I was distressed to read the editorial by H . Terri Brower in the October issue . It, like so many other pieces about nursing homes, has succeeded in insulting our industry by making statements about nursing homes in general after having an experience in just one facility.
Dr Brower perceived "inadequate working conditions," a "dysfunctional organization, planning by crisis, a lack of employee development, and very low salary and benefits," and summarized her experience by observing that the nursing home in which she worked "is fairly typical of those found in Alabama or elsewhere." As a nurse, administrator, and owner of several long-tenr care facilities in Maine, I am outraged by her remarks.
Many qualified nurses are risking committing "professional suicide" b) daring to turn down positions in othei fields to work in long-term care facili ties in hopes of changing the image anc bringing improved care to older adults In our facilities, we pay competitivi wages and have benefits that match trn local acute-care market. Many of ou directors of nursing are prepared at th< master's level, all of our nurse manager are BSNs, and most are certified ii gerontological nursing by the ANA.
Each of our facilities follow the ANA guidelines for geriatric nursing and spend long hours in working on intei departmental cooperation and com munication to ensure that the right hand knows what the left is doing and tha each staff member is given respect and support. Instead of "managing by cri sis," we have weekly management staf meetings in each facility, and all of ou administrators meet weekly for policy setting and problem-solving. Al departments use a quality circle method of communicating with, their staff, and communication tool we designed had been published in a national health-car journal.
We provide exceptional inservice education, attend and participate in national and state conferences, an have developed many training films We have authored our own softwar package for computerized medical record, and we average at least one pub lication in a major nursing or health care field publication each year. With enjoy deficiency-free surveys and a excellent reputation. Our oral medical tions are passed by Certified Medical tion Technicians, which frees the licensed staff for otiier duties.
I hope that in the future Dr Brower will write from a position of knowledge rather than from one of ignorance and generalization. She has dealt a blow to those of us who are breaking our backs "in the trenches."