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Becoming a Nurse Administrator

Healthcare is a complex and dynamic field. To develop properly, it requires strong nursing leadership and management that understands and implements the nursing profession’s best practices and policies. Nurse administrators who can lead other healthcare workers toward a common goal are in critically short supply.

Nurse Leaders and Administrators Can Go by Several Titles

A nurse administrator may go by several titles: director of nurses (DON), nurse executive, chief nursing officer (CNO) or vice president of nursing. According to Beth Greenwood at Chron, a nurse administrator generally reports to the chief executive officer (CEO) in the organization or to a vice president directly below the CEO.

Nurse managers may have similar responsibilities to those of nurse executives but on a smaller scale. Managers may, at times, work with patients at the bedside during staff shortages; nurse administrators generally do not.

Skills Necessary for Nursing Leadership and Management

The skills necessary for competent nursing leadership and management include planning, management, assessment, allocation, delegation and coordination. Nurse executive positions can also require both basic and advanced business skills.

Responsibilities of Nurse Leaders and Administrators

The responsibilities of nurse administrators have increased in the last few years. Patients once received treatment only at hospitals or physicians’ offices, but now, healthcare extends to outpatient clinics, urgent care facilities, outpatient surgical centers and in-home care services. This means that today’s nurse administrators and leaders work in a variety of settings where the coordination of patient care is considerably more complex than it was in previous decades.

The duties of nurse managers and administrators can include

  • Creating schedules and budgets and allocating resources across departments.
  • Recommending and implementing policy.
  • Assessing nursing staff.
  • Overseeing nurse training.
  • Recruiting nursing staff.
  • Ensuring proper delivery of services and care.

Today’s nurse administrators are more strategic and are also active members of the senior management team.

Educational Requirements for Nursing Leadership Professionals

A career in nursing leadership and management requires an MSN; nurse leaders have commonly completed RN to MSN bridge programs. These programs focus on contemporary management theory and core competencies that help graduates adapt well in varying healthcare settings and institutions. And, increasingly, doctoral preparation is preferred for nurse administrators at larger healthcare settings.

Salaries of Nurse Administrators

Salaries for nurse administrators can vary according to title, experience, education and the area of the country. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for “medical and health services managers” (this includes nurse administrators) in 2014 was $92,810. This is more than a $10,000 increase from 2009 numbers. (The average annual salary for RNs in the United States as of May 2014 was $66,640, which is lower than it was 2011 at roughly $69,000.)

The need for nurse administrators will continue to grow in coming years. Now is an opportune time to enroll in an MSN program that gives you the tools to meet the future challenges of healthcare. An RN to MSN online program is an ideal way to learn to be an effective nurse administrator and secure the future of your career.

Learn more about the UT Arlington online RN to MSN program.


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