Some people pursue nursing degrees so they can take an active role in bedside patient care. Others pursue a master’s degree in nursing administration so they can help improve a facility’s standard of patient care by acting in an administrative capacity.
Though all nurse administrators are nurses, there are a couple of other duties that fall to them:
– Creating budgets for their nursing departments, and developing plans to make sure they stick to them.
– Acting as an interface between nurses and other healthcare professionals in a facility.
– Ordering new supplies.
– Policy-making for their nursing departments.
– Delegating duties to the nurses on their staff.
– Maintaining records for patients, billing, and ordering.
Even though a nurse administrator has the same background in nursing as any other nurse, a nurse administrator may find him or herself spending more time doing paperwork and ensuring that things are running smoothly than actually seeing patients. Other careers for a graduate with a Masters Degree in Nursing Administration include being a Clinical Nursing Manager, Health Information Manager, Nurse Manager , Hospital Nursing Administrator and a Nurse Executive. Typically, graduates will be awarded either a Master of Science in Nursing Administration (MS in Nursing Administration) Degree or a
Master of Arts in Nursing Administration (MA in Nursing Administration) Degree.
Typical courses in these Nursing Administration Masters Degrees include Advanced Nursing Theory, Nursing Leadership, Financial Management, Nursing Research and Advanced Nursing Administration
Obtaining a Masters Degree in Nursing Administration
To get a masters degree in nursing administration, nurses must already have a bachelors degree in nursing, and have passed their National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. After that, they can enroll in a masters degree program to become nurse administrators.
After graduating with a masters degree, nurse administrators must sit for a licensure exam in the state in which they will be practicing. They may also choose to become a Certified Nurse Administrator through the American Nurse Credentialing Center. This is not required, but may make new nurse administrators more marketable to prospective employers.
Nurse Administrators and the Nursing Shortage
There’s a worldwide shortage of nurses going on, and it’s pretty bad. Experts predict that, by 2020, we will need anywhere from 800,000-1 million more nurses just to cover the demand. In the U.S. alone, we’re going to need an extra 580,000 nurses. Most of these are required to help tend patients, so hospitals don’t have to resort to things like mandatory overtime, cutbacks in bedside care, and reducing the number of patients they can serve at a time. Since it seems to be patient-tending registered nurses that are needed the most, how will this shortage affect nurse administrators? The answer is- a lot.
One of the biggest reasons why hospitals need more nurses is because their patient load is steadily increasing, while their staff is not. More people are alive now than at any point in history, and they’re living longer than every before. As hospitals require more nurses, they will also require more administrative staff to help manage those nurses. As a result, job prospects for nurse administrators are very strong, and likely to become even stronger in the future.
Other Reasons to Become a Nurse Administrator
If the nursing profession fascinates you, but you enjoy the administrative aspect of healthcare more, then a career in nursing administration may be the perfect balance for you.
Nurse administrators generally make very good salaries, depending on the state they work in, and what kind of health care facility they are employed by. On average, nurse administrators bring home between $60,000 and $90,000 annually, which makes nursing administration a pretty lucrative career path for nursing graduates.
The healthcare industry is hurting for nurses with advanced degrees of any kind. Since the emphasis has been on turning out hospital staff nurses for a long time, many schools lack the experienced nursing educators they need to teach graduate-level programs. As a result, nursing students with masters or doctorates are in high demand. It may make it tougher for students to get into a good masters in nursing administration program, but the end result will be well worth it.
Even though they don’t work directly with patients as much as registered or licensed practical nurses do, nurse administrators are a vital part of a hospital’s staff. If you enjoy nursing, but would like to advance your career in a more managerial direction, then obtaining a masters degree in nursing administration may be the first step towards a long, fulfilling career for you.