News & Press Releases

Study Shows Nursing Home Administrators ‘Satisfied But Disenchanted’ With Work

Press Room – 2007 NIC Press Releases

Study Shows Nursing Home Administrators ‘Satisfied But Disenchanted’ With Work

Paper Wins Peer-Reviewed Award From National Investment Center

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 20, 2007
Contact: Renee Tilton, (410) 626-0805 or

Annapolis, Md. – Nursing home administrators (NHAs) are increasingly struggling with the legal and regulatory requirements that are infringing on their ability to deliver “compassionate caregiving,” according to Dr. Vivian Tellis-Nayak, vice president for research for My Innerview. He was the author of the winning paper, “The Satisfied but Disenchanted Leaders in Long-Term Care: The Paradox of the Nursing Home Administrator,” in the 2007 Seniors Housing & Care Journal.

The peer-reviewed Journal, published annually by the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry (NIC) for the last 15 years, contains white papers on current issues for the senior living industry. Dr. David A. Lindeman, director of the Evanston, Ill.-based Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging, served as managing editor and oversaw the process of selecting the winning paper.

“This article presents thought-provoking challenges,” said Robert G. Kramer, president of NIC. “It focuses on the 17,000 administrators who shoulder the awesome responsibility of ensuring quality of life for more than one million older adults and oversee more than 1.3 million staff. They are the architects and pillars of long-term care quality. But a survey done with more than 600 nursing home administrators shows their conflict: caregiving is their calling, yet they have limited time to do it.”

“Every day, administrators are leaving their jobs out of frustration, putting older adults, whose quality of life depends on them, in jeopardy,” said Tellis-Nayak. “More than 7,000 NHAs will leave their jobs this year, just as they did last year and the year before. When they leave unexpectedly, care systems fall apart, quality indicators turn negative and turnover worsens among nursing staff.”

Some key findings from the study:

  • About 40 percent of NHAs leave their job every year – and an overwhelming majority do so voluntarily.
  • Three in four NHAs have seriously considered quitting; 50 percent expect to be gone within five years.
  • Although it has stabilized during the last two years, the number of incoming candidates who take the NHA licensure exam has fallen by 40 percent in four years.
  • NHAs are satisfied with their calling to provide care and the rewards that come when they relate, bond and make a difference in the lives of others. More than 58 percent “strongly agree” that residents are the source of their satisfaction.
  • However, there is a “widening fault line that splits their role and strains their commitment.” This is due to legal, regulatory and corporate pressures that “eclipse this calling, expecting an NHA to be a compliance officer, a risk manager and an entrepreneur all rolled into one.”
  • NHAs who are frustrated with regulations and difficult families run an 80 to a 90 percent risk of quitting.

The study addresses the ways these pressures cripple NHAs and recommends specific initiatives to address their concerns. It also serves as an alert to policymakers, providers and others as to the conditions that are eroding the morale and ranks of the nation’s top caregivers.

In addition to being recognized in the Journal as the top paper, the winning author receives a plaque and cash award. GE Healthcare Financial Services has been the award sponsor for several years and John Cobb, senior managing director, presented a $5,000 check to Tellis-Nayak at the recent Annual NIC Conference, which draws 1,600 seniors housing and care leaders. “This is a great article that comes from a data-driven perspective,” said Cobb, “and we encourage everyone to read it.”

Other papers in this year’s Journal focus on connecting affordable seniors housing and services; the need for government support for rehabilitating aging low-income senior properties; disaster planning in senior living; integrating sidewalks and walking paths to maintain and improve health; a guideline for indoor lighting; best practices in design and management of assisted living facilities; and the awareness, attitudes and usage of retirement and age-qualified properties by households 60 years and older.

Copies of the 2007 Seniors Housing & Care Journal are available through NIC for $95. Limited quantities of the Journal from previous years are available for $50. To order, visit


Founded in 1991, the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry is a nonprofit organization providing information about business strategy and capital formation for the senior living industry. Proceeds from its annual conference – scheduled next for Sept.10-12, 2008, in Chicago, Ill. – are used to fund research and data that lead to informed investment decision-making to advance the seniors housing and care industry. For more information about NIC, visit or call (410) 267-0504.

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