In the Spring of 1990, 28 Lakes Area DONs identified a need for an organization that would serve the needs of Long Term Care Directors. We felt a number of topics needed to be examined:

  • Challenges facing the DON.
  • The needs and expectations of the DON.
  • Constructive working relationships with administration as well as with employees.
  • A statewide networking system within a national organization.
  • The opportunity to be heard on a state level and to establish positions on matters which affect the

Several existing organizations were considered and it was determined the National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration/Long Term Care (NADONA/LTC) was the most appropriate. In July of 1990, National President, Joan Warden came to Minnesota and officially accepted the 28 Lakes Area DONs as founding members of MN-DONA/LTC. In 2002, the membership voted to dissolve the relationship with NADONA/LTC.

In 2005, the MN-DONA Board invited Michael Steinberg to facilitate a retreat which began the process of involving the members in the development of a new organizational Mission. A motivational Vision and a set of Core Values designed to help us keep our focus, maintain and grow value to our members and the long-term care community at large.

Once the focus was clear and the membership had endorsed the work thus far, the Board turned its attention to developing a leadership process and creating a plan to carry out the Mission and Vision into the future. Next steps were creating empowered Committees by defining roles and clearly outlining the authority to act for all MN-DONA Committees. This has led to the development of jurisdiction agreements and action plans for our committees. During this process, the decision was made to add a Spring Conference Committee.

Today our membership is over 200 strong. A number of members serve as liaisons between our organization and other long-term care groups such as Care Providers of Minnesota, LeadingAge of Minnesota, Center for Nursing Equity and Excellence (formerly MN Center of Nursing) and APIC. We meet routinely with staff from the Minnesota Department of Health and have three members serving on a Long Term Care Issues Ad Hoc Committee regarding survey challenges.

One of the greatest values MN-DONA members experience is networking. There is a generous and open sharing of information in all aspects of Long Term Care, best practices, including product information, survey results, nursing management, budgeting and relationship building. MN-DONA members who desire more active involvement may serve on various committees: Scholarship/Education; Publicity/Membership; Legislative; Finance/Auditing; Constitution/Bylaws; Nominating; and Spring Conference.

Each year MN-DONA hosts a Spring and Fall Conference which are dedicated to the professional and educational development of the Director of Nursing in Long Term Care. Scholarships are awarded at the conferences to advance education in Long Term Care. MN-DONA has organized prep classes for the ANA Gerontological Certification and has sponsored members to attend the MOLN Minnesota Public Policy Internship program. Additionally, MN-DONA collaborates with LeadingAge MN and Care Providers of MN for days at the capitol.

In 2014, in response to the evolution of our membership, MN-DONA voted to expand; including RNs in leadership roles in Assisted Living Facilities. In 2023 an Assisted Living Representative was added to the Board.

MN-DONA recognizes the importance of continued promotion of wellness and education in order to support the mission of our work.