If you are pursuing or already hold an advanced nursing degree, you can choose from a diverse range of career options. Many employers hiring for nursing management positions require candidates to hold a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. If you are an RN with clinical experience and have a talent for managing others and coordinating patient care, you should consider a career as a nursing service administrator.
What Are the Responsibilities of a Nursing Service Administrator?
Nursing service administrators manage nursing care programs and services for hospitals. They supervise staff nurses to ensure quality assurance in patient care, which involves making sure that nursing staff uphold the healthcare practices and standards set by the organization. The responsibilities of nursing service administrators also include hiring nurses, conducting staff performance evaluations, coordinating career development programs, staff budgeting and planning, purchasing supplies and equipment, and assigning staff resources to make sure that patients receive the treatments that they need. They may also be expected to:
- Create new services and programs for both patients and nursing staff
- Develop nursing policies, procedures and standards
- Ensure that the nursing unit complies with governmental healthcare regulations
- Review patient care to ensure it meets legal, ethical and safety standards
- Work with staff and patients to resolve any treatment or care issues
- Coordinate the training of nursing staff
- Make certain that patients and their families receive proper instructions for post-hospital care
- Communicate with physicians and senior hospital management on nursing activities
- Work with other departments and external organizations to ensure optimal patient care
In addition, nursing service administrators frequently collaborate with different levels of personnel including department managers, nurse supervisors, outside agencies and the public to ensure that patients are receiving the best possible care and services.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities Needed for This Job
Employers look for experienced registered nurses (RNs) with demonstrated skills and abilities in handling administrative tasks. Nursing service administrators need to be able to create and manage budgets, hire and retain nursing staff, and conduct other basic human resource functions. They also need to have good negotiation and communication skills, as they need to be able to communicate nursing staff needs to senior management and gain nurses’ buy-in on executive decisions. Other skills and abilities needed to do well in this position include:
- Attention to detail
- Good organization and analytical abilities
- Meticulous research and record-keeping practices
- Ability to manage and prioritize multiple tasks
- Proficiency in project management and delegation
- Comfort working within a faced-paced environment
- Self-reliance and ability to work with limited supervision
- Openness and tactfulness in giving and receiving feedback
- Good listening skills
- Ability to foster collaboration and teamwork
- Compassion and sensitivity for patients, family and staff
Education and Career Preparation
Nursing service administrators generally begin their careers as registered nurses (RNs). After having gained clinical nursing experience and advanced education, they may be eligible for promotion to this position. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is usually the minimum requirement, although employers often give preference to candidates who hold or who are pursuing their MSN in Nursing Administration from an accredited nursing school. A master’s in nursing degree is an excellent way to prepare for a nursing service administrator career, as it provides training in management techniques, medical practices and community health. Attaining an MSN degree is usually the first step to upper-level nursing management positions.
What Can You Expect to Earn as a Nursing Service Administrator?
Individuals in nursing service administrator jobs have similar incomes to other medical and health services managers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that managers in this field earned a median annual salary of $81,850 as of May 2009. Those in the middle 50% bracket earned between $63,700 and $105,980. While the lowest 10% had an income at or below $49,750, the top 10% brought in more than $140,300 per year.
The BLS reports that the job outlook for all medical and health services managers – including nursing service administrators – is expected to be excellent. BLS research suggests that employment in this field should grow much faster than the average for all occupations. The best opportunities will often go to nurses who hold an MSN in Nursing Administration, as a graduate degree can lead to a number of high-level roles – including nursing service administrator.