Nursing administration covers a wide range of leadership roles, from nurse supervisor to chief nursing officer. Although administrators do not routinely provide direct patient care, the policies and the culture they create have tangible impacts on patients, staff and communities.
Successful nurse administrators “help lead best practices” and collaborate “across multiple disciplines within the organization,” says the American Hospital Association (AHA). Developing such interdisciplinary proficiencies has always been key to effective leadership, and it is now more critical than ever as the healthcare landscape evolves in complexity.
A Master of Science in Nursing – Nursing Administration and Leadership online program focuses on topics relevant to today’s nurse leaders, from organizational theory and policymaking to financial planning and interprofessional collaboration.
What Are Common Nursing Administration Job Titles?
Nursing administration is a broad term that refers to several different leadership roles, typically within a hospital, physician office or long-term care facility. Standard job titles include:
- Nurse Manager
- Director of Nursing
- Clinical Manager
- Chief Nursing Officer
- Clinical Nurse Manager
- Nurse Supervisor
What Job Responsibilities Do Nurse Administrators Have?
Nurse administrators enjoy various job responsibilities that allow them to participate in business and HR planning while continuing to develop their nursing practice. Duties may vary slightly based on the setting. Overall, nurse administrators are responsible for the well-being and aptitude of their nursing staff and the quality of care patients receive.
Their primary responsibilities are:
Patient safety. Safety is always a top priority. Administrators must ensure that their nursing staff is delivering the highest level of care possible. They observe, collect data and feedback, and review errors and near misses to determine ways to improve patient safety and outcomes.
Staff education and wellness. Ongoing education is key to promoting workplace safety and staff well-being, which will positively benefit patient care too. Nurse administrators identify potential gaps in understanding and coordinate staff development and continuing education to keep their team informed of the latest evidence-based guidance. They provide nurses with the tools to function at the top of their scope of practice and successfully manage their physical, mental and emotional health.
Policy development. Policies and procedures offer the structure necessary to coordinate consistent and high-level care across an organization. Nurse administrators create these documents, often in collaboration with other facility leaders, and use their experiences, the expertise of their staff and the needs of the patients and surrounding community as a starting point.
Business and HR planning. Nurse administrators are heavily involved in business and HR planning at their facilities. Their input helps determine the types of services offered and how to manage resources. In addition, they represent the best interests of their staff at meetings, recruit and hire nurses, conduct performance reviews and coordinate work schedules.
Open and supportive culture. Nurse administrators have an overwhelming impact on workplace culture. They are responsible for establishing an environment that supports staff and allows for the free flow of relevant information.
What Is the Job Outlook for Nurse Administrators?
Healthcare faces unprecedented challenges. It will take forward-thinking leaders equipped with the latest skills and strategies to create a sustainable system. Administrators must adapt and redirect healthcare resources and staffing to meet the needs of a larger, more diverse patient population. They must also maintain a commitment to preventive care and population health as they navigate the anticipated retirement of thousands of older healthcare workers.
As a result, demand for health services managers, including nurse administrators, will rise 32% by 2030, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Job openings will increase by 52K each year over the next decade.
Nursing administration is a dynamic and growing career — one that allows nurses to continue developing their nursing practice while stepping into leadership roles that can improve workplace safety and patient outcomes.