Interim Administrator Services

"Help Is on the Way: Ten Tips for Hiring an Interim Administrator"

By Sheree Parris Nudd

In an ideal world your skilled nursing facility’s administrators fit in well, keep things humming along at a healthy profit margin, and have an average tenure of 20 years each!

But it’s much more likely that real life intervenes. 

Maybe there’s an unexpected medical leave of absence.  Or some other change means that you need to launch a search for a permanent administrator.

As you find yourself making urgent calls to hire an interim administrator, here are a few tips you might use to help things go a little smoother.

1. Think through what you need
Are you hiring the interim administrator to be a “place holder” or a change agent?  One of the important things is for both parties to have a very clear understanding of the expectations.

2. Hire experience
You'll gain valuable insight and information from your interim administrator through this transition time. Some of this insight would not be tapped in any other way.

3. Give your interim a rundown on the team
Let your interim know who the solid performers are.  Your interim administrator must assimilate a great deal of information very quickly.  It’s good to know which information sources are the most accurate and which employees are the informal influencers.

4. Identify sacred cows
It’s important to let your interim administrator know if there are sacred cows or hot spots that need attention. The better your interim can anticipate issues, the more overall productivity will be positively affected.

5. Delineate decision-making style
Do you wish to be consulted for major decisions?  About what events or incidents would you want to be immediately notified?  How do you want your interim to keep you informed and how much detail do you want?  What kinds of purchases need higher approval?

6. Describe the culture
Communicate as much as possible about the culture of the organization and the priorities of the interim period.  Disclose which staff members might “test” the administrator and on what topics.  Examples:  Staff members come to the interim administrator saying that they were promised raises that never materialized, or to lay claim to scores of “comp time” hours, even though there’s a "No Comp Time" policy. 

7. Inform your Interim Administrator of where to send official notifications
Discuss with the interim any necessary written notifications of the administrative change that need to go to state and local governing bodies, of posting license(s), etc.

8. Position your interim
Make time to be the one to introduce your interim administrator to department heads and staff.  It's also possible that your interim administrator could be a good fit for your organization as the permanent administrator.

9. Channel change for good
There’s no getting around the fact that change (yes, even good change) is stressful for staff members, residents, and family members.  This can often trigger unhealthy behaviors, such as the time one rehabilitation center had an already marginally performing department head abandon her post without notice.

By the same token, the stress of change can be channeled into a “creative conspiracy for good.”  For example, an interim administrator can help the organization move forward during this critical juncture.  When done well, it’s healthy for the facility, beneficial to your residents, and gratifying to your dedicated, hard-working caregivers. 

10. Avoid the information vacuum
The amount of communication from the interim administrator is directly linked to the stress level your facility will experience.  Good interim administrators are adept at connecting with individuals and building trust within a very short period of time.  Abundant communication takes the stress down during a time when messages could otherwise become garbled. 

With high cooperation and high communication, you can look back on the transition time when your facility had an interim administrator as one of productivity and progress.

Sheree Parris Nudd provides interim administrator and executive director services.  She is a Fellow in the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy and a nursing home administrator licensed in Maryland, Hawaii, and Colorado.  She may be reached at

This article was first published in Lifespan Magazine.