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Nurse Administrator: Job Description, Requirements and Career Info

Working as a nurse administrator requires significant formal education. Learn about the education, job duties, and licensure to see if this is the right career for you.

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A career as a nurse administrator requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree in nursing; typically, nurse administrators have a master's degree. Nurse administrators must be licensed registered nurses, and can take optional certification.

Essential Information

A nurse administrator is responsible for management of the nursing staff in a health care facility. Nurse administrators are licensed registered nurses who often have advanced education and experience in the nursing field. A graduate degree is typical for this career, and nurse administrators may pursue voluntary certification.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in nursing at minimum; most nurse administrators hold master's degrees and/or a post-master's certificate
Licensure and Certification Licensing as a registered nurse is mandatory; voluntary certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) is available
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 16% for registered nurses;
17% for medical and health services managers
Median Salary (2016)** $76,539 for clinical nurse managers;
$80,555 for nursing directors;
$118,536 for chief nursing officers

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

Nurse Administrator Job Description

A nurse administrator creates work schedules, gives performance reviews, and develops work policies. Other job duties include keeping up established ethical and legal standards for job performance, attending administrative personnel meetings, and developing new employee training. Most of the work of a nurse administrator is done in an office and not on the care floor, so an administrator has little or no direct contact with patients. A nurse administrator may work in a hospital, nursing home, private doctor's office, home health care organization, or urgent care facility.

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Nurse Administrator Requirements

A nurse administrator must generally hold at least a bachelor's degree in nursing and be a registered nurse (RN), though a master's degree tends to be standard in the field. Targeted training is available through Master of Science in Nursing programs with a nurse administrator concentration; graduates of a related master's program can pursue a post-master's certificate geared for RNs looking to earn recognition in nursing administration as an additional specialty. Curricula for either of these programs include instruction in finance, management, health planning, health policy, and nursing research, among other subjects.

Administrators of nursing care facilities in all states must pass a licensing examination and pursue continuing education. Some states also require administrators of assisted-living facilities to be licensed. Additionally, though not required, nurse administrators may pursue voluntary certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), which offers relevant Nurse Executive and Nurse Executive - Advanced certification exams. Gaining certification from the ANCC serves to define a certain level of competency to potential employers and can lead to greater hiring and salary opportunities.

Nurse Administrator Career Info

Specific nursing administrator positions include nurse manager, nursing director, and chief nursing officer, among others. As of January 2016, PayScale.com reported that the majority of clinical nurse managers earned $55,841 to $102,458 a year, and nursing directors earned salaries ranging from $59,217 to $119,532. The salary range for chief nursing officers was $82,046 to $182,197 yearly, per PayScale.com in January 2016.

A nurse administrator manages the nursing staff in their ward or facility. They may be responsible for scheduling, reviewing employee performance, creating workplace policies, and training new employees. Nurse administrators typically work in an office and have minimal direct patient contact.

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