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Why Nurse Administrators Need Financial Management Skills

In primary and secondary school, there is an emphasis on subjects such as history, science, math, and language and writing, but what about finance? Not every student gets formal education on financial health and knowledge, and some of the most educated individuals wrestle with balancing their bank accounts.

One consideration specific to healthcare is that financial literacy plays a key role in the nursing profession. There are many nuances beyond bedside patient care, including the financial aspects of keeping a nursing department running efficiently.

Those interested in managing the finances and other aspects of running a nursing department can learn more about such responsibilities in an online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Nursing Administration program, like the one offered by The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). Before dissecting the financial aspects of nursing administration, it’s vital to fully understand an administrator’s role within the greater scope of healthcare.

Responsibilities of a Nurse Administrator

Nurse administrators are involved in managing and leading nursing departments or healthcare facilities. Their responsibilities include the following:

  • Supervision: Oversee the nursing staff to make sure they provide quality care to patients. This also includes managing staffing schedules to ensure all shifts are adequately covered.
  • Recruitment and training: Hire nursing staff and ensure they are properly trained and participate in any available continuing education programs.
  • Policy development and implementation: Develop and implement policies that adhere to healthcare laws and regulations. Nurse administrators have a tremendous opportunity to advise policymakers on needs and trends within the healthcare industry.
  • Quality assurance: Guarantee healthcare services meet the necessary standards. This is highly important to avoid potential medical malpractice lawsuits.
  • Budget management: Oversee the financial aspects, including the budget, of the nursing department or healthcare facility.
  • Communication: Act as a liaison among the nursing staff and other departments, administrators and leadership.

Core Competencies of Nurse Administrators

The American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) has outlined a core set of competency domains for healthcare leadership that highlights the importance of financial management skills. The related report delves into why nurse administrators must possess financial management and literacy skills. The core competencies, as stated by AONE, include:

  • Communication and relationship management
  • Professionalism
  • Knowledge of the healthcare environment
  • Business skills and principles

AONE further breaks each competency into specific components, and all four categories intersect to form a holistic approach to leadership — a crucial skillset nurse administrators must possess. Leadership represents the over-arching tenet that guides nurse administrators in their day-to-day duties.

Why Financial Management Skills Are Imperative

Per AONE’s description, knowledge of the healthcare environment involves understanding healthcare economics and policies, regulatory and payment processes, organizational finances, federal and state laws impacting healthcare and governing bodies. Nurse administrators must be adept at navigating these areas as they are often involved in decision-making processes that can have financial repercussions for the organization.

Regarding the “business skills and principles” core competency, financial management is particularly critical as nurse administrators often oversee budgets and resources. They must ensure the department operates within its budget while maintaining the highest levels of care. This involves making informed decisions on resource allocation, evaluating the cost-effectiveness of services and finding ways to optimize operational efficiency.

Additionally, nurse administrators need to be financially literate to communicate effectively with stakeholders and participate in strategic planning. They should be able to analyze financial reports, understand funding sources and interpret financial data to make informed decisions.

Equipping Nurse Administrators With Financial Literacy Through Higher Education

UTA recognizes the importance of financial management skills for nurse administrators and incorporates relevant coursework in its online MSN in Nursing Administration program. This program equips graduates with the essential skills to excel in healthcare leadership roles.

One notable course is Financial Management in Nursing, which specifically addresses the financial responsibilities of nurse administrators. This course covers topics such as budgeting, financial reporting and cost control, preparing students to manage the financial aspects of a healthcare facility.

Nurse administrators are essential players in healthcare settings. Financial management skills are indispensable for nurse administrators to ensure the effective and efficient operation of nursing departments or healthcare facilities. Programs like UTA’s online MSN in Nursing Administration provide the knowledge and skills to thrive in this challenging and rewarding field.

Learn more about UTA’s online MSN in Nursing Administration program.

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