-staffed. 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.
  12. by   trimm
    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
  13. by   trimm
    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.
  14. by   GPatty
    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...