My Personal Story: Working In Skilled Nursing Facilities

The reason I am telling about my five year stint, as a charge nurse at a skilled nursing facility is because, I feel that others, including nurses, certified nursing assistants, and family members of residents in nursing homes should know what goes on behind closed doors.


My first nursing job was at a hospital, where I worked on a med/surg floor for nearly three years. This was a very difficult job, but I was awarded the opportunity to learn and practice many different nursing skills. I became proficient at what I did, but as anything else, I soon tired of the long rigorous hours, fast pace environment, and extremely, stressful situations. I decided to try my hand at skilled nursing. I would still be employed at the same hospital, but would be switching to the skilled nursing unit, which held about ten patients. This facility worked as a step-down unit for patients that were recovering from total hip replacement, CVA (stroke), coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), and many of them required chronic would management.


Before I fully committed to the change, I was given a walk-through of the facility I was immediately impressed on how well the nurses, where able to manage their time more efficiently and provide one-on-one patient care, without the need to give bed baths and help feed patients. Believe me, when I say, “looks can be very deceiving”. They must have seen me coming a mile away. After a week of shadowing and training, I was shocked to learn how overworked and overwhelmed the skilled nurses were, with the never-ending workload. I worked in that same unit for nearly two years, until I up and relocated to another state, where I decided to take another career path.


I later, went back to skilled nursing, but at a private facility, which held around three hundred residents. This was one of the best jobs I have ever had and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Although, it was a challenging job, I was rewarded in many ways. Not everything about being a skilled nurse is fun and games. There are many things that go on in nursing homes that are never leaked to the public. Most issues came from certified nursing assistants that only work to get a paycheck. I’m not saying that, you should not get paid for providing care to the elderly and debilitated residents in nursing homes; I’m only saying that you should take pride in what you do, especially when you are taking care of others.


Nursing homes are always changing ownership and with that come administration changes, which always affect the way the facilities operates. Sometimes, this can be for the better, but sometimes it is just the opposite. Most of the time, staff members are expected to see decreased benefits, which is not really fair, but many employees commit to their jobs and stay under all circumstances and changes.


I have seen some poor nursing care and poor certified nursing care by many staff members. Nursing facilities are not keen on firing their employees, because it is very expensive to hire and train new employees. They will discipline, but only lightly, which is a shame. I have seen many employees, whom should have been fired on the spot get away with many wrong doings. One thing that I have never seen is gross negligence, but fairly close to it, without disciplinary actions being taken.


With future posts, I plan on going into further details about my experiences and the negligence often committed by nurses and likeminded staff members.