Online RN to MSN
Clinical Systems Leadership

Building a Career as a Nurse Administrator: What to Expect

With a degree from the University of Arizona online Master of Science in Nursing program, you gain the opportunity to create a rewarding career that incorporates innovative patient care planning along with leadership opportunities.

Hiring and training, scheduling, creating budgets and making important business decisions are all a part of the role.

One such position that you can pursue with our MSN in Clinical Systems Leadership is a nurse administrator. In this role you will oversee everything from strategic planning and budgeting to the daily managing of nursing care delivery in a healthcare facility. If you’re interested in building a career as a nurse administrator, here is what you can expect to handle:

Supervising nursing staff

Though the role of a nurse administrator can vary depending on specialty and facility setting, there are several general responsibilities that all can anticipate. One of the primary functions of a nurse administrator is to oversee the nursing staff. According to the Nursing Explorer, at the core this includes scheduling, coordinating with doctors and other staff members and organizing staff to ensure they are working in the safest and most efficient manner. This can be emphasized by developing policies and procedures that are effective and up-to-date. If there are existing practices that are no longer practical or that need fixing, that is where you, as the nurse administrator, step in to make a change.

Oftentimes, nurse administrators are responsible for the recruitment, selection and training of new staff, along with the retention of current staff. Above all, as a leader and role model, you will help carry your healthcare facility and all of its staff members toward its shared mission.

Developing budgets and managing finances

As RN and health and medical writer Beth Greenwood reported in the Houston Chronicle, as a nurse administrator you must be prepared to manage finances, handle human resources and work in strategic planning. While nurse managers may create and hold budgets for a given department or single nursing unit, nurse administrators may be accountable for balancing the budget of several different nursing departments at once. Budgeting for support services such as home care or transport may also fall under your realm. Strong business skills as a nurse administrator will translate to improving the quality of patient care.

Safeguarding patient care

In addition to supervising all nursing staff members, as a nurse administrator you must also oversee the quality of care each patient receives. While nurses are delegated to care for certain patients, as a nurse administrator you must ensure that each and every patient in your unit is receiving proper care and treatment, according to Healthcare Administration. This is where your experience with bedside manners, patient care and medical knowledge will overlap with management skills. High-stress situations will arise and you must be able to act accordingly. As such, attention to detail and the ability to multi-task are beneficial in this role.

Maintaining a positive relationship across departments

As the intermediary between patients, doctors, nurses and various departments, you will be balancing many needs and many voices. In a nurse administrator role, you will often act as a liaison between the senior management and nursing staff of a healthcare organization and as such, effective communication is key. According to the Houston Chronicle, this is where strong facilitation and negotiation abilities come into play. You must act as a spokesperson for your nursing staff while also balancing the demands of C- suite executives. The ability to build and maintain a positive relationship across these departments is a skill to be mastered, but one that can go a long way in getting things done.

Making important business decisions

As mentioned above, if you’re looking to build a career as a nurse administrator, great business skills are important. A large part of creating and maintaining a budget for your department involves making medical equipment purchases and deciding which patient services should be offered, while balancing salaries and other in-house costs. In theory, each business decision should be a result of working to improve the care of patients.

As a nurse administrator, you will serve as the intermediary between patients, doctors, nurses and various departments.

All told, a nurse administrator will wear many hats, but for many, that is the best part of the job. By pursuing your career with an online degree from the University of Arizona, you’ll gain the essential education, experience and clinical leadership necessary to take the charge as a nurse administrator.


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