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Nursing Administrator Career Guide

How to Become a Nursing Administrator

Nurses provide critical services in a variety of healthcare settings. They provide immediate patient care, advocate for improved patient outcomes, and assess a patient’s needs to determine the best possible treatment plans. Nurses achieve high efficiency when working in tandem with other nurses in defined nursing teams, managed effectively by nursing administrators.

Nursing administrators oversee the day-to-day operations of a particular nursing team, ensuring that each nurse has the tools he or she needs to succeed. As a nursing administrator, you can expect to manage nurse duties, participate in staffing decisions, manage department budgets, and even address conflicts between patients or healthcare staff.

If you’re passionate about healthcare and enjoy exercising skills in communication, team coordination, and business management, the role of a nursing administrator can offer a rewarding career path.

A medical doctor helps his colleague practice the method of injecting into an arm. They are working together in the hospital ward.

What Is a Nursing Administrator?

Nursing administrators work to promote smooth nursing team operations. Often, this means you will perform audits to ensure continued compliance with all local, state, and federal policies. Ultimately, nursing administrators inform the daily operations of a nursing team, giving them all the tools they need to succeed.

As a specialized career option, the role of a nursing administrator requires schooling and certification. After you complete your undergraduate degree, you’ll need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Many employers also want to see at least a few years of experience in a healthcare environment before they will trust you to lead a nursing team of your own.

What Does a Nursing Administrator Do?

Nursing administrators satisfy many different responsibilities every day, to ensure that a nursing team continues to function well. On some days, you might spend time recruiting new nurses or developing upcoming nurse work schedules. On other days, you’ll write reports for executives that summarize your nursing team’s performance.

The day-to-day duties of a nursing administrator can include:

  • Developing reports that identify how each nurse performed as a part of your nursing team.
  • Hiring and firing nurses whenever necessary, to create nursing teams that work well together.
  • Implementing policies that facilitate basic building upkeep.
  • Resolving conflicts between patients, nurses, or other healthcare staff members.
  • Performing immediate patient care when required.
  • Training nurses in any new policies and practices.
  • Leading nurse meetings.
  • Assigning work schedules to all members of your nursing team.
  • Attending meetings with senior healthcare organization staff members.
  • Communicating with various members of your nursing team.

These and other responsibilities help nursing administrators fulfill meaningful careers, organizing nursing teams to help patients achieve the best possible outcomes.

What Education Does a Nursing Administrator Need?

Before you can begin a career as a nursing administrator, you’ll need to satisfy a few educational benchmarks. Aspiring nursing administrators should complete a Master of Science in Nursing Leadership and Management. Nurses who already have an RN degree can complete an RN-to-MSN leadership and management program to learn the necessary skills to become a nursing administrator.

These programs will help you to develop skills that are necessary once you begin your nursing career. You’ll become familiar with the nursing leadership environment, in addition to organization principles, business management strategies, and global health trends. 

Best Degrees for a Nursing Administrator

Nursing – Leadership and Management (RN-to-MSN) – M.S.

This program for RNs includes a BSN component and is a...

This program for RNs includes a BSN component and...

This program for RNs includes a BSN component and is a substantial leap toward becoming a nurse leader.

  • Time: 75% of RN-to-MSN grads finish within 42 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,795 per 6-month term during undergraduate portion, $4,385 per 6-month term during graduate portion, plus a Health Professions Student Fee of $350.

Some careers and jobs this degree will prepare you for:

  • Director of Nursing
    Chief Nursing Officer
    Quality Director
    Clinical Nurse Leader
    Project Manager

If you're driven to lead, this online nursing degree will provide you everything needed to make that career a reality.

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This program is not the only degree WGU offers designed to create leaders in the field of healthcare. Compare our health leadership degrees by clicking the button below.

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Nursing – Leadership and Management (BSN-to-MSN) – M.S.

For registered nurses with a bachelor's degree who are ready for...

For registered nurses with a bachelor's degree...

For registered nurses with a bachelor's degree who are ready for greater responsibility:

  • Time: 82% of grads finish within 24 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $4,385 per 6-month term, plus a Health Professions Student Fee of $350.

Sample careers and jobs this degree program will prepare you for:

  • Director of Nursing
    Chief Nursing Officer
    Quality Director
    Clinical Nurse Leader
    Project Manager

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of medical and health services managers to grow 17% by 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Compare degrees

This program is not the only degree WGU offers designed to create leaders in the field of healthcare. Compare our health leadership degrees by clicking the button below.

Compare Similar Degrees

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What Skills Does a Nursing Administrator Need?

Nursing administrators depend on communication and team management skills as they work to ensure smooth nursing team operations. These skills help individual nurses to fulfill their roles, providing care that promotes short and long-term patient recovery.

Nursing administrators need each of the following skills:

  • Nurse team management: The ability to effectively manage all aspects of a nursing team, from motivation to scheduling.
  • Leadership: The ability to lead a nursing team toward success, providing insight and motivation that drives each member of your team toward success.
  • Interpersonal communication: The ability to correspond effectively with nurses, fellow nursing administrators, patients, and other individuals in a healthcare environment.
  • Public speaking: The ability to confidently address groups of people in a healthcare setting.
  • Staffing: The ability to hire and release employees, to create nursing teams that work well in coordination together.
  • Finance: The ability to appropriately manage healthcare organization finances.
  • Instruction: The ability to properly educate nursing teams on any new policies, or updates to existing policies, that will affect day-to-day operations.
  • Problem-solving: The ability to help patients and nurses mitigate and overcome issues they might face.
  • Technical proficiency: The ability to effectively use all necessary pieces of medical technology, including any computers, tablets, phones, and online platforms.

These and other skills help nursing administrators to effectively lead nursing teams. Whether you’re employed in a hospital or a high school, you’ll lead your nursing team in providing effective treatment to all patients, while ensuring continually successful healthcare operations.

How Much Does a Nursing Administrator Make?

$89,015

The exact income of a nurse administrator can vary, based on a variety of factors that include your employer, employer’s location, employer’s private or public healthcare funding, years of experience, education, and obtained certifications. The salary of a nurse administrator can average $89,015, with a range of roughly $64,000 to $137,000 earned per year.

 

What Is the Projected Job Growth?

32%

Nursing administrators are expected to enjoy a favorable job outlook for years to come. From 2019 to 2029, the employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 7%. Over the same timeframe, employment for medical and health services managers is expected to grow 32%.

Where Do Nursing Administrators Work?

Varies

Nursing administrators can work in a wide variety of locations, depending on the needs of their nursing team. Some nursing administrators might work in independent doctor’s offices, while others could be employed in a large hospital setting. Ultimately, your location as a nursing administrator will be determined by your employer.

Nursing administrators can work in any of the following locations:

-Hospitals

-Inpatient or partial hospitalization facilities

-Outpatient facilities

-Private physicians’ offices

-Emergency medical centers

-Nursing homes and long-term adult care facilities

Interested in Becoming a Nursing Administrator?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this meaningful career.

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