The Rewards and Challenges of Running a Nursing Home
Nursing Home Administration Is "More Than a Job, It’s a calling" for Lander College for Men Alum Aharon Wolf
Lander College for Men alum Aharon Wolf shares his experience as a nursing home administrator and his advice for those interested in following in his footsteps.
What made you choose your career path?
By instinct and temperament, I’ve always gravitated toward caregiving. It was fortunate that my professional entry position as an assistant administrator at a highly regarded nursing home was a rich learning experience which validated my goals and chosen career.
Can you describe a day in your life on the job?
It’s fair to state that no two days in any given week or month are “typical.” This, for me, is a huge plus making each day on the job its own challenge! Every licensed long-term care facility is legally accountable to state government and held to rigorous national standards. Each day is a balancing act between essential staff meetings and those ‘emergencies’ to which I must respond. Inevitably, those urgencies arise just when multiple problems need attention, and personnel issues need a referee.
What do you like most about your role?
As the administrator, I derive many rewards from meeting daily problems and opportunities. These apply to every area of the facility’s operation: maintaining the highest standard of resident care, responding to myriad staff concerns, relating to families with tact and compassion, overseeing the physical plant and keeping watch over the budget.
What do you find most challenging about your career path?
Unless one aspires to a broad regional management job, a larger or higher-profile facility, or even ownership opportunities, the ultimate challenge is to transcend competence and move toward my own vision of excellence. The requirements are creativity and imagination while keeping the well-being of my residents as the highest priority.
How did your Touro education propel your career?
I could not have established my career without the strong foundation provided by Touro. My choice of psychology as my major provided a depth of human understanding that still serves me well. But above all, it is the deep roots of Jewish ethical tradition that strengthens and inspires me moving forward.
What advice do you have for others interested in your field?
If you do not have a present connection to a nursing home, visit several in your area. You will find, as I did, that it’s impossible not to come away with a visceral, emotional, even philosophical impression. Unlike any other career that comes to mind, this field is all-consuming. More than a job, it’s a calling. Your patients and their families deserve that degree of devotion.
How did the pandemic change your daily routine/the way you do your job?
The COVID-19 pandemic did not change my daily routine as much as it was intensified—exponentially! Reflecting the severe demands of time, energy and stamina placed on our staff, the hours at my desk on the phone with anxious family members, being responsive to challenging official bureaucracies and the stress of making almost daily virus-related judgments is indescribable.