How to Find a Great Director of Nursing

Posted by Bernie Reifkind on February 13, 2018

The Director of Nursing (DON) position is possibly the single most important job in a skilled nursing facility.  After all, nursing is what is being provided.

The Administrator or the Executive Director position is typically the highest ranking employee at most skilled nursing facilities.

However, the most successful long term care facilities (skilled nursing, convalescent hospitals, etc.) are those with the very best Directors of Nursing.  Having the right Director of Nursing can make or break a skilled nursing facility.

When a position becomes vacant or if a Director of Nursing is under performing, it is critical to know what to look for when using a Director of Nursing recruiter.

Here are 5 things to look for in a Director of Nursing recruiter:

  1. Recent Director of Nursing Placement Experience.  Having recent successful Director of Nursing placement experience is evidence that a recruiter or a recruiting firm understands the nature of the position and function that it plays in the success of a facility.  It also proves that the recruiter understands the needs of the long term care facility and it’s culture.
  2. A True Understanding of Urgency.  A Director of Nursing recruiter understands the urgency necessary in conducting a professional search and how to act accordingly.  There is a huge difference between showing resumes and presenting well qualified candidates who understand the rules and regulations of both the state and federal government.  There is no room for recklessness or to waste the time of the hiring authority, because time is of the essence.  The very best pre-screened candidates need to be presented ASAP.
  3. A partner in the hiring process.  Partnering with a recruiter well experienced in the nuanced world of search and placement of Directors of Nursing can save an organization time and money.  A recruiter should be there to “do the heavy lifting” while a busy executive can go on with their work.  Sourcing for the right candidate, arranging multiple interviews, de-briefing candidates after interviews and ultimately making sure that an offer will be accepted is a partnership well deserving of any hiring authority.
  4. An outstanding reputation. A reputation is earned and cannot be bought.  Look for a recruiter that has earned the respect of your peers. In addition, other Directors of Nursing typically know who the best recruiters are because in many cases they have either been contacted or have peers that have been contacted.
  5. An appropriate placement guarantee.  How do you guarantee another human being?  In the context of a placement it is important to find out what happens in the event that the hired Director of Nursing doesn’t work out.  An appropriate guarantee should provide for a free replacement Director of Nursing candidate if the hired employee leaves within a certain amount of time and if payment has been received by the recruiter in the agreed upon time.  It is unrealistic to expect a money back guarantee.

In every profession, experience and wisdom garnered from an expert in their craft is what we all look for no matter what the subject.  When you need to, hire the best lawyer, hire the best CPA and of course hire the very best Director of Nursing Recruiter.

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