Why Should I Become a Certified DON?

By AADNS - July 31, 2018

Why Should I Become a Certified DON?

Starting out as a new director of nursing (DON) can sometimes seem overwhelming. You are expected to know how to oversee nursing personnel, enforce policies for legal compliance and high standards, and improve quality, communications, and resident care throughout the facility. A healthy mix of business management skills combined with clinical and leadership skills is imperative to success.

However, although most directors of nursing are required to have an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree, the skills and knowledge required to execute daily tasks for DONs are not all taught in nursing school. If you want to thrive as a DON in today’s long-term care profession, have the respect of your administrators, and provide the best care for our elders, earning your professional certification is a must.

The Director of Nursing—Certified (DNS-CT) certification and prep courses developed by AADNS reflect the current director of nursing services competencies and are setting the national standard in certification and education for DONs. DNS-CT certification will help you gain confidence by getting you up to speed with your job duties as a DON. It can also help fill the gap in knowledge and skills that you didn’t learn previously.

Regarding the DNS-CT, Vernita F. says, “The DNS certification courses have really been very helpful to me as a new DNS. Today was mock survey, and I have my information book ready to go.”

Earning your DNS-CT certification is about knowing and verifying the best practices and expectations in your role as a DON and affirming to yourself and your administrators that you have the expertise to lead your staff to achieve a high standard of quality of care and quality of life for residents.

More than 1,300 nurse leaders currently hold a DNS-CT credential, and you could be one of them. Do you know if you are ready to get certified? Answer the following questions below:

1.       Are you new to long-term care, a newly licensed registered nurse wanting to move into a DON role, or do you have less than a year of experience as a DON or relevant nursing leadership experience?

·         Yes » Start with DNS Fundamentals.

·         No, I’m a seasoned director of nursing. Proceed to question 2.

2.       Do you currently hold an RN license?

·         Yes. Proceed to question 3.

3.       Do you have two years of full-time long-term or post-acute care experience?

·         Yes. Proceed to question 4.

4.       Are you registered?

·         No. » Sign up for the online prep courses or an in-person workshop here, and don’t forget to add the certification exam. Note: AADNS members receive 50% off!

·         Yes. You’re ready to become a certified DON! Best of luck to you on achieving this important professional goal and advancing your career path.


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