The field of nurse administration is broad and diverse, leading many people to ask questions in an attempt to determine their next career move. Following are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions:
A nurse administrator must be a Registered Nurse and have earned a bachelor’s degree at minimum. They must be licensed and often times have a graduate degree and additional certification[i]. Nurse administrators might work in medical and healthcare facilities to develop and manage staff and policies, enact research and change, and respond to issues and challenges. They commonly work directly with nurses, doctors, surgeons, and other staff to ensure facilities run efficiently and effectively. Nurse administrators often perform duties related to the areas of business and patient care.
A medical administrator typically has a certificate or bachelor’s degree in medical administration, business, or a related field. They are not required to be licensed but they are required to earn at least a bachelor’s degree[i]. Medical administrators might perform duties related to marketing, billing, customer service, and patient records. They might also facilitate communication between staff, departments, and facilities. Unlike nurse administrators, medical administrators focus primarily on business without a direct focus on patient care.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical and health services managers earn a median salary of $88,580 annually with bachelor’s degree-level education[ii].
As of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2012 census, 315,500 people were employed in the medical and health services managers industry, which includes nurse administrators[iii].
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the medical and health services managers, which includes nurse administrators, industry will grow by 23% (much faster than average) between 2012 and 2020[iii].
The majority of the time, nurses must have a current nursing license in the state in which they practice to enroll in a nurse administration graduate program. In some cases, however, professionals can wait until they begin their practicums within the program. To determine whether or not you need licensure to enroll in your preferred program, review the program’s admissions requirements and speak to a counselor. Requirements vary by state and institution.[i]
Nursing home administrators do much of the same work as nurse administrators, but they do so within a nursing home (while nurse administrators might work within or across a variety of settings). Because of this, nursing home administrators might have education and experience more relevant to nursing homes while nursing administrators might have education and experience in a wider array of areas. Both nurse administrators and nursing home administrators must be licensed RNs with bachelor’s degrees in the field (at minimum)[i].
People in nurse administration graduate programs commonly complete core and elective coursework in subjects such as:
In addition, students often develop their knowledge and skills through courses in business, public health, and/or public administration. Students focus their studies through coursework, practicums, directed research, and examination and/or certification.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people who want to work as nurse administrators should have the following skills and characteristics:
Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-4 | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-5 | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-6