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Career Story: RN And Resident Care Coordinator In A Nursing Home

RN And Resident Care Coordinator In A Nursing Home

Job Title: Registered Nurse, Resident Care Coordinator

Education: BS in Nursing from University of North Dakota ••

Previous Experience: I worked as a certified nurse aid (CNA) in a nursing home prior to starting my college education.

Job Tasks: I work in a skilled nursing home that is certified for 176 residents. I am in charge of 44 residents on my "unit".

I oversee the day to day cares of these residents, how the CNAs (Certified Nursing Aides) provide care, from dressing, toileting, transferring in/out of bed or chair, etc., the medications the nurses administer, the activities they attend, and the diets (food) they eat.

I am in charge of doing scheduled assessments that helps generate the information that the state of North Dakota uses to determine how much the resident will pay to stay in our facility. I also act as a liason between the staff and the resident's family, to set up a plan of care that best meets the resident's needs and leads them to have the highest functional status and quality of life possible.

I work closely with a team, (called the care plan team) that is comprised of a Registered Nurse, the activities person, licensed social worker, and dietician. Together, we come up with a plan of care for the resident with the input of the resident, family, staff (CNA and nurses), chaplain, doctors, etc. that will make the resident's stay, whether long or short term, as dignified as possible. Even though most of "my" residents are long term (no discharge plans), there are several that are short term, (will discharge to a lesser level of care). The care plan team works together with the resident and family, as well as any other staff involved the the resident (physical, occupational, and speech therapy, nurses, doctors, etc) on discharge plans for those short term residents.

I also work with the care plan team during our annual "state survey" that comes and reviews the cares we give to our residents. This is a very important time of year, as they (the state survey team) will determine if we (the skilled nursing home) have given good care to our residents and has followed the rules set forth by our state.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is getting to know so many people and truly becoming a large "family". The residents I work with have so many stories and knowledge to share. Being able to share part of their lives is a blessing.

The worst part of my job is when one of "my" residents dies. You become very involved, not just with the resident, but with the family also, so it can be very sad, almost like losing a grandparent.

Job Tips:
1. Try working as a CNA 1st to see if you can even work in a nursing home. Some people are just not cut out for this type of job

2. Computer experience helps when it comes to doing the paperwork and assessments. Every facility will have different software, but the process will be similar.

3. If you're not a people person, this is not the job for you either, as you have to be able to be diplomatic at times. Some families/residents can be very demanding and difficult to deal with and you have to be able to work with them, yet meet the resident's needs, and keep the staff happy also.

Additional Thoughts: Working in a nursing home is very rewarding, yet can be very demanding. Over 50% of the resident's I work with are here to live out their last days, as they can no longer live in the community alone. Being able to be part of their lives, at this time of their life and try to make it as fullfilling as possible, is a challenge and a gift. To know that you were able to make a difference in someone's life, no matter how small, is very powerful and rewarding.

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