The cars pull into our parking lot. The alert siren sounds throughout the building.
Survey is here.
I dread these few days out of each year, but have learned to deal with it as it comes. And it hasn’t been so bad—last year, one deficiency; the year before, 0. So I was not overly worried. Little did I know what my facility was in for.
I open the conference room door for them and in they file: one…, two…, three…, four…, five…, six…, seven…, eight! Six state surveyors and two federal. In 20-plus years, this is my first federal inspection.
I wish I could say that this went well and all is great in my world. As many of you know this is often not true when federal and state meet in your building. I cannot even begin to express the chaos and disrespect that my staff and residents endure for the next nine days. Yes, nine days of this torment. My staff is crying and my residents are begging for the surveyors to go away. Then there’s myself, the Director of Nursing, wondering, Why in the world did I choose this profession? Why would I choose nine days of anguish, nine days of scorn, nine days of trying to show the truth to closed minds?
Never have I felt so helpless and disgusted by a group of so-called “professionals.” With the turnover rate of Directors of Nursing at an all time high, I am feeling the full weight of why so many give up. Speaking for myself and my staff, we are an amazing facility. My staff members are all top notch professionals, led by me, Frieda Stewart, RN, who at that point felt about 2 inches tall. My confidence thrashed, my residents’ dignity ignored and my employees’ abilities ridiculed. How do I go on? Why should I go on?
Because of our residents, because of their smiles, because of their love!
I may be bent, but I am not broken. Too many have fallen victim to this industry—I will not be a casualty. In truth, the hope of a brighter tomorrow is in the way we treat our elders today.
In closing, we have yet to receive our official letter of deficiencies, but they left our building threatening 20 areas. From 0 to 20 … what is wrong with this picture?
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.