Ask the nursing expert: How much should nursing directors expect to compromise?

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Ask the nursing expert
Ask the nursing expert
As a nursing director, just how much compromising of myself is expected?

I believe that when we interview for the position of DON, the interviewer looks for many things. Experience in long-term care, knowledge base, enthusiasm, ability to communicate effectively, sometimes word-of-mouth reputation and our general personality are all just a part of what is being considered.

The chemistry between a DON and the administrator is difficult to quantify, but extremely important.

As a DON, we are sometimes asked to carry out duties that we object to. Some things that are requested, you just do automatically. Other items require that you pause and consider the best implementation. Your requested cooperation in issues such as staff reduction for budgetary reasons may give you anxiety. I have never heard of the DON who goes along with everything asked/requested/directed to do! We have to pick our battles carefully.

Most of us who have been working in long-term care for some time have developed our approaches to leadership based on trial and error of previous approaches to issues. There are some things requested of us that we cannot just go along with.

We were not hired because we are wishy-washy in decision making, yet we cannot challenge everything asked of us. Stand up for what you feel strongly about. Develop an approach that is professional and reasonable. Your established reputation and integrity will help to promote your stance on a difficult issue.

If you are asked to do something that you strongly disagree with and have presented your views reasonably, yet a supervisor/consultant insists that it be done, then you have to consider options. Diplomacy is an absolutely necessary talent, so develop this skill well.