Ask the nursing expert: How can DONs do it all?

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Ask the nursing expert
Ask the nursing expert
Q: Help — I feel like I cannot possibly keep up with all the expectations coming from everywhere! These include family expectations, staff expecting tailored schedules, corporate initiatives, state initiatives, bad weather and a family who would like me to spend some time with them. How do I do it all?

A: This is an age-old dilemma for the director of nursing in long-term care. We make our priority list each day and once we enter the building, the phones ring, meetings start and clinical issues surround us. We strive to organize ourselves and provide quality care to our residents while we provide strong and fair leadership to our staff.

To start, be sure that you have a strong support system such as colleagues and mentors who can provide clinical and leadership support. Being a member of a long-term care organization will keep you current on what is going on in our industry and offer educational resources. Surround yourself with talent. Select a strong nursing leadership team and coach. Teach and mentor them to be strong clinically and in their leadership.

That may help with professional obligations, but the worst thing you can do is isolate yourself from your outside/personal life and just work and work and work! You could work 24 hours a day and still not get everything done.

So know when to draw the line. Learn you can say “no” and, above all else, take care of yourself while taking care of your residents and staff.
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