Understanding the role
Nurse administrators are responsible for the overall management and operation of nursing services that aid the nursing team from entry-level to executive-level positions in a healthcare facility. To do this well, they must possess strong leadership skills, knowledge of healthcare regulations and practices, and a working understanding of the organization’s goals and objectives.
Common duties include:
- Overseeing the management and operations of nurses, resources and facilities
- Promoting best practices in patient care
- Developing a strategic vision for the hospital or department
- Maintaining the budget and reporting on financial matters
- Developing and enforcing policies and procedures
- Providing leadership and guidance to nursing staff
- Overseeing patient care standards and quality
- Recruiting and hiring nurses
While they do not directly work with patients, nurse administrators must thoroughly understand nursing practices, protocols and clinical procedures to ensure quality care.
Experience and credentials required of nurse administrators
To become a nurse administrator, formal experience is typically required. First, you must obtain licensure as a nurse, then experience as a registered nurse (RN). It’s also important to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN), followed by a master’s degree in nursing with a concentration in Nurse Administration (MSN) or a similar graduate degree.
In pursuing degrees in nursing, you can gain skills in areas such as:
- Advanced practice nursing — Analyze the application of nursing theories in research, leadership and evidence-based practice.
- Advanced pharmacology — Synthesize evidence addressing the legal and ethical guidelines for safe medication practice.
- Leadership and health policy — Be familiar with the laws and regulations that apply to nursing practice.
- Healthcare management — Learn how to effectively manage nursing services and personnel.
- Information technology — Nurses use IT skills and programs in a variety of ways, including data entry and to evaluate information within informatics systems
- Healthcare analytics — Gain an understanding of data-driven decision-making.
Nurse administrator skills
Becoming a nursing administrator typically involves a combination of nursing experience and advanced nursing education, such as a BSN or MSN. All of this is designed to impart a certain skill set that pertains to the role, which includes:
- Strong leadership and communication
- Knowledge of healthcare trends, regulations, policies and procedures
- Financial management
- Strategic planning, decision-making and goal setting
- Data analytics and management
- Project management and problem-solving
- Patient-centered care
These skills can be honed in a higher education degree program, such as a Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Nurse Administration.