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5 Healthcare Administration Jobs for Nurses

Healthcare is a business. If nurses want to excel in leadership roles, they need to combine their professional nursing experience with business education. Numerous career paths are available for nurses with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Nursing Administration, including opportunities beyond the traditional hospital organization.  

While an MSN degree can open up many positions for healthcare professionals, the following are five healthcare administration jobs across management levels and settings and their average salaries:

1. Clinical Manager, Nurse Manager, Nurse Supervisor or Nurse Leader

These positions require nurses who work closely with clinical staff in a particular area. They typically manage the nursing services of one place, department or multiple sites. For example, a clinical director of a significant level II or level III neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) may manage all staff in the NICU. The average salary for a nurse manager is $86,470 per year, with much higher wages for those in leadership or in specific regions of the U.S.

2. Director of Nursing

If your primary goal is to create a collaborative and efficient workplace with quality patient care, you might want to consider a director of nursing (DON) role. DONs oversee nursing staff and overall nursing operations at their facility, sometimes including all clinical services. These nurses are responsible for developing objectives and long-term goals for nursing, maintaining departmental budgets and resolving issues and deficiencies. Responsibilities often include setting and enforcing policies for legal compliance, certifications and high-quality standards. The scope of practice depends on the type of facility (e.g., hospice, rehabilitation, acute care) and the size and number of patients each year. The average DON salary is $90,613, with some of the highest salaries in California and New York.

3. Service Line Director

If you have a specialty certification or an interest in a specific patient population, then a service line or administrative director position may be the right fit for you. Some healthcare organizations refer to a service line as a “center of excellence.” A service line is a specific grouping or population of similar patients in areas like oncology, women’s and children’s services, orthopedics or cardiovascular services.

The goal of the service line is to follow the patient’s path through the care process for a more coordinated, patient-centered approach. Nurses in this role assume accountability and responsibility for the management and development of programs within that service line and the successful operation and results of designated care areas, such as acute care or the ambulatory setting. The role also requires developing strategic partnerships with key providers or provider groups. Director compensation varies depending on city, certification, skills and years in the area. For example, the average salary for this role in the state of Texas is $169,000, according to

4. Chief Nursing Officer (CNO)

A CNO is one of the highest nursing administrative positions within healthcare. This nurse is a member of the administrative or executive team and ultimately responds to nursing standards and practice regardless of the care area. In larger organizations, they may report to a vice president of patient care services or be on the executive team with chiefs in other organizations. For example, they may serve alongside the chief operating officer, chief financial officer and chief executive officer. The CNO also may work with government agencies, group practices, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities or corporate offices.

A key responsibility of this position is to cultivate relations across departments and serve as the official spokesperson for nursing. CNOs closely monitor quality metrics to identify strategies to improve employee and consumer satisfaction. In addition, they are responsible for cost-effective systems that support business trends and mission goals.

5. Consultant

Numerous roles outside of a traditional organization are available for nurses with an MSN in healthcare. For example, The Joint Commission and other nonprofit accreditation organizations hire consultants to provide on-site consultation, education, assistance to hospitals and healthcare systems to improve patient care, quality and safety. In addition, many law offices, legal groups and healthcare organizations hire legal nurse consultants to perform critical analyses of complex medical information to render and inform an objective opinion on medical-legal matters. According to Indeed, the average annual salary for nurse consultants in the U.S. is $88,209.

Increasing the business savvy of nurses is essential to creating influential leaders of tomorrow. In addition, nurses must be willing to stay abreast of changing healthcare standards in all roles. An MSN degree in nursing administration prepares nurses for exciting careers in various healthcare settings, including positions outside of traditional organizations.

Learn more about The University of Texas at Arlington’s online MSN in Nursing Administration program.

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