What Is a Certified Nursing Administrator?

Certified nurse administrators lead teams of nurses and other medical personnel in a healthcare setting to ensure that patients receive the best care possible. Read on to discover the job duties included in these positions and the education you need to become a certified nursing administrator. Schools offering Nursing Administration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

As a certified nursing administrator, now known as a nurse executive, you oversee a staff of nurses, make nursing policies, and ensure compliance with medical standards. Depending on the workplace, you may also serve as a consultant to other personnel. The American Organization of Nurse Executives (www.aone.org) reports that nurse executives need to be competent in five areas:

  • Communication and building relationships
  • Knowledge of the health care environment
  • Leadership
  • Business skills
  • Professionalism

As a nurse executive, you must be knowledgeable about current nursing practices and assess the needs of your nursing staff in regards to education, marketing, budget, and technology. You also advocate for the needs of your patients and other personnel in your department. You might participate in research, conferences, presentations, and professional organizations.

You may work in a hospital, clinic, long-term care center, or other medical facility. According to Salary.com, the median annual salary for a head of nursing is $201,732, as of December 2015 (www.salary.com).

Important Facts About This Occupation

Key Skills Interpersonal, problem-solving, analytical, and communication skills
Similar Occupations Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Supervisor, Clinical Nurse Manager
Work Environment Typically full-time, sometimes during the evening or overnight
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 17% growth for all medical and health services managers

Source: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

To be considered for a nurse executive credential, you need to have a bachelor's degree or higher in nursing (BSN). Your BSN program may take two to six years to complete, depending on whether you enroll in an accelerated, full, or part-time program. BSN classes cover healthcare management and leadership, pathophysiology, epidemiology, and community health.

Some employers may want you to have a master's degree in nursing (MSN), although you may pursue a degree in hospital administration instead. Many MSN programs offer a specialty emphasis in administration or leadership. These programs cover information and quality management techniques, legal and ethical healthcare concerns, professional communications, research, current nursing practices, and leadership development. Your MSN program will take two to three years to complete.

Because the nurse executive job is considered a specialty position, you need to have clinical experience in management and administration. The knowledge you gain through these clinical opportunities may prepare you for state licensure exams and, eventually, nurse executive certification.

Licensure, Certification, and Credential Requirements

To work as a nurse executive, you must first be a licensed registered nurse (RN). The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) reports that, although licensure requirements vary by state, most require that you have a nursing degree from an accredited school and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers two nurse executive credentials: certified nurse executive and advanced executive nurse (www.nursecredentialing.org). For either, you must pass an exam, be a licensed RN, have at least two years of experience as a mid-level administrator or faculty member, and either complete at least 30 hours of continuing education credits or have a master's degree. You must have a bachelor's degree for the nurse executive credential, but you must have a master's degree for the advanced executive credential.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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