Who we are

Since 1986, the National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration in Long Term Care (NADONA) has been THE leading advocate, mentor, and educational organization for DONs, ADONs, RNs, and Nurse Leaders in long-term and post-acute care.  NADONA was founded by, and our board of trustees still consists of, LTC professionals. We understand your daily challenges, and are here to provide you with the tools you need for professional success.

How We Began

A brief history of NADONA. Since 1986, NADONA has reached many milestones as an organization. Our continued growth is due to our members and their ongoing support and input. Your challenges are our challenges, and we respond daily by creating new resources, tools and programs that support your professional growth and development.


1986 NADONA founded in St. Louis, MO with 40 original members from 13 states.  NADONA establishes ongoing presence on Capitol Hill, giving legislators the “real story”.
1987 Nationally-recognized NADONA/LTC Certification Exam is created – by DONs, for DONs. Added Credibility and professional esteem are enjoyed by more than 5000 members in 2004.  First national conference held in Orlando, FL.
1988 Toll-free Reference & Research Library for Directors of Nursing is complete. It’s your own personal research assistant at your fingertips.
1989 First DON of the Year awarded at annual conference. We recognize the best in our profession annually.
1990 Membership reaches 1000 members in 25 states
1991 NADONA’s first scholarship is awarded at annual conference. More than $15K is given annually to our members.
1993 Debut of The Director Journal. The first professional journal published exclusively for DONs in LTC.
1996 Debut of Standards of Practice for Directors of Nursing. The first publication of its kind for DONs in LTC.
1997 www.nadona.org is launched. Academy of Fellows established. Fellows oversee and review certification exam and process.
1999 Mentor for Members hotline launched. Dial 1.800.374.9554 and receive professional advice and insight from an LTC veteran.
2000 Circle of Excellence established. NADONA’s first National recognition program for deficiency-free facilities. This comprehensive online resource for members has tripled in content since its launch.
2001 NADONA moves into new offices, and becomes a member of the CGNO (coalition of Geriatric Nurse Organizations)
2002 OSHA partners with NADONA in national program launch. Betty Frandsen President
2003 Top 5 nursing home corporations bring their DONs to NADONA.   Membership reaches 5500, representing 30 states and Canada.  Launch of online certification program NADONA Online University is founded. Sherrie Dornberger elected President.
  2006 20th Anniversary in St. Louis Missouri, Inauguration of the NADONA Fellows program (FACDONA).  Advancing Excellence in America’s Nursing Homes is a two-year, coalition-based campaign concerned with how we care for elderly and disabled citizens. NADONA was part of the steering committee for a broad range of stakeholders in quality long-term care that provide ongoing strategy development, guidance and in-kind support for the campaign.  Ed McMahon keynotes National conference. NADONA joins LTCPLC with AMDA, ASCP and ACHCA (Long term care professional leadership council).  LTCPLC develops Core Competencies in LTC.
2007 NADONA’S 20th annual Conference Las Vegas, with record breaking attendance.  Change in management.  Johnson and Johnson’s Image of nursing Andrea Freiberg keynotes annual conference in Las Vegas.
2008 Development of the Assisted Living Certification exam.  IOM Report on Retooling for an Aging America.  LPN Certification development.  Certifications are now available online.  Mentor program goes virtual with info@nadona.org address.  MatureHealth partners with NADONA for their conference.  NADONA joins Eldercare work force alliance.  Karyn Buxam Keynotes annual conference in Nashville Tennessee.  Marianna Kern Grachek is awarded the 2008 Honorary Member of the Year.
2009 PharMerica sponsors NADONA Stephanie Carroll Scholarships to honor nurses during Nurses Week.  Phase 2 of Advancing Excellence begins.  Grant received to develop Diabetic Certification exam for LTC nurses.  MatureHealth partners with NADONA to publish “The Director”.  Pioneer Network founded and funded by the Commonwealth to explore nursing’s role in culture change; 16 culture change competencies were announced. LeAnn Theiman keynotes annual conference. PharMerica Corporation is awarded the 2009 Honorary Member of the Year.
2010 Certified DON (CDONA) exam is updated.  Diabetic Certification exam goes live online with modules and test.  Electronic Voting for National Board members.  IOM Future of Nursing report, leading change, advancing health released.  NADONA re-establishes 5-year goals based on the IOM report. Gina Kaurich leaves as NADONA Executive Director.  Advancing Excellence incorporates. Greg Risberg keynotes conference in Atlanta, Ga.  Sarah Jerro, MA, RN is the Honorary Member of the Year. Sarah also serves as NADONA’s Lead Nurse Planner.
2011 DON Field Guide, study guide for the CDONA exam, becomes available.  Establishment of the Corporate Partners program.  NADONA certification review given at National conference.  Signature Health Care enrolls their nurses to complete the Diabetic Exam.  Sherrie Dornberger is appointed Interim Executive Director by the NADONA Board.  Debbie Afasano, annual conference keynote speaker. Leah Klusch is Honorary Member of the Year.
2012 E- newsletter developed, to keep members up to date with news monthly. NCCDP offered at July conference.  Thanks to the Wallerstein Grant, members become Certified Dementia practitioners. Master trainers developed to teach live boot camps and programs across the country.  Sherrie Dornberger appointed Executive Director by the NADONA Board.  Robin Arnicar becomes NADONA President.  NADONA partners with Medscape and AMDA for CE Dementia programs.  Lisa Thomson keynotes annual conference. Tina Magazine from GOJO is the Honorary Member of the Year.  Nancy Beecham wins the Nurse Leader of the Year.
2013 NADONA awards $20,000 in scholarships with sponsorship from PharMerica.  Dr. Richard Stefanacci is the Honorary Member of the Year at the Vegas conference. Amanda Kistler is awarded Nurse Leader of the Year. Sarah Jerro, the Lead Nurse Planner and the Nurse Planners successfully are awarded the ability to provide CE’s. NAB’s the Administrator Board awards NADONA sponsor status for awarding an increasing number of NAB credits to members. Wallerstein grant is once again awarded for the CDP preconference training through the NCCDP. Dan Cohen, Executive Director of Music and Memory is the keynote speaker at the conference. The CADDCT training took place as a pre-con at the annual conference, provided by NCCDP.  Purdue Pharma sponsors one year of the E-Newsletter.
2014 Robin Arnicar starts her second term as NADONA President.   The 2014 National Conference was at Disneyworld, Anaheim California.  PharMerica continues with its $20,000 sponsorship of the Stephanie Carroll scholarship program.  Angela Littke, North Carolina, is awarded Nurse Leader of the Year.  Dr. Nimalie Stone is awarded the Honorary Member of the Year. A special committee Chaired by Nancy Beecham, CA. are revamping and updating the DON Standards of Practice guidelines. NADONA adds a staff member. The quarterly issue of the Director is viewed by over 20,000 readers per quarter. It is hosted on the NADONA website and at the Nurses Lounge, NADONA’s partner, which is a social media site for nurses.
2015 The 2015 National Conference was in Atlanta, GA.  PharMerica continues their support of the Stephanie Carroll Scholarship.  Lina Dureza is named National Nurse Leader of the Year.  Lisa Thomson, Pathways is named Honorary Member of the Year.  Sherrie Dornberger, NADONA Executive Director, appointed to the President’s PACCARB Committee for the duration of 2015 – 2018.  She is the only Nurse represented on the committee in the entire nation.  Our journal, The Director, is now recognized by the Library of Congress and is now being indexed in the Google Scholar database, which is the first time that the publication has been listed in the peer reviewed literature.
2016 The 2016 National Conference was in Austin, TX.  NADONA’s Nurse Leader of the Year was presented to Lisa Stubenrauch, WA.  Honorary Member of the Year was Dr. Hudson Garrett.  NADONA introduces the IP-BC (Infection Prevention Board Certification).
2017 NADONA celebrates their 30th Anniversary National Conference at Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, FL.   Nurse Leader of the Year was Michael Champion, TX.  Michael Bell, MD was named Honorary Member of the Year.  Sherrie Dornberger, NADONA Executive Director, receives the Governor’s Award in Executive Leadership and is presented by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.  NADONA introduces the Executive Leadership Academy Program.  Robin Arnicar resigns as President after 7 years of service to the NADONA Board.  Amanda Kistler is appointed as interim NADONA President, and subsequently elected to the position.  NADONA introduces their ASCOM program (Anti-biotic Stewardship Certificate of Mastery).
2018 NADONA National Conference venue is at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel/Devos Plaza, Grand Rapids, MI; Executive Fellows Leadership Academy is established; Inaugural Class of Executive Fellows Leadership Academy Graduates at National Conference
2019 NADONA National Conference venue is at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas, NV
2020 Covid hits and we hold our first virtual conference; Alicia Fereno, wins Nurse Leader of the Year
2021 NADONA National Conference venue is at Niagara Falls Convention Center, Niagara Falls, NY;  The Director wins a national advertising award for its Covid front cover design; Steven Misaggio wins Nurse Leader of the Year; The establishment of the Amanda Kistler Scholarships in memory and honor of our departed President, Amanda Kistler.
2022 NADONA National Conference venue is at New Orleans Sheraton, New Orleans, LA; Agustin Guido III wins Nurse Leader of the Year; Addition of the CALN review course to the certification prep material.



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