Caring for the elderly is one of the most valuable and rewarding jobs in society. As the baby boomers age, they need the best care possible to handle their changing health and lifestyle needs. A nursing home administrator needs to have exceptional skills in both medicine and business, as they can serve an important role in both areas. If you have experience as a nurse, especially with older patients or in nursing home or assisted living facilities, you might consider progressing your career to administration. It can be a difficult responsibility to undertake, but if you have a certain skill set, you can be a qualified leader in nursing home care.
1. Lead in All Areas
A nursing home administrator has to be good at planning. You will be in charge of allocating resources, regulating spending, managing staff, and adhering to the policies of both the governing board for your facility and the state. When you’re in charge of the nursing home, you’re responsible for much more than patients – it is, essentially, a medical business, with budget concerns, operating procedures, and a set of standards that must be maintained.
2. Be a People Person
When caring for the elderly, you not only have to be able to relate to them with kindness, you also have to reach out to the family members of your patients, many of whom may be paying their loved one’s bills. You are responsible for interviewing perspective residents, but the administrator is also responsible for overseeing staff in all areas – paid and volunteer – from housekeeping to activity directors. Understanding the needs and concerns of a variety of people associated with your facility is an essential part of being an administrator.
3. Get a Handle on Paperwork
A nursing home administrator has to file reports and keep accurate records. To be successful, you have to master the business side of running a facility as well as the social and medical side. Medical emergencies, incidents, and deaths must be documented in detail, to assist in communications with families as well as insurance companies and Medicare representatives.
4. Fight for the Facility
The administrator is the nursing home’s direct contact with the governing board. If an administrator has properly assessed the needs of their patients and the facility, they’ll be the one to justify expenses. A good leader of a nursing home will know which equipment is needed, and which kind of programs will lead to a greater quality of care for the patients, and they’ll be able to work to provide these things.
5. Understand Medical Issues
Most nursing home administrators have a background in nursing or other medical fields. It is important to know if your patients are suffering, as well as how to deal with issues of dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other conditions that the elderly face. You may have a lot on your plate 24 hours a day, but you also need to understand the challenges of your staff when it comes to a particular case.
To be a nursing home administrator, you will have to pass a state licensing exam. The more training you have in the care of the elderly, the more likely you are to get your license and find a rewarding position – whether you’re the leader of a nursing home facility with ten patients or a hundred. Like most medical professions, nursing home administration is growing at a rapid, above-average rate, and those in the field typically earn a large paycheck – sometimes up to $50 an hour. It can be a great career, when you’re skilled in caring for people who can no longer care for themselves.
Linda Carter writes for education blogs where you’ll learn more about the pros and cons of getting an online mha degree.