Ask the nursing expert: first state survey jitters

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Ask the nursing expert
Ask the nursing expert

We are quickly approaching our annual state survey, my first as the director of nursing. I'm nervous … how do I not project anxiety?

If you look exhausted throughout the survey process, they will feel bad for you and not want to approach you about anything, thinking that you are too busy to be disturbed. When you smile and interact with them in a friendly manner, they will not feel stressed and they will know that you are on top of things. You don't want your nursing staff to be afraid of the survey team. If they are already doing the best they can whenever they are working, they should feel comfortable and confident, with your support, during the survey.
Above all, do not let any of your anxiety allow you to become rigid with your staff.

As director of nursing, how do I keep from being overwhelmed by my role?


Those that “do” will be called upon frequently when a new project arises. You want members on your team that are the movers and shakers at your facility.

Review all that you are responsible for, and see if you can delegate some of your responsibilities to another staff member capable of taking on an additional task. Schedule a meeting with your senior nursing staff and review the goals of the department, your role/responsibilities, and your expectations of them and ask for input on how to make all of that work.

A loyal team will step up to the plate and divide the workload. This also will give you a chance to identify any weak links in your team. Weak links must be individually counseled and be given specific and documented expectations.
Always remember: The more you agree to do, the more that will be asked of you. Be reasonable with yourself.