Nursing administration programs are designed to turn experienced nurses into leaders in the healthcare field. While some schools offers a graduate-level certificate program in nursing administration, candidates more commonly pursue a Master of Science in Nursing with a nursing administration specialization. Completion of a master's degree program in this field qualifies graduates for nursing administrator certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
Online master's programs in nursing administration typically require prospective students to have a nursing bachelor's degree. Applicants must have licensure as an RN and some level of professional experience in nursing. It is possible for students to complete coursework entirely online, but some programs may require students to take tests on-site.
Master's Degree in Nursing Administration
Online nursing administration coursework focuses on organizational skills and managerial training, specifically on the unique challenges inherent in working in health care. These programs typically require up to 360 hours of clinical experience, performed at an organization that matches the individual student's career goals. As with traditional nursing programs, clinical work usually allows students to choose from a range of clinics and gives them some flexibility with their schedule. If they are earning their degree while already working for a health care organization, the program allows them to do their clinical work with their current employer.
Along with clinical training, the following courses are commonly required in online master's degree programs:
- Role of the Administrator
- Nursing Management
- Financial Management
- Health Care Policy
- Complex Healthcare Systems
- Nursing Operations Management
- Theory and Research Applications
Coursework and lectures for distance learning nursing administration programs are offered entirely online, but tests may be monitored on-site or administered by a proxy. Lectures are offered through live streaming video or in a pre-recorded format, allowing students to watch at their leisure; assignments are all completed online. Some schools utilize Web meetings or instant messaging programs to initiate live interaction between distance learners and professors.
A nursing administrator, a position colloquially referred to as head nurse, manages a health care organization's nursing staff. Training in nursing administration is now desirable in a variety of different career areas, opening up various options for students holding a master's degree in the field. Career possibilities include:
- Hospital Quality Improvement Manager
- Ambulatory Care Manager
- Nurse Executive
- Nurse Manager
- Hospital Administrator
Trained nurses who want to direct their careers toward executive positions within healthcare institutions may enroll in an online master's degree program in nursing administration, which focuses on the managerial and organizational aspects of nursing. Because of the scheduling flexibility of online training, it may be possible to continue working as a nurse while completing this degree.