Nursing administration may one of the clearest job functions in health care, but you would never know it to look at the confusing array of master’s degrees that all claim to prepare you for this career path. Looking around that the available online degrees in this specialty will turn up an array of masters programs with with titles like these:
- Nurse administrator
- Nursing leadership and administration
- Nursing leadership and management
- Management and organizational leadership
- Executive leadership
- Nursing management
What’s the difference?
The truth is that, generally, there are not overwhelmingly large differences in these types of programs. While one may provide more courses on budgeting and financial issues, another may focus on personnel management and policy development. If you have a super-specific idea of the type of job you want to move up to in nursing, you may gravitate towards on of these particular subject areas. However, you’ll find that the “core” courses you will take in all of these programs will be quite similar.
Virtually all masters in nursing administration will require you to do some coursework in these subjects:
- Legal issues/ethics
- Strategic planning
- Personnel management/development
- Quality and safety
- Budgeting and finances
- Use of information technology
- Health care challenges/trends
- Organizational reporting
- Health promotion and disease prevention
- Conflict resolution
What does a masters in nursing administration prepare you for?
A nursing administration masters should prepare you to take on more of a management and leadership role, generally in a hospital or other larger health facility where there is a good-sized nursing staff to manage. You can expect to learn to recruit staff and then retain them, develop and implement new policies and procedures, monitor current nursing trends, plan a budget and present your plan for approval, monitor legal and ethical issues that may affect nurses, monitor safety and quality issues and, of particular importance today, use information technology in an administrative capacity. Some nurse administrators also do research projects on nursing issues.
What settings can you find work in?
With a masters in nursing administration, you will be qualified to assume an administrative position in a hospital, community health setting, long term care facility, private health care organization, public safety facility or as an instructor in a nursing school/program. Your hours of work will likely be “business hours,” which will mean an end to shift work. If you succeed in getting this type of job you’ll likely see an increase in salary, but you may find yourself working longer hours.
What type of person is suited to administrative work?
The most important qualification for being a nurse administrator is a solid first hand experience in nursing. Beyond that, it helps to be the kind of person while likes dealing with people and their concerns, much of your time will be spent solving problems, both medical and non medical, that come up with patients, nursing staff, supervisors, members of allied health disciplines, physicians and even fellow administrators. An affinity for math and numbers is important if you wish to work in a position that involves budgeting, capital expenditure and other fiscal jobs. You’re likely to find that it’s important to spend a bit more time reading to stay abreast of the current trends in recruiting, legal issues in health care, ethics and information technology than you probably have done as a shift nurse, because people will tend to look on you as the “go to” person for up to date information in these areas. Finally, having a friendly, professional and approachable personality can help make you suitable for a job in nursing administration once you have your masters degree completed.
If you feel that a masters in administrative nursing might be right for you, it doesn’t hurt to talk to someone already working in this type of job before signing up for school. Try to find a mentor and ask them to describe their duties, the advantages and disadvantages what they really like about being a nurse administrator. A mentor can help you navigate your way through choosing and enrolling in the right program, and may even act as a reference for you when you find a program.
Top Online Schools Offers Master’s In Nursing Adminstration:
Wilkes University – MS w/ major in Nursing / Minor in Nursing Management
Kaplan University – MSN Nurse Executive Leader
Southern New Hampshire University – MS Nursing, Clinical Nurse Leader
Liberty University – MS Nursing Administration