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A young administrator looks at training.

What sort of training do nursing home administrators need for today and tomorrow? Who better to ask than an administrator fresh out of training and whose entire working career lies in the future? NURSING HOMES Editor Richard L. Peck posed the questions:

Peck: What sort of training did you receive?

Shelton: At the University of Connecticut we had the didactic courses plus 900 hours of internship. The internship, of course, is where you really learn the most -- dietary, laundry, housekeeping, nursing, administration, business functions, such as payroll, workmen's comp, insurance, taxes. I was licensed in 1990, and I'm still learning in all of these areas from our administrator and department heads. I'm finding, though, that the area that is taking the most time and effort is human relations/personnel management.

An administrator once told me, "You spend 70% of your budget on labor, so you should spend about 70% of your time on personnel matters." I'm finding that to be true.

Peck: What do you consider to be the most pressing need for continuing training and education?

Shelton: The field is changing so rapidly -- increased competition, Medicare/Medicaid regulations, state budgeting concerns, employment problems, union negotiations, and so forth. The most important thing you can do is to keep up; you can't get out of step. So I try to get out as much as I can to get continuing education in these matters.

Peck: How would you say your situation compares with that of the administrator who was trained, say, 15 years ago or so?

Shelton: They all tell me, 'Boy, it isn't like the old days.' It's partly the OBRA reforms, which brought nursing homes up to a new level of operation. What I also hear is, "Documentation, documentation, documentation, that's all I do." That's not only because of OBRA, but because there are lawyers out there who are starting to find fertile ground in nursing homes, so documentation is essential. I get the feeling that things used to be a lot simpler.

Peck: Where do you see yourself 15 years from now?

Shelton: I'll probably always be involved in some type of institution-based health care delivery. Now, of course, we see a strong move toward increased home health care and toward specialized care, with nursing homes trying to find the niche that is most productive of reimbursement. I can see getting diversified and maybe branching out into home health care, because there are political pressures to initiate and fund non-institutional care. That's why I think that administrators, especially new ones, have to be flexible and ready to continually broaden their skills to adapt to all the changes that are going on.

It's important for me, though, to remember that our facility has a very important role in the community, and is seen as a leader in the provision of long-term care services. So we are, and should continue to be, well-situated to deliver the types of long-term care services that people want as times change.

Stephen Shelton is the Assistant Administrator for the Branford Hills Health Care Center, Branford, CT
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Title Annotation:Stephen Shelton
Author:Peck, Richard L.
Publication:Nursing Homes
Article Type:Interview
Date:Apr 1, 1993
Previous Article:Management skills for tomorrow's nursing home administrator.
Next Article:Picking the right CE course.

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