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How Nurses Can Prepare for Executive Careers in Healthcare Administration


When preparing for an executive career in healthcare administration, nurses must have at least a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN) before entering the field. However, employers often prefer master's degrees. Many employers also require prospective medical and health services managers to have work experience in either an administrative or a clinical role in a healthcare facility.

The most important aspect of preparing for a career path as a healthcare executive is improving upon certain qualities healthcare providers look for in administrative positions. These include skills in the following:

  • Analytics — medical and health services managers must understand and follow current regulations and adapt to new laws.
  • Communication — these managers must effectively communicate policies and procedures to other health professionals and ensure their staff's compliance with new laws and regulations.
  • Detail — managers must pay close attention to detail. This may include organizing and maintaining schedules and billing information for institutions, such as hospitals.
  • Interpersonal relations — medical and health services managers discuss staffing problems and patient information with other professionals, such as physicians and health insurance representatives.
  • Leadership — managers are often responsible for finding creative solutions to administrative problems. They must hire, train, motivate and lead staff.
  • Technology — as technology improves, managers must stay up to date with advances in healthcare technology and data analytics, which may involve coding, classification software and electronic health record (EHR) systems.

Why Choose This Career Path?

Healthcare administration is a viable career progression for nurses because a nurse executive holds a top position within a healthcare organization, and they can earn an average of $86,555 a year. With this career opportunity, nurses will be able to work in a fast-paced environment where they must react and make decisions quickly in demanding situations. They will experience what it takes to be in a management position where they lead, guide and support other nurses so they can provide the best care. Their tasks will vary, meaning they will take on different tasks, patients and situations every day.

Nursing administration allows nurses to make a difference within their hospital and the team they lead. They become individuals who impact their industry and the communities they serve.

Executive Roles for Nurses to Pursue

The following are examples of types of medical and health services management positions that nurses can pursue as a career option:

  1. Nursing Home Administrators

Supervise all facets of nursing homes — including staff, admissions and finances — which extends to building maintenance and supports resident care. All states require licensure for nursing home administrators, and licensing requirements vary by state.

  1. Clinical Managers

Lead individual departments — such as nursing, surgery or physical therapy — with dedicated responsibilities congruent with those fields. Clinical managers set and carry out policies, goals and procedures for their departments; evaluate the quality of the staff's work; and develop reports and budgets.

  1. Health Information Managers

Secure and maintain all records and data. These professionals must be current with all technology involved, as well as laws regarding health information systems. Health information managers make certain databases are completely accurate. They also may supervise the work of medical records and health information technicians.

The Usefulness of a Master's Degree Program

One way to improve your aspirations toward an executive career in healthcare administration is to earn your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Those who enroll in the MSN Nurse Executive program at Northwest Missouri State University will create a strong foundation for being effective and compassionate leaders in administration.

In as few as 12 months, nursing students will be proficient in evidence-based practice and research, healthcare policies and ethics, organizational structures and processes and culture and collaboration.

Graduates of this program will build an employer-ready portfolio throughout the program, culminating with an experiential capstone project. Additionally, they will have full access to faculty mentors and nurse experts who will help maximize students' learning and help with overall progress.

Ready to find an executive career opportunity that resonates with your personality and values while improving your patient healthcare delivery? This program is perfect for achieving those goals.

Learn more about Northwest Missouri State University's online MSN Nurse Executive program.


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