Today’s healthcare environment is changing, but one constant is the need for dynamic leaders with an understanding of their role in advancing the industry as a whole. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, nurses make up the majority of the healthcare workforce with more than 3.8 million RNs nationwide. These healthcare professionals deliver most of the country’s long-term care and serve as the key providers of hospital patient care.
The future of this essential profession sits in the hands of nurse leaders who take on the unique role of motivating other nurses to uphold the profession’s standards of integrity and care. In fact, nursing has consistently ranked at the top of the Gallup Honesty and Ethical Standards in Professions list.
It is possible to gain the skills needed to succeed as a nurse leader through a comprehensive education that fuses nursing practices with leadership and business management. There’s a demand for nurses and nurse leaders who hold higher education credentials for advanced practice, clinical specialties, teaching and research roles. Programs like the University of Southern Maine’s Master of Science in Nursing – Nursing Administration and Leadership online could help you make substantial change in the nursing profession on a timeline that accommodates your schedule.
USM’s online program, accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, focuses on a number of skills including nursing theory and leadership, organizational behavior and financial management. A mastery of these skills could ensure future success in impactful roles as healthcare leaders in dynamic environments. Some jobs that graduates can pursue include:
- Nurse Manager: These leaders typically work in hospitals or healthcare organizations and supervise a nursing staff. Nurse managers must be familiar with guidelines, policies, practices and regulatory requirements to ensure systems are in place for nurses to provide quality care. They also implement programs for staff development and evidence-based practice for improved patient care.
Average Nursing Manager Salary: $86,449 per year (October 2020)
- Nursing Director: This role requires good communication, interpersonal and organizational skills, integrity, leadership and aptitude of a business manager. Nursing directors oversee department activities and coordinate all patient services within a healthcare institution. They are responsible for developing and implementing the standards of care and overall philosophy of the department. Nursing directors also oversee the hiring, training, evaluation and quality retention of nurses and managers in their network.
Average Nursing Director Salary: $88,513 per year (October 2020)
- Clinical Manager: These nurses often work in outpatient departments, primary care, home care or hospice organizations. Clinical managers typically provide oversight to an interdisciplinary team and might have the responsibility of managing day-to-day operational activities, maintaining department efficiency and heading duties like staff development, budgeting, staff compliance with professional standards, and performance improvement. These leaders typically work during normal business hours.
Average Clinical Manager Salary: $71,042 per year (October 2020)
- Chief Nursing Officer: Individuals in this role must exhibit exemplary leadership aptitude, as they manage facilities’ operations and support the practice of professional nurses. CNOs establish strong lines of communication by acting as a liaison between operations and clinical practice. This solidifies adequate patient care and successful implementation of changing policies, procedures and regulations. CNOs are visionary in leading transformations necessary for staff satisfaction, retention and efficient, high-quality patient care.
Average Chief Nursing Officer Salary: $129,240 per year (October 2020)
The AACN reported that only 17.1% of registered nurses in the country held a master’s degree in 2018 despite the increasing demand for nurses with graduate credentials. Comprehensive, advanced learning from an accredited program, like USM’s online Master of Science in Nursing – Nursing Administration and Leadership, can give you the confidence and skills to move forward in your career, make substantial changes in your field and improve your income. You can take courses at a pace that accommodates your professional and personal schedule.