Career Options for Nurses Seeking a New Challenge

The continued growth of healthcare professions may offer a range of options for qualified nurses looking to move into management and leadership roles. Several positions provide nurses with the opportunity for additional responsibility, including nursing administrator, clinical nurse manager, healthcare administrator and nursing home administrator.

Generally speaking, healthcare administrators are tasked with managing medical services in various settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and medical practices. These jobs require a combination of medical knowledge and management skills, as well as a thorough knowledge of the regulations that govern the healthcare industry.

Like managers in any field, healthcare administrators work to maximize the efficiency of facilities and organizations while keeping costs down and still providing the best possible services. Administrators must keep pace with changes to laws and regulations covering the healthcare industry.

The field of healthcare administration is expected to grow by 17% through 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), considered much faster than average for all jobs in the U.S.

As aging Baby Boomers create increased demand for health services, more healthcare managers will be needed.

In May 2016, healthcare administrators, a position the BLS classifies as medical and health services managers, had a median annual salary of $96,540, the agency said.

Healthcare Leadership Positions for Nurses

Nursing administrator, clinical nurse manager and nursing home administrator are among the potential positions available under the umbrella of healthcare administration.

Nursing administrators may supervise the entire nursing staff in a healthcare facility, including creating schedules, training staff, managing medical records and maintaining inventories. They also act as intermediaries among facility staff, patients and representatives from other departments.

A clinical nurse manager typically is responsible for the nursing department within a hospital or other medical facility. Also known as head or chief nurse, these professionals establish and administer policies and procedures for their departments, and may also be responsible for evaluating staff and developing budgets.

A nursing home administrator oversees the day-to-day activities of a nursing home or care facility, including personnel, admissions, finances and the care of residents. These professionals must have a state license. Nursing home administrators earned an average wage of $90,970 a year as of May 2016, the BLS reported.

In addition to their nursing qualifications, nurses will generally need a bachelor’s degree or higher in a field such as healthcare administration or business administration in order to advance into these supervisory positions.

An individual’s work experience will also help determine employment prospects and salary potential, as will local market factors. Nurses interested in pursuing a career in healthcare management or administration can seek additional information about professional development and certification through organizations such as the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management.

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