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Overwhelmed in the aftermath of a federal survey

October 25, 2011
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I searched on Google for images of the word “overwhelmed” and you can only imagine what I saw. In truth, I thought I would see a picture of a long-term care nurse in the middle of one of those days. But we know that all of our days are one of those days.

I did see pictures of people with heads enlarged from the information contained within them or pictures of people trying to carry more than they can handle. All of those pictures looked like I feel right now. Additionally, I decided to look up the definition of overwhelmed:

To bury or drown beneath a huge mass—that is how I feel right now!

As I shared last month, our federal/state survey was a nightmare. Now is the task of writing the plan of correction, policies/procedures and quality assurance/assessment goals, and then we must prepare for our appeal. All of that on top of implementing and educating staff, with my normal jobs to complete as well. You all know what I am talking about; maybe not exactly the same tasks, but the same huge mass weighing us down.

I start out the day ready to take on the world and end in a tiny puff of smoke, only to go to bed with numerous things bouncing around in my head, keeping sleep at bay, and getting up in the morning to take my same track to work to see what the day holds. As I hear a familiar voice, I peek out from under a mountain of paperwork to see one of my CNAs, smiling and saying, “Good morning, it is a great day. Keep your head up, I know you can do this, I know we can do this.”

I smile and tell her thank you for reminding me. I am reminded that my staff is working with me, as hard as I am, to make the changes that are necessary to bring about the results that are needed to release this horrible stronghold that threatens to defeat us. We are a team, and as I write and evaluate, they implement and make it all work for our residents’ benefit. Our residents are our most valuable asset and they are why we do our jobs. Our residents and staff are why this overwhelmed director of nursing can continue to do the job that God has asked me to do. Overwhelmed, yes; but not alone!

The results of these changes and appeals are forthcoming…

Author Frieda Stewart, RN, is the PROUD Director of Nursing at Corn Heritage Village in Corn, Okla.; the owner and CEO of VitalAttitudes, LLC; and a public speaker who travels all across the United States.

Frieda Stewart


Author Frieda Stewart, RN, is the Director of Nursing at Corn Heritage Village in Corn, Oklahoma...



You are right.... It is only due to a Vocation which God has given us that we can endure these "slaps on the face", when we are really trying our best. It is an unfair system that says you are guilty until proven innocent, and unfortunately, that is the way the process is set up. It is meant to find fault, not to find the good things. It seems to insult nurses, who are expected to be PERFECT, when in reality , we are really just human and cannot meet a computer generated expectation. Machines can be perfect until you unplug them. I have been through 40 years of surveys, and I still hate the process of demeaning the facility by the very words they use in the citations. Continue to allow God to use you and your talents and gifts.