Nursing Home Administrator – Need Job!
One of the biggest issues I hear from newly-licensed nursing home administrators is that they can’t find a job. No one will hire them because they have no experience. They go to an interview or even several interviews only to hear the same thing again and again.
“We went with someone with more experience.”
This is an all-too-common problem. You’re actually in the same boat as many other people. I’m going to give you a realistic view on what you can do.
- First, how are you presenting yourself to the prospective employers? Are you offering to come in as an assistant in a position they don’t have budgeted to learn the ropes? Are you telling them that you’re a “quick learner”? Are you giving them anything beneficial? Ok, so first things first – none of that is going to work. Temporary assistants to the administrator still cost money unless you’re doing it for free. If the nursing home company didn’t budget an extra salary for that position, typically they’re not going to just create one for you. Budgets are extremely important and even a $30,000/yr assistant is $30,000 you’re going to have to compensate for in some other area. You HAVE to make that money back up. Employers don’t want “quick learners.” They want people who know what they’re doing. “Well, the current administrator can use me to do….whatever.” That probably isn’t going to earn you any points. Your lack of experience devalues anything positive you’re bringing to the table. This industry is a business, so they need to know how you could benefit them.
- Are you telling them about all your “other” experience? You have sales experience, management experience, finance, etc. Unfortunately, everyone says this. So, you’ll need to stand out from the crowd. I’d probably give specific examples of results I was able to produce within those areas, even if just contributory while assisting someone else.
- So, we need to look at things in the eyes of the company you’re trying to get a job with.
Factors to consider:
1. Are you willing to travel and relocate? If so, great. If not, it’s going to be tough. I have moved to and lived in 6 different states early on in my career just to keep moving forward.
2. Are you willing to work like no one else at facilities no one else wants in order to create value, build a name for yourself and earn experience? It’s a tough job. Make sure you’re going to put the effort in.
3. What will be the foundation of how you operate? What are your values?
4. What will you be willing to do to get the experience you need in order to show companies you’re not a financial, compliance, and legal liability?
By this I mean -
a. How will you avoid lawsuits that cost them millions of dollars?
b. How will you ensure quality of care is actually delivered 24/7?
c. How will you manage your surveys to produce excellent outcomes without fines that also can bankrupt facilities?
- So, none of the things I’m referring to above are by chance. You need to plan for those things now in order to be successful and to make your company successful.
- Continue to play the game and eventually come across a company willing to take a shot on you.
- I like Indeed to find new jobs. You can search NHA jobs nationwide to build your list of opportunities and recruiters posting them. Of course, you can use the NHP Job Page on this site which is powered by Indeed to find nursing home administrator jobs.
- Consider a job as a department head or even frontline staff member to get your foot in the door and begin to prove your abilities in at least one area. Use that as a launchpad to move up in the company and industry. I started as a dietary kitchen supervisor and worked my way up.
- Did you complete an AIT? If so, do you have a good relationship with that company and could they assist you in obtaining a position as an administrator in a small building or even assistant administrator in a larger building? Contact the recruiters there.
- Get started as an interim. There are several interim companies out there that just need an administrator temporarily due to vacancies. This may be a good route to get in different types of experience without being at any one place long enough to screw anything up. And many NH chains have their own interim staffing for NH’s. www.360healthcarestaffing.com is a good one.
- Contact recruiters, both independent and those that work for the nursing home chains. You can get their emails from Indeed.com, Careerbuilder, etc. Many larger chains have leadership or fellowship training programs (regardless if you are already licensed) and can place you in a facility. Kindred Healthcare has/did have an executive director fellowship program. Search out these type of leadership programs with the top NH companies. Golden Living has an EDIT (Executive Director in Training) program designed to grow administrators into leaders. I believe NHC has one. Many of the larger companies have something similar. You can find them by going to their websites or emailing the company recruiters by finding their addresses in job listings.
- Get a LinkedIn profile so you can make contacts with people in our industry. Modify your LinkedIn profile so that your name ranks high in the search results on there when a recuiter is searching for administrators. For example, if you use the search box at the top right on their page and search for “nursing home administrator”, I should rank fairly high if not first in the more than 13,000 results due to keyword optimization of my profile. You can do this by utilizing Nursing Home-related keywords throughout your profile.
- Build relationships with recruiters on LinkedIn and tell them your situation. Recruiters use LinkedIn to find potential candidates for jobs.
Note: You most likely will be asked to move starting out. It will be to take a poorly-performing facility that is losing money, has compliance issues, and a negative community reputation due to a long history of rampant abuse and overall mismanagement….and it’ll be in the worst part of town. It will be for a company that struggles to pay its bills and is cut off with many vendors. You’ll inherit a staff and team of department heads that are so used to under-performing that you’ll have to force some resignations and begin rebuilding your entire team and the culture of the building. It will take you months to rebuild and, after a year, you might be breaking even.
That’s similar to what happened to me. I took the facility and built a name for myself within that company and then branched out to other facilities / roles /companies.
- Watch for facilities that recently have received Immediate Jeopardy tags. It’s hard to get an administrator to take those. You can set yourself a Google alert for “nursing home + immediate jeopardy” when new ones pop up. Find those, call the facility, and work your way up to the director of ops over it. If you do a good job and build a solid relationship with the DO, then you may have the option to either stay in that facility or you might be offered another facility within their company.
I hope this gives you some options to consider. Take it for what it’s worth. If this career is what you want to do, don’t be discouraged. It’ll happen. You just have to pick one direction and work it until you get where you want.