How to Become an Administrative Nurse

Mar 10, 2020

Learn how to become an administrative nurse. Research the job description and the education and licensing requirements. Then find out how to start a career as an administrative nurse.

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Administrative Nurse Overview

Administrative nurses, also known as nurse administrators or nursing supervisors, are registered nurses with additional training and experience in healthcare management. These nurses develop work schedules, divide task among nursing staff, and evaluate staff performance. The also train nursing staff, formulate a budget, and ensure adherence to that budget. Additionally, nursing administrators often work with other managers to implement and oversee changes to policy and structure at a hospital, physician's office, or other medical facility. Nurse administrators sometimes provide patient care, which can be physically demanding since nurses might move or lift patients and must often stand for prolonged periods of time. Nurse administrators might also care for patients who have infectious diseases, so they must know and follow proper safety protocols.

Degree Level Bachelor's degree is required; master's degree is common
Degree Field Nursing and healthcare management
Licensure and Certification Licensure is required
Experience Experience in healthcare is required
Key Skills Active listening, speaking, critical thinking, time management, writing, management of personnel, and judgment and decision making skills; familiarity with analytical or scientific software, categorization or classification software, database user interface and query software, document management software, and medical software
Median Salary (2020)* $88,165 yearly

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, *

Key skills for administrative nurses include active listening, speaking, critical thinking, time management, writing, judgment, and decision making. They should be familiar with analytical or scientific software, categorization and classification software, database user interface and query software, document management software, and medical software. As of February 2020, administrative nurses made a median annual salary of $88,165 according to

Let's look at the steps you can take to become an administrative nurse.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing

A diploma, associate's degree, or bachelor's degree in nursing is required to become a registered nurse. These programs teach fundamental nursing procedures and medical skills, including pediatric care, maternity support, medication distribution, and patient health assessment. While some employers allow those with diplomas or associate's degrees to become administrative nurses, work in advanced positions like administrative nurse typically requires at least a bachelor's degree.

Step 2: Become an Registered Nurse

All states mandate licensure for RNs, but eligibility requirements vary. However, all prospective registered nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Continuing education and retesting may be required to renew a license.

Step 3: Consider a Master's Degree in Nursing

Some employers prefer nursing administrative applicants who have a master's degree in nursing with a specialty in nursing administration. Graduates of these programs should have knowledge and skills in business administration as well as the practical clinical experience necessary to test for voluntary certification as an administrative nurse. Some universities offer graduate certificates in nursing administration for those who already hold a 4-year degree. This can be valuable if an individual isn't able to commit to a full academic curriculum.

Step 4: Gain Work Experience

Some employers require that administrative nurses have specific work experience in addition to the required education. Academic programs with specialized studies in administrative nursing typically expose students to the duties and responsibilities of an administrative nurse. Hospitals, clinics, and healthcare institutions also offer on-the-job training or internship opportunities to registered nurses in management and administration.

Step 5: Obtain Certification

Organizations such as the American Nursing Credentialing Center offer certification for nurse executives. Applicants must be registered nurses with a bachelor's degree and have administrative nurse training and relevant work experience. While professional certification is voluntary, it demonstrates a nurse's proficiency in leadership and can increase job opportunities.

In summary, administrative nurses typically need a bachelor's degree in nursing, state licensure as a registered nurse, and work experience. Some employers prefer to hire administrative nurses with a master's degree in nursing and voluntary certification.

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