As the leader of the nursing department in a skilled nursing facility, the Director of Nursing needs to have a few skills and personality traits that are embedded within them. Without these, their likelihood for success is diminished.

Some of the skills that the best Directors of Nursing have include:

•    Ability to teach, train and educate the staff
•    Ability to hold people on their staff accountable
•    Ability to modify their leadership style to fit the differing needs of multiple facilities

In addition, there are certain personality traits that help to ensure success when combined with the above professional skills:

•    Positive attitude
•    Flexible to change
•    Projects confidence
•    Decisive in decision-making
•    Quick thinking on their feet
•    Tenacious and aggressive pursuit of quality
•    High integrity

Nothing replaces the vast knowledge base that can only be acquired by being in the DON position for several years and from going through multiple state surveys.

The most successful DONs have the above leadership and personality traits, as well as extreme flexibility regarding the location they work in. Clients repeatedly request DONs with those specific qualities.