The nursing administrator role is a critical one in an industry facing constant change and expansion. Nurse administrators work in the field of medical and health services in management and leadership capacities. They work side-by-side with registered nurses, doctors, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals to provide quality services to customers and to respond to the ever-evolving needs and demands of the industry. They also help navigate healthcare laws, regulations, technologies, and practices within their facilities and fields of practice.
More specifically, nurses who dive into healthcare administrators careers typically:
Nurse administrators, managers, and leaders conduct their work in a variety of settings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of medical and health services managers work in offices in healthcare facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes or in group medical practices. Most work in state, local, and private hospitals, but many others work in ambulatory healthcare services. The minority of medical and health services managers’ work in nursing and residential care facilities or for the government[ii]. Also according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical and health services managers’ jobs are projected to grow at a rate of 23% between 2012 and 2020[iii].
As you likely know, nursing careers typically begin with education and certification. Many nurses earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing and become registered nurses through certification and/or licensure[iv]. To pursue a nursing administration career, however, or to pursue a career as a medical and health services manager, nurses must at least have a bachelor’s degree in nursing[v].
From there, many RNs might choose to enhance their nursing careers by earning a master’s degree in nursing (typically an MSN with a specialization in executive leadership or health administration) or a doctorate degree in nursing (often a Doctor of Nursing Practice). They might also earn additional certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center[vi] or the American Organization of Nurse Executives[vii].[viii] Options for certification through these organizations include Executive-Board Certified (NE-BC), Certified Nurse Manager and Leader (CNML), and Certified in Executive Nursing Practice (CENP), all of which may help prepare nurses for career enhancement.
Nurses who want to pursue additional education to enhance their careers can typically find undergraduate and graduate programs in on-campus, online, and hybrid formats. In addition, some educational institutions offer accelerated nursing programs which might allow nursing professionals to earn their advanced degrees quickly and while working full-time.
While earning a graduate degree and advanced certification might enhance the career prospects of individuals interested in pursuing a nursing administrator role, doing so is not necessarily required. Some nurses with BSNs begin their healthcare administrator careers by gaining administrative and specialized experience on the job. Whether or not you should pursue graduate-level education or advanced certification depends upon your personal goals, where you work, and the needs and requirements of your employer.
There may be multiple ways to enhance your career through education in nursing:
Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-2 | [ii]bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-3 | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-6 | [iv] bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm#tab-4 | [v] bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-4 | [vi] nursecredentialing.org/FunctionalCategory/AboutANCC | [vii] aone.org/membership/about/welcome.shtml | [viii] bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-2 | [ix] bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm#tab-4