Nurse Administration- What’s Involved?
Are you a nurse considering your opportunities for career progression? Nurse administration is a challenging field that combines your nursing expertise with leadership and business acumen. As a nurse administrator,your job will be to ensure that patient care is delivered effectively across whole departments. If this sounds appealing to you, keep reading to find out how to enter the field.
What is nurse administration?
Nurse administration usually involves managing a department of nurses, ensuring the team runs smoothly and so enabling patients to receive the best possible care. Nurse administrators have a high-level overview of the hospital – for example, they might be responsible for overseeing the nursing departments at a hospital, or a network of departments at different hospitals. They work in all kinds of medical facilities- hospitals and doctors offices, retirement homes or urgent care clinics.
Nurse management is similar to nurse administration, but has a slightly narrower focus. For example, a nurse manager might be responsible for creating a budget for a nursing department, while a nurse administrator has a broader focus, perhaps responsible for the budgets of multiple departments.
How to enter the field
The role requires strong communication, leadership and analytical skills. Nurse administrators must have a bachelors of nursing, and many will also have a masters or PhD qualification in health management, health care administration or a related field. Many nurse administrators first train and work as registered nurses before moving into this management role through further study, which gives them valuable experience of what makes a good manager.
Responsibilities of nurse administrators
Managing your team
- Supervising and motivating a department of nurses, including reviewing their performance
- Organising staff work rosters
- Planning or designing staff training programmes and encouraging continuing education
- Interviewing and selecting new staff.
Financial planning and other administrative duties
- Developing budgets and approving spending for your department/s
- Liasing between the nursing staff and upper management, or other hospital departments
- Analysing and improving the quality and efficacy of patient care in your department.
How much patient contact is there?
Because nurse administration involves directly overseeing a team of nurses, it does involve some work on the hospital floor. However most of the day-to-day duties, such as planning budgets and rosters, designing training programmes and interviewing new hires are done in an office. A nurse administrator is primarily responsible for overseeing nurses’ work and ensuring they can do their jobs effectively, which means the amount of direct patient contact is limited.
It’s an ideal role for someone with a valuable mix of skills- you need to be a leader, able to motivate a team, but also have a sharp eye for detail and an ability to analyse what’s working and what isn’t and design any improvements.