Submitted by Brian del Poso, OTR/L, CHC, RAC-CT, Therapy Resource

As you all know and have heard, our organization considers itself a “leadership development company that happens to be in healthcare,” and we are always looking to develop the best and right leaders. On previous Therapy Leadership calls, we’ve had guest speakers who were former DORs who took on the challenge of becoming EDs, quite successfully we might add! Our organization recognizes how special our therapists and therapy leadership are and the potential that many of you possess.
In a continuing effort to tap into that potential and to foster and grow any thoughts you may have or have had about becoming an ED, we are starting a series of interviews with our former therapists/DORs turned ED, to get some further perspective. Here’s the first of the series from Stephanie Anderson out of Rock Creek of Ottawa in Kansas.

Thanks for taking the time to check out this interview, and if you want to talk further or have questions about becoming an ED or the AIT program, we encourage you to take the next step and start talking to folks. There are many ways to get more information and insight, such as your ED, Market, therapy resources, Clay Christensen, and/or any of the former DORs who are now successful EDs. If you’d like to talk further with Stephanie or any of our other former DORs, let us know and we’ll get you their contact info!

Question: What is your favorite part about being an ED?
Stephanie: I love that I am able to really take the time to focus on staff and residents. I get to spend my day “people-ing,” as I like to call it. Being on the floor, problem solving, getting to know the staff and residents on another level, and really driving the culture and vision I have for the building all make my day so enjoyable. The impact I can have as an ED in taking our building to the next level is what motivates me each and every day.

Question: As a DOR, you were in a good place in your career. What kinds of things were you thinking about when the thought of being an ED came up?
Stephanie: Can I really do this? Do I want to do this? How will my relationships change with my peers and team if I make this switch? I love this building, as it is in my hometown and I’ve seen the changes that have happened over the years. I joined Rock Creek of Ottawa during the acquisition in November 2018. Prior to the acquisition, the building didn’t have the best reputation, so I love that I can be part of fixing that. I took the DOR job with every intention to change the reputation here. As the ED, I feel I have more impact and push to continue to change. Me stepping into this role allows the community to continue to build trust in us.

Question: How did you come to the decision to push forward into the AIT/CIT program?
Stephanie: Our market lead actually approached me about the idea. My ED at the time had been telling me for a while that I would make a great ED someday, but that day came faster than I was anticipating! It was a little unconventional as I still served as the DOR while I was going through the AIT and I was able to complete the AIT in my home building. There were long days, but I was able to make my AIT experience a positive one. You really are the one responsible for making your AIT program great. My therapy department was operating well and I felt like I needed more. I was also able to connect with other EDs within Ensign that were DORs previously and went through AIT.

Question: You’ve been transitioning to this role during this rough time of the pandemic. Are there qualities or characteristics you took from being a DOR that have helped you with your transition during this time?
Stephanie: How to enhance culture across departments, clinical skillset as far as infection control and isolation room practices, implementing strategies to enhance residents’ quality of life and functional abilities, LTC programming, creative ways to drive revenue, seeing the business side of how the operation works, building a strong team and having the right people on your team to be successful, driving culture.

Question: What advice would you give to a therapist if they are thinking about becoming an ED or even just about the ED role in general?
Stephanie: I’ve been told that DORs who transition to EDs are the most successful. ☺ If you’re considering making the jump, I encourage you to reach out to people who have done it and gain perspective. The beauty about Ensign is that our culture and processes allow awesome things like this to happen!