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Call to Action for Assisted Living Administrators!

Jan 1, 2020

Jennifer Pryor, MA, MS, LALFA

Since we’ve entered the holiday season, I have had much on my mind about giving back and making a contribution. I have been very fortunate in my career to work with some amazing and passionate individuals who share my vision for changing the way we educate, train, and mentor new administrators. I have especially enjoyed the discussions we have about what that can mean for the care and services that are provided in the long-term care sector. I was honored to be invited to attend the Vision 2025: University and Senior Housing and Care Symposium in Chicago this past summer. While there, members from universities, national stakeholder organizations, and providers of long-term care services came together to discuss how we can do better together. The energy in the room was high and it was exciting to see so many key players from every facet come together to discuss important topics such as preceptorship, administrator in training (AIT) opportunities, key competencies and skills needed for new administrators, and so much more. What was especially exciting to see was two of the speakers for the day get up and discuss how ageism is a barrier to the work we try to do in long term care. We have so much work to do together!

As Vision 2025 continues to move forward with national strategic planning, I am more encouraged than ever to carry the flag in Virginia for our students and communities. What came out of this meeting, and what I heard reinforced at the November meeting for the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB) was that we need high quality preceptors who can mentor our students into their careers as licensed administrators. So my first request is this: If you are a licensed administrator, and you’ve been thinking about ways you can give back – consider volunteering to be a preceptor and pass along your knowledge and skills. There are many great resources from NAB that are available to help you prepare to become a preceptor. As a bonus, if you precept one of our MS in Gerontology students, you will be connected to us directly as an additional resource to help support our student and your staff and residents! According to the last Virginia Long Term Care Administrator Workforce survey we need to be proactive replenish the administrator pool. This brings me to my second request: AITs oftentimes have to complete their programs while being unemployed. In order to attract more people into this profession, we need to strategize about how AITs can be paid positions within your communities. There are successful models in place in other long-term care administration programs across the nation, and I would love to connect with you to discuss how we can make this work for your community and our students.

I want to thank the administrators who have provided guidance and shared their wisdom with our students. Your commitment to the profession is immense. I am honored to be able to work with each of you as we help our students develop their skills and become the next leaders in Assisted Living Administration. I wish everyone the happiest of holidays and the best fortune for the New Year!