Nursing Leadership

Being a leader in your facility, although sometimes overwhelming, is a rewarding role that allows you to touch the lives of many people including your residents, their families, and, of course, your staff. Your efforts and attitude impact everything from resident outcomes, to survey results, to workplace culture in your facility. Find resources that explore topics such as leadership styles, strategies for successfully managing staff, and more to support you in your important role.  

  • Workplace Fit: How to Interview a Facility Where You Are Considering Working

    By Jessica Kunkler, MA - January 26, 2021

    When interviewing for a new position, don’t forget that an interview is a two-sided exchange. “Not only is the facility interviewing you to determine if you’re a good fit for them, but as the interviewee, you should also interview them to do the same,” says Alexis Roam, MSN, RN-BC, DNS-CT, QCP, curriculum development specialist for the American Association of Post-Acute Care Nursing (AAPACN).

    Here’s what every director of nursing services (DNS) should consider before interviewing for their next position.

    Know what you want from a position change.

    There are many moments in life when it pays to be flexible, but choosing a new workplace merits thoughtful consideration. Simply learning about what another company has to offer and thinking “that could work for me” isn’t the same as proactively finding a great fit.

    Some people flourish in structured, corporate environments with clear processes and procedures. Others prefer family-owned environments, where there is less structure and support, but more empowerment and decision-making responsibilities.

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  • COVID-19 Vaccinations: Importance for Residents and Staff (12/20)

    By CDC - December 29, 2020
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  • Vaccinate Your Staff: CDC LTC Toolkit for Staff Influenza (Flu) Vaccination (11/20)

    By CDC - November 14, 2020
    Post-acute and Long-term Care Facility Toolkit: Influenza Vaccination among Healthcare Personnel: Increasing Influenza Vaccination among Health Care Personnel in Long-term Care Settings


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  • The Documentation Toolkit: What It is and Why DNSs Need It Now

    By AADNS - August 10, 2020

    Nurses have often heard “if it wasn’t documented, it wasn’t done,” but they still struggle to consistently capture documentation that is timely, accurate, and comprehensive. This struggle sometimes emerges when underlying system failures go unaddressed by leadership. To fix this, the director of nursing services (DNS) and other nurse leaders need to improve the processes that are interfering with sound documentation practices and provide education that links a nurse’s skills to the documentation.

    To accomplish these goals, the American Association of Directors of Nursing Services (AADNS) recently published the Documentation Toolkit for the Nurse Leader, which contains several helpful tools and resources to make lasting improvements to nursing documentation. Alexis Roam, MSN, RN-BC, DNS-CT, QCP, curriculum development specialist for AADNS, shares some tips for how DNSs and other nurse leaders can use this tool to review their processes and overcome documentation pitfalls.


    Revisit the four pillars of documentation

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  • Q&A: I am currently a Unit Manager and my next goal is to be a DON. How do I prepare as this is a big step?

    By Amy Stewart, MSN, RN, DNS-MT, QCP-MT, RAC-MT, RAC-MTA and Juzell Pettis, DNS-CT, DNS-MT, DWC, WCC - August 10, 2020
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  • Guide to a Successful Meeting Tool

    By AADNS - June 09, 2020
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  • Q&A: What is the reporting structure for nurse leadership in your facility?

    By Sarah Bruner, BSN, RN, Administrator of Nursing Marshalltown, IA - May 27, 2020
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  • Support and Motivate Staff Through the COVID-19 Pandemic

    By Caralyn Davis, Staff Writer - May 13, 2020

    Directors of nursing services (DNSs) and other managers can support and motivate staff in two critical ways: individually and organizationally. Taking the following steps can help staff deal with the anxiety of caring for residents in a pandemic:


    Teach staff how to help each other—and themselves


    Judy Davidson, DNP, RN, FCCM, FAAN, a nurse scientist at UC San Diego Health and co-chair of the Strength Through Resiliency Task Force at the American Nurses Association, offers the following two stress reduction techniques that DNSs can use themselves and teach staff as well:


    * Tap Out and Take a Lap. “If you see someone at work whose anxiety level is rising, you figuratively tap them out and invite them to take a lap of the unit with you. A lap of the unit usually takes about one minute, and that is all it takes to do this stress reduction technique,” says Davidson. “While walking, you coach them through a little breathwork. If they are really panicked, just do four breaths in and four out. Doing that for five cycles will add up to a minute—which is all it takes to break the stress response that the person is under and ground them again so they can get back into the game.”


    If the person isn’t totally panicked, “they may be able to tolerate a more complex breathing pattern, four-seven-eight: Breathe in for four, hold for seven, and breathe out for eight. Four to five repetitions of that will give you a minute that you have walked around the unit, and now both you and your colleague are feeling better,” says Davidson. “I recommend anyone to do that for helping out in-the-moment stress.”

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  • Q&A: Is overseeing the Therapy department within the scope of the DNS position?

    By Courtney Simpson MBA, BSN, RN, DNS-CT, RAC-CT, RAC-CTA - May 13, 2020
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  • AHRQ COVID-19 Articles: Peer Support/Crisis Communications and Helping LTC Settings Deal With the Pandemic (4/20)

    By AHRQ - April 28, 2020

    COVID-19: Peer support and crisis communication strategies to promote institutional resilience.

    Wu AW, Connors C, Everly Jr GS. Ann Intern Med. 2020

    To address the negative psychological impacts faced by healthcare workers during the COVID-19 crisis, the authors of this commentary recommend three strategic principles for healthcare institutions responding to the pandemic:

    ·  Encourage leadership to focus on resilience

    ·  Ensure that crisis communication provides both information and empowerment

    ·  Create a continuum of staff support within the organization to address a surge in mental health concerns among healthcare workers.


    Unprecedented solutions for extraordinary times: helping long-term care settings deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Gaur S, Dumyati G, Nace DA, et al.  Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2020

    This commentary discusses the provision of safe care in long-term care settings during the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors propose the following measures to ensure the safety of long-term care patients:

    ·  facilities should only accept patients with COVID-19 infections if they can provide effective airborne isolation;

    ·  patients recovering from COVID-19 need to have 2 negative tests on 2 consecutive days, as well as remain fever-free without mediation for at least 48 hours and not require ventilatory support that generates aerosols;

    ·  facilities should screen potential admissions for typical and atypical signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and;

    ·  facilities that are currently COVID-19 naïve should not accept any new admissions for whom there may be a concern for COVID-19.

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  • ASPR TRACIE Disaster Behavioral Health Self Care for Healthcare Workers Modules (4/20)

    By ASPR TRACIE - April 01, 2020

    Module 1: Compassion Fatigue and Secondary Traumatic Stress Identification for Healthcare Providers

    Module 2: Organizational Wellness From the Top: Stress Mitigation and Work Satisfaction for Healthcare Providers

    Module 3: Cognitive Tools for Mitigating Compassion Fatigue and Secondary Traumatic Stress

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  • 4 Simple Ways to Support Staff Retention

    By Jessica Kunkler, MA, Staff Writer - February 11, 2020

    One in four nursing assistants and one in five home health aides report that they are actively looking for another job. That’s a lot of unhappy employees.

    This turnover comes at a high price for facilities. It costs an estimated $2,200 to replace a nursing assistant or home care worker, according to the Recruitment and Retention Guide For Employers by PHI (formerly the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute).

    Moreover, frustration in the workplace can be contagious; unsatisfied staff members have a negative impact on residents and their peers alike.

    There are books and guides devoted to programs for staff retention. Better hiring processes, rewards systems, and staff training can yield positive returns for facilities—but overhauling an entire program can feel daunting for busy nurse managers.

    Here are four simple ways to promote staff retention, starting right where you are.

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  • Advance Care Planning: Two Recent Studies (11/19)

    By AHRQ - November 12, 2019

    Advance Care Planning: An Exploration of the Beliefs, Self-Efficacy, Education, and Practices of RNs and LPNs.

    Objective: This study compared the advance care planning (ACP)-related beliefs, sense of self-efficacy, education, and practices of RNs and LPNs.



    Advance Care Planning in Skilled Nursing Facilities: A Multisite Examination of Professional Judgments.

    BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Lack of advance care planning (ACP) may increase hospitalizations and impact the quality of life for skilled nursing facility (SNF) residents, especially African American residents who may be less likely to receive ACP discussions. We examined the professional judgments of SNF providers to see if race of SNF residents and providers, and risk for hospitalization for residents influenced professional judgments as to when ACP was needed and feelings of responsibility for ensuring ACP discussions.

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  • Do You Embody Inspirational Leadership?

    By Cody Campbell, LNFA - August 21, 2019

    AADNS member, Cody Campbell, LNFA, provides insight into his take on inspirational leadership as the key to being a successful nurse leader and how directors of nursing can inspire and lead their teams.

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  • PDPM At-a-Glance Tool

    By AANAC - August 07, 2019
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