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What careers can a degree in Nursing Administration offer?

Date: July 26, 2016

Over the last decade, health care reform has increased leadership opportunities for nurses in the medical field. From helping determine the direction of patient treatment and care to developing curriculum to educate future generations of nurses, the role of the nursing professional is increasingly becoming more fluid. Now more than ever before, nurses equipped with the proper education and workplace experience are being sought to help shape the future of health care.

As a nursing professional, you are uniquely positioned to take on a leadership role as the medical field seeks to improve quality and lower costs in patient care. Consequently, now is the time to consider advancing your career through the completion of a higher degree. Pursuing a master’s in Nursing Administration will open a number of new career options for you.

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) – Nursing Administration degree

If you are interested in becoming an effective health care leader, consider adding education to your existing workplace experience. Through Bradley University’s online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) – Nursing Administration program, you will be able to pursue your master’s degree from the comfort of your computer at the time and place of your choosing, allowing you to continue to work full- or part-time if you so choose. You do not need to put your professional career on hold while you further your education.

While any MSN degree can help to open doors in your field, opting to focus in administration with your online MSN will prepare you specifically for a leadership role at a hospital or other health care organization.

As a registered nurse, you can enroll in Bradley’s online MSN program with either a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) degree. Depending on whether you hold an ADN or BSN, you will be required to complete 36 to 45 credit hours. Topics that are covered in an administration degree include nursing leadership, nursing theories, health informatics, administration theory, ethics, evidence-based practice and health care policy.

Wherever you are when you start, by the end of the program, you will be equipped to take on a management or other leadership role in a variety of health care settings, including hospitals, clinics and more. Some of the employment options you can consider upon completing your degree are nurse administrator/manager, quality improvement leader, nurse consultant and health services manager.

Nurse administrator/manager

If you have a knack for organizing both tasks and people, a position as a nurse administrator or manager could be a good fit. Nurse administrators typically are seen as leaders in their organization. They also may be called a director, executive or vice president of nursing and are usually responsible for overseeing an entire department, including finances, human resources and more. Nursing administrators often also monitor staffing levels, develop criteria for evaluating workplace performance and create opportunities for continuing education.

The responsibilities of a nurse manager are very similar to a nurse administrator, but sometimes the manager title is used when the scope of the position is on a smaller scale. Your title likely will depend largely on the organization for which you work.

What careers can be offered, picture of stethoscope and paperwork

Nurse consultant

A less orthodox career for an MSN-degree holder — but a rewarding and important position nonetheless — is that of a nurse consultant. These professionals use their expertise in nursing to identify problems and determine solutions across a wide spectrum of the health care industry. Specific areas of specialization within this type of consulting can include:

  • Management
  • Legal
  • Community

A perk of working in this role is that you have the option of being self-employed. However, if you prefer to work within a larger organization, there are opportunities for that, as well. For example, some law firms will hire legal nurse consultants as permanent staff members to serve as experts in medical cases. Consequently, your nursing expertise can help improve the health care field even if you are not working within a medical organization.

Though nurse consultants comprise a small portion of the workforce, they are among the highest paid. The average annual salary is $125,000, according to Nurse Journal.

Health services manager

Health care organizations require a high degree of organization and coordination to run properly. For this reason, the role of a health services manager is critical. Though not necessarily limited to individuals with an MSN or other nursing degree, nurses can thrive in this role. These professionals work behind the scenes with physicians, insurance providers and other administrators to solve problems and ensure that operations run smoothly.

If you are interested in becoming a health services manager, now is the time. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these positions are expected to increase by 17 percent between 2014 and 2024. This rate is much faster than average and will add approximately 56,300 new jobs in the U.S. The organization additionally reported that the median annual salary for a health service manager is $94,500.