I’m going to try to write this article carefully. Very carefully. First, let me say I love our nurses and get super excited when I am able to help one start their journey in residential assisted living. Remember this, ok?
Now, let me explain what led me to write this. A Facebook group member posted about a nurse at a hospital who was engaging a patient who was already a resident a local care home. He or she was reportedly attempting to have the patient move into a care home she owned and operated. Details were thin, but it sounded shady. Even if this event was innocent, we know of other cases where people are loose and fast with their ethics. But this got me thinking.
We all see care homes that are marketed as “RN owned” or “RN managed”. What should we think when we see this in marketing?
Obviously clients rightfully place a lot of value on an RN being integral to the operation of a care home. RNs have extensive training and education. Often this is coupled with a great deal of experience as well. Generally speaking, nurses have many of the characteristics people look for when choosing a care provider. Nurses are currently doing extraordinary work on the front lines of the Covid-19 pandemic guiding patients and families through critical care. Often with a terrible outcome. When choosing a care home, all other things being equal, I’d choose a Nurse owned care home over, say, a real estate investor owned care home any day and twice on Sunday.
Hol Up a Minute
But it’s those “other things” that I think deserve a closer look. Having spent a few years coordinating the occasional group home sale, licensing homes and doing compliance consultations, I have seen a few nurses enter the residential assisted living industry. It always makes me happy when I see it. It’s no secret that I feel care homes seeded by experienced healthcare workers deliver better care and have fewer problems. But having said that, there are a couple of things that I have noticed that sometimes occur when the RN enters the residential assisted living business.
Dunning Kruger in the House?
The assisted living home is a unique care environment. Anyone who moves into this space has some things to learn, nurses included. Sometimes I see nurses who feel that being an RN has naturally prepared them for success in the residential assisted living world. It’s a mistake to think this. Our care environment is wholly unique with different regulations and dynamics. Care homes can often have unique complexities that you just don’t see at your local ER or med surg floor. Nurses should take comfort in their extensive training and care delivery skills, but remain open-minded to learn and master care home operations, compliance and management. A false sense of expertise and preparedness will lead to a bumpy start and learning a few things the hard way.
Obtaining a nursing credential isn’t easy. And once someone has it, they are in high demand with an opportunity to easily obtain work with great compensation. Sometimes with the RN owned care home the nurse may be juggling a job or multiple jobs while trying to operate their care home. Some nurses, pull it off. Sometimes the facility suffers for it. My challenge to nurse care home owners is to ensure that if your marketing a significant nurse presence in your facility, make sure you deliver on that promise.
Yep, Nurses still Rock!
Despite these observations, I’m happy to report that in my limited experience, nurses have persevered and gone on to establish quality care homes. I can’t recall any that have failed or exited the industry for anything other than retirement. This is a testament to the value of core nursing principals in a residential assisted living community.
Beyonce says “Check Up On It”
Ok, maybe she was singing about something else. But for consumers, when you see that “nurse owned” badge or letters after the name on that business card, I encourage you to dig a little deeper and ensure that the credential is actually serving to benefit the home. More often than not, that’s probably the case. But it warrants being part of your due diligence to qualify the facility for the care of your loved one.