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How to Become a State Inspector for Nursing Homes

State Inspector for Nursing Home

Do you want to earn income working as a state inspector for nursing homes? If YES, here are 7 steps on how to become a state inspector for nursing homes.

A nursing home is a facility that has staff and equipment that are used to provide skilled nursing care and, in most cases, skilled rehabilitative services and other related health services to patients. These facilities are licensed by the state and are certified to participate in the Medicaid and/or Medicare programs.

Because of their participation in state provided Medicare and/or Medicaid programs, the state conducts inspection yearly on these nursing homes. During the nursing home inspection, the state looks at many aspects of the home. The inspection team observes resident care processes, staff/resident interaction, and the overall environment.

Using an established protocol, the team interviews a sample of residents and family members about their life within the nursing home. They interview caregivers and administrative staff as well. The team are also allowed to review clinical records of the home to ensure that facts add up.

These inspections are to determine whether the facilities are in compliance with state and federal standards of healthcare. If the nursing home is performing poorly, the state inspectors may be mandated to go in more frequently. Nursing homes are inspected based on the following categories:

Duties of a Nursing Home State Inspector

  • Administration

This category addresses how well the overall administration and management of a nursing home is carried out. The nursing home must meet the requirements established for items such as admissions, services provided, policies, records, financial resources and license.

  • Resident Services

This category addresses how well the facility renders services to the residents. The nursing home must meet the requirements established for items such as care staff, care planning, resident care, medication management, physician services, food services, nutrition, and activation/rehabilitation.

  • Human resources

This category addresses how well the facility ensures that staff employed at the facility is appropriately trained, properly licensed and skilled to perform the tasks assigned. The nursing home must ensure that there is a sufficient number of qualified and appropriately prepared staff to provide the services and programs offered by the nursing home.

  • Environment

This category addresses how well the facility maintains the resident environment to protect the health and safety of residents, staff and the public. The nursing home must ensure that the building, equipment and surroundings are maintained in accordance with established requirements.

Steps to Become a State Inspector for Nursing Homes

For one to become a state inspector for nursing homes, he or she must have a background in nursing or another healthcare field, the ability to interpret laws and regulations related to healthcare, as well as excellent written and communication skills.

They must enjoy travel since the position requires traveling from facility to facility on a regular basis. If you are setting your sights towards becoming a nursing home inspector in your state, these are the requirements you must fulfill before you can be considered for the position.

Note that each state may have some subtle differences in their requirements, so before your make an application in your state, endeavor to find out their standards.

  1. Complete your Coursework

Most states prefer hiring licensed registered nurses for these positions. While some states accept an associate’s degree, most prefer a bachelor’s degree. Being proficient on a computer is also required. A bachelor’s degree can be obtained from a state or private university. The type of medical facility can also determine the type of degree required.

For example, inspection of nursing care facilities may require a degree in nursing, while a social work degree may be needed to inspect mental health institutions. Again, qualifications vary, so understanding the hiring requirements for your prospective state of employment is essential.

  1. Obtain Appropriate Licensing

A number of states require licensing following graduation to be hired as a nursing home inspector. Nursing graduates commonly need to gain licensing as a practicing nurse. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing administers the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses and the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses.

These exams test nurses’ knowledge, skills and competence in the field. Various certifications or registrations may be essential as well for potential employees with a degree in a health-related field other than nursing.

  1. Seek for experience in a nursing home or similar facility

To be a nursing home inspector, you have to have significant knowledge of the industry which can best be obtained by working in it.

Plan to spend at least two years working in the field as a nurse or related healthcare professional. Be sure to stay on top of the changing state and federal laws and regulations related to nursing homes. Knowledge in this area will be essential when transitioning to an inspector position.

  1. Investigate your states’ hiring policies

Since nursing home inspectors fall under the jurisdiction of each state’s Department of Health or related agency, you need to check with them to determine hiring requirements. All states have official government web sites with job listings that describe specific requirements unique to your state.

  1. Submit your application following your state’s guidelines for applying for state jobs

For your application to be complete, you need to have references that can vouch for your understanding of nursing home laws and regulations and your ability to be objective and thorough in your investigations. While you get this, ensure you follow your state’s particular guideline while applying for this position so that your application can be considered.

  • Note

When looking for open positions, keep in mind that not all states use the title “Nursing Home Inspector.” In some states, they call the position “Medical Facility Inspectors” or “Long-Term Care Nurse Surveyors” or other similar titles.