Journal of gerontological nursing

RNs' Transitions into Director of Nursing Positions in Nursing Homes: Hiring Practices and Role Development.

PMID 25800219


The current paper discusses RNs' transitions into their first nursing home director of nursing (DON) position, including hiring practice and role development. A convenience sample of 29 current and previous DONs and nursing home administrators completed semistructured interviews for the current qualitative, descriptive study. Using thematic analysis, the finding revealed three primary themes: (a) DON hiring criteria are not necessarily matched to role demands; (b) various pathways to developing DON expertise suggest an undervaluing of the competencies needed to effectively enact this nursing leadership position; and (c) although limited formal training for the DON position was well-acknowledged, concerns or reports of the consequences varied, and there is no consensus as to the optimal route to preparation. Overall, the current study findings highlight gaps across practice, policy, and research, emphasizing the consequences of limited attention to gathering evidence of the breadth and depth of DON role demands and related role qualifications.