Wikipedia defines a nurse administrator as a professional whose core responsibilities include policy making, staff administration, and financial decision-making in a healthcare environment. The core job of a nurse administrator includes planning work schedules, assigning duties to the staff nurses and supervising their work, establishing budgets, and maintaining medical records and supplies inventory.
She is also responsible for recommending and implementing policy changes, ensuring effective patient care, and driving constant improvements in the healthcare delivery system.
Is Nursing Administration for You? Anyone aspiring for a career is nursing needs to have the basic qualities of a caregiver such as a passion to help others, patience, compassion, perseverance, dedication, and the ability to keep calm under extreme conditions such as medical emergencies.
In addition to these characteristics, a nurse administrator should demonstrate leadership qualities, interpersonal and communication skills, and attention to detail as her job revolves around managing the junior staff, extensive record keeping, stock taking, and acting as the agents of change.
Most licensed nurses begin their careers with a Registered Nursing degree, while some enter the profession armed with a diploma. They start as staff nurses and are able to move up the ladder to hold managerial positions after years of experience. Some institutes also offer a bachelor of science in nursing administration that prepares RNs for supervisory roles.
However, with the Department of Labor reporting that management-level nursing positions increasingly require a graduate or an advanced degree in nursing administration, the prospects are best for RNs who complete their Master of Nursing Administration program.
A master of nursing administration degree trains RNs in advanced nursing theory and practice concepts as well as non-clinical and administrative aspects of healthcare. RNs learn important subject areas like Health Services Economics, Health Services Financial Management, Healthcare Information Systems, Health Services Marketing, Nursing Leadership, etc as part of their curriculum.
Many top-level institutes and universities also offer RNs opportunity to earn their nursing administration degree online, which means they can study at their own pace and work out their own schedule around their jobs and family commitments.
Nurse administrators can find employment in a variety of healthcare units such as hospitals, home healthcare services, nursing care facilities, offices of physicians, or even government and non-profit agencies.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, nurse managers can advance from the level of assistant unit managers to head nurses and then to more senior administrative positions like assistant director, director, vice-president, or chief of nursing.
The paycheck of a nurse administrator depends to a large extent on factors such as experience, education, geographic location, and the type of healthcare facility they work in, but a first level nurse manager can expect to earn anywhere between $80,000-$110,000 per annum.
The Department of Labor has projected a faster than average growth in the employment of both Registered Nurses as well as health services managers, which means that nurse administrators are likely to enjoy excellent job prospects.
While the employment of RNs is expected to grow by 22 percent by 2018, employment of health service managers is projected to increase by 16 percent over the same period.
As the healthcare industry continues to expand, the need for medical administrators with experience in healthcare and strong business management skills is only going in one direction and that is northwards.
If you are a practicing RN looking to move ahead in your career, the time to think has passed. Act now and enroll yourself in an advanced nursing administration degree to set your career on wings.