How to Become a Nurse Administrator

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As the industry’s largest employee group, nurses serve in a variety of capacities and are involved at every level of patient care. As the industry continues to expand in size and increase in the availability of patient care and treatment services, medical professionals are looking to nurses to take on  bigger roles in health care as an industry. High-ranking nursing positions bridge the role of administrator and patient care provider, giving nurses the opportunity to grow their career while maintaining their focus on the patient.

King University offers a specialized track for nursing professionals seeking a career in nursing administration.

Nurse Administrator with other nursesNurse Administrators help employees in their professional development.

What is a Nurse Administrator?

The nurse administrator is a member of the senior leadership team assisting with strategic management, organizational planning and daily operations within a hospital, provider network or group of medical departments. They are responsible for a facility’s overall nursing patient care, which may include some of the following duties:

  • Supervision and management of staff
  • Development of organizational and departmental processes and procedures
  • Management of department or facility budgets, including expenditures, staffing levels and support services
  • Communication between health care stakeholders, including physicians, patients, staff and family
  • Design, implementation and evaluation of patient care plans
  • Initiate team building exercises
  • Engage employees in professional development opportunities

Nurses serving in this capacity are highly trained and knowledgeable about the nursing profession and health care. Ideal candidates for this senior level career are seeking leadership opportunities in health care that allow them to stay connected to the patient. Other titles may include the following:

  • Director of Nursing
  • President or Vice President of Nursing
  • Chief Nursing Officer
  • Nurse Executive

Education and Credentialing

The key to career advancement in nursing is continued education. Although an associate degree or certificate will get your foot in the hospital door for a basic RN position, a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is needed to qualify for a job as a nurse executive. Online MSN programs provide a reputable education platform for current nursing professionals looking for an accessible track towards a degree. Curriculum builds on current education foundations and field experience while providing nurses with additional insights into nursing theory, research, informatics and more. And, King University offers a specialized education track designed for the nursing professional with an interest in administration giving you a focused education experience for a direct route towards your career goals.

MSN-prepared nurses must also earn an additional credential for administration and management roles. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers exams for a variety of nursing certifications, including the Nurse Executive-Board Certified (NE-BC) exam. Applicants must have an active RN license and a minimum of a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN). Applicants must also have completed 30 hours of advanced nursing education in nursing administration to sit for the exam. An earned MSN can waive this criterion. The NE-BC is valid for up to five years.

Certification for nurse executive roles can also be earned through the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) exam. The AONE offers two credentials, including the Certified in Executive Nursing Practice (CENP) and the Certified Nurse Manager and Leader (CNML). MSN-prepared nurses with two years of experience in executive nursing are eligible to sit for the CENP exam. It is valid for three years. BSN-prepared nurses with two years of experience in a role as a nurse manager can sit for the CNML exam. It is valid for three years.

Job Outlook

MSN-prepared nurses are in a good position for job placement and career advancement in today’s health care market. The nursing field is expected to grow by 26 percent through the next decade, which is far faster than the average for all occupations according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While the nationwide nursing shortage continues to make waves, there is a growing under current of demand within health care facilities for educated nurses with a bachelor’s degree or higher to fill leadership positions. And, the demand for manager level medical professionals is nearly as strong with the BLS reporting a projected 22 percent growth in employment through the next decade.

In addition to increased responsibilities, these high level positions come with increased earning potential. Nurse executives can expect to make an average annual salary of $80,000 according to Indeed statistics with the salary range varying by region, type of health care facility, and level of experience and education.

Nurses who wish to move beyond the bedside and into an administrative role should pursue the route of advanced education in order to gain traction in their health care career. An MSN provides nurses with ample career opportunities that deliver stronger job stability, career opportunities and earning potential.