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Image of happy nurses celebrating our nurse of the month for October

Falling into Long-Term Care: October Spotlight Nurse Diana Dixon

“Diana is the one nurse everyone else turns to for good advice – and the one everyone counts on to have it done right. She’s a strong backbone in our network, and someone we all rely on. She is an excellent manager and a skilled teacher.”

Diana Dixon, R.N. told us she was “embarrassed” by this nomination to help PointClickCare celebrate the Year of the Nurse. But as far as we’re concerned, she was the perfect candidate for our October spotlight. Diana has “done it all” in long-term care. She’s excelled as a floor nurse, supervisor, manager, assistant director of nursing, and director of nursing. Today, Diana is the RN Resident Assessment Coordinator for HCR ManorCare, in its Livonia, Michigan facility, where she’s MDS coordinator and PDPM expert.

LTC Nursing is Just the Right Fit

A nurse for 37 years, Diana has spent nearly 23 of those years with HCR ManorCare. Her passion for helping others originally led her to the profession, and she found the long-term care setting especially appealing.

“I wanted to get to know the people I care for. In a hospital, the patients receive treatment and go home – it’s a short-term interaction. In long-term care, I’m able to make a connection with the residents and develop a rapport with them. Plus, I really like the geriatric population.” 

Diana is an enthusiastic member of the HCR ManorCare workforce, saying the not-for-profit operating in 27 states is a “good, reputable company that stands by its employees and encourages their growth.” She’s grateful for the opportunities she’s had in working with the older population.

“I love interacting with the residents, making sure they get good quality care, and being their advocate if they can’t speak for themselves.” 

Tech Eases Challenges in Every Role

Although she hasn’t worked as a staff nurse in more than 11 years, Diana still finds her job challenging. She needs to ensure the accuracy of resident documentation, knowing how important it is to understand how each person is doing functionally and medically.

“The timeliness of our MDS assessment is critical, to be sure we’re providing quality care, maintaining compliance with all regulations, and submitting information to our billing system. When we quickly capture a good, complete picture of a resident, it helps us identify any possible changes that warrant additional assessments, perhaps for referrals to therapy or dietary.”

Diana credits the increased use of technology for improving her job, along with many others in the nursing profession.

“Assessments are much simpler using a system like PointClickCare than they were years ago when everything was handwritten. The technology offers a huge savings on the time it takes to complete an assessment – it’s at least 100 percent better than what we had even 10 years ago.” 

Misconceptions of LTC Remain

Diana points to media stories and advertising that focus on the negatives in long-term care as primary sources for misconceptions about the industry.  She also notes that just as in all industries, there are some poor performers that harm LTC’s reputation.

“Some facilities don’t produce to the standards that HCR and other companies do, and that has a negative impact on people’s perceptions. They think that all nursing homes are bad places, when in fact that’s just not true!”

Giving Advice in the Autumn of a “Rewarding” Career

Diana has been working since she was 16 years old, so when asked where she sees herself in 10 years, she replied that she hopes to be “retired and enjoying my own elder years.” She readily admits that she’s a low-key person who doesn’t expect recognition or need a lot of guidance – she comes to work and does her job. Overall, she appreciates what nursing has given her.

“I don’t know that I would change anything I’ve ever done in my career. The residents drive me to keep going, to continue to do my very best at what I do.” 

For individuals considering the nursing profession, Diana has some very specific recommendations.

“Be patient. Patience is most important in nursing, because your job changes and evolves all the time. Always strive to be better than what you are, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and work to achieve whatever you have in your heart. Remember, you’re never too old to learn new things!”

While she didn’t seek the kudos, we congratulate Diana on her career and her selection as our October Nurse of the Month. We’ll give her nominator the last words:

“Diana is not flashy, just wise. Not arrogant, just correct. Not rigorous, just firm, and not overly sentimental, just compassionate. In essence, Diana is a solid nurse – a good nurse – an outstanding nurse.”

October 1, 2020