Director of Nursing Job Description Template

A facility's director of nursing, meeting with her staff.

The director of nursing (DON) is the highest-ranking nurse at nursing homes, residences, and post-acute care facilities. Like a linchpin, the DON holds all the various and complex pieces of a facility together to ensure optimal nursing operations provide high-quality patient care.

An intentional and well-written director of nursing job description is the first step in finding the best candidate to fill this important position. Enhance your talent search using the following tips and example language to craft your search-optimized job postings. Once you’ve found the best candidates, you can identify your top DON candidate through carefully selected interview questions.

If you’re hiring for multiple nursing positions, we also offer the following templates: CNA job description, LPN job description, and RN job description. Now on to creating your DON job description!

Director of Nursing (DON)

Tips: The introduction of your director of nursing job description, which should be one to two paragraphs long, is a snapshot of who you are as an employer. Share your mission, values, and work culture with your prospective candidates. Highlight special awards, accreditations, and ratings. Grab their attention by providing a few benefits that make your team and organization stand out in a competitive market.

In this section, you’ll also present a high-level overview of your DON position and define your ideal candidate. In addition, describe the facility’s work environment and community. Provide nearby areas of interest, restaurants, and available public transportation.


Tips: Now that the job posting has caught the potential applicant’s attention, they’ll be interested in the perks of working for your organization. Keep them engaged by promoting your benefits with care so as not to exaggerate them. Potential DON applicants will quickly move to the next job posting if they sense any hint of embellishment.


  • Affordable medical, dental, and vision insurance
  • Health Savings Account (HSA) and Flexible Spending Account (FSA) options
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP) support
  • 10 paid holidays
  • Generous PTO
  • Matching 401k (or 403b for a nonprofit)
  • Continuing education benefits
  • Tuition reimbursement for approved programs

Duties and Responsibilities

Tips: After learning about your organization and its benefits, the potential DON applicant will now want specific details about the job. In this section of the director of nursing job description, you’ll draft a bullet list of the role’s day-to-day activities and overall responsibilities. It’s best to begin each line with active verbs, be succinct in your descriptions, and place the most important and frequently performed duties at the top of the list.


  • Ensuring the delivery of nursing care to residents according to professional standards
  • Managing facility compliance with corporate, regulatory, and accreditation requirements
  • Developing and implementing facility policies, procedures, and standards of care
  • Assigning adequate and appropriate staffing for all shifts within state guidelines
  • Leading and providing direction to staff in performing their duties
  • Hiring, supervising, and reviewing the performance of nurse managers, nurses, and support staff, and providing remediation when needed
  • Managing facility operations, business planning, and productivity standards
  • Meeting fiscal responsibilities through budget planning, implementation, and monitoring
  • Overseeing inventory, order processing, and distribution of nursing and medical supplies
  • Serving as a liaison between administration, multidisciplinary healthcare staff, residents, and families, and resolving conflicts as needed

Compensation and Schedule

Tips: Once the applicant has decided they’re a good fit for the director of nursing position, they’ll want to know about pay and time. The qualified nurse leader may only consider a posting if the director of nursing job description includes a salary range. Doing so will also save time and resources for everyone in cases where salary potential doesn’t meet a candidate’s needs. It’s an excellent opportunity to list any incentives or bonuses associated with the position.

The DON works long hours to meet the needs of your residents, staff, and facility. The flexibility to balance work and life responsibilities will help you attract and retain top talent. Highlight whether you offer compensatory (comp) time off or any other perks. If there are any mandatory schedule requirements, clearly state that in this section as well.


  • Director of nursing pay range: $134,000 – $176,000
  • Key Performance Indicator (KPI) bonus opportunities
  • Bi-weekly or weekly pay periods
  • Monday through Friday day shift
  • Mandatory on-call during non-business hours

Qualifications and Skills

Tips: You’ll find the right person for your position by clearly identifying the necessary background and abilities in your director of nurses job description. Be sure to differentiate between mandatory versus preferred qualifications and skills. While the goal is to draw in the top talent, you don’t want to inadvertently diminish your applicant pool with optional, “nice to have” requests. This is also where you’ll list any license, education, and Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requirements for director of nursing positions.


  • Active and unrestricted RN License
  • Bachelors of Nursing from an accredited school
  • Masters of Nursing (preferred)
  • Current American Heart Association (AHA) CPR certification
  • Minimum 2 years of experience as a nurse supervisor or manager
  • Minimum 3 to 5 years of nursing experience in long-term or post-acute care
  • Working knowledge of government regulations and healthcare best practices
  • Excellent communication, organization, and leadership skills
  • Basic budgeting and financial management skills

Call to Action

Tips: The call to action is where all your hard work drafting an effective director of nursing job description pays off. Make it quick and simple for potential candidates to apply immediately with a direct website link or button to your job application site. Before publishing your job description, consider having your human resources (HR) representative review and approve it.


Ready for the next best step in your nursing management career? Start today by clicking the “apply now” button and submitting your application with us.

Looking to Support Your Next DON?

The director of nursing job description provides an impressive list of responsibilities, making it easy to understand why supporting and retaining your next top nursing leader is essential. Learn how IntelyCare can equip your facility with the right staffing solutions that will give your DON the time and resources they need to succeed in all their responsibilities.