Ask the nursing expert ... about transitioning to DON position, staying abreast of MDS changes

Share this content:
Ask the nursing expert ... about dealing with workplace 'sabotage'
Ask the nursing expert ... about dealing with workplace 'sabotage'

I have just been promoted to director of nursing after the position became available. I am very nervous. Where do I even start and where would I find support and continuing education for my new role? 

Congratulations on your new promotion! Usually, companies provide regional nurses for support. Ask your regional nurse if you can spend some time with other DONs in the company to observe how they manage company expectations. 

Develop your own nursing philosophy for your nursing team. Have a meeting with current nursing leadership: ADON, nurse managers, QA, staff development, infection control and any other key positions to discuss department goals and expectations. 

Then meet with units around the clock to discuss what you have developed. Talk of professionalism such as nursing uniforms, attitude and customer service. Demonstrate your professionalism through frequent rounding and by remaining approachable for staff. Join an organization that focuses on LTC and/or directors of nursing. This should get you started.

How do I stay on top of the many changes occurring within the MDS process? 

My first recommendation is that you get certified in the MDS through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Staying on top is a challenge with all your other responsibilities, but you will keep your sanity by doing so. 

Your facility should receive continuing education information when workshops are being offered. Let your MDS coordinator know that you are interested in remaining up-to-date with the MDS process. 

Remember that the accuracy of the MDS process is under the oversight of both the administrator and director of nursing. You will do fine.