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Why Choose an MSN in Nursing Administration

Are you a nurse with a passion for leadership? Do you want to become involved in managing a team of nurses? Nurse administrators work with health system executives and help influence healthcare policy. If this sounds like something you're interested in, you may want to consider a Master of Science in Nursing – Nursing Administration degree. The online program at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), with its convenient format and affordable tuition, is perfect for working nurses who want to move into administration.

Benefits of an MSN in Nursing Administration

A major benefit to becoming a nurse administrator — and one we usually think of first when considering a new job — is the pay increase. According to PayScale data as of June 2019, nurse administrators make a median salary of approximately $86,278 annually, compared to registered nurses who make a median salary of $62,497.

Another benefit of being a nurse administrator is the impact you can have on your hospital and patients. In a leadership position, you'll be able to help your patients and nursing staff through development of policies to promote the safety and quality of patient care and the staff satisfaction only an experienced nurse can provide.

What Does a Nurse Administrator Do?

Nurse administrators can fill many roles, each with its own set of responsibilities.

Patient Care - As a nurse at any level, your first priority is patient care. This doesn't change when you become a nurse administrator even though you may not spend as much time at the bedside. Nurse administrators often have a hand in determining which nursing services are offered to patients. In the UAH online master's program, students learn this aspect of patient care in the course NUR 649: Quality, Safety and Risk Management.

Employee Management - Supervising nurses is often the primary responsibility of nurse administrators. They also recruit and hire new nurses, make schedules, perform staff evaluations, and counsel employees who may be having difficulties, to name a few others. Many of these duties require them to work closely with human resources. Nurse administrators may also be responsible for making sure licenses and other credentials are current. And possibly most important, they act as mentors and guides to nurses of all experience levels. The UAH MSN course NUR 631: Leadership in Human Resource Management covers these issues in depth.

Nurse Liaison - Nurse administrators are often the voice of the nursing staff. They must ensure clear communication between the nurses, doctors and senior management. Media relations may also be part of their job. Subjects of communication vary: HR issues, treatment options, legal issues and more. Because nurse administrators have to interact with so many different groups to discuss such varied topics, they must be expert communicators. Negotiation and leadership skills are also crucial. In NUR 630: Foundational Concepts for Nurse Administrators — the first course in the UAH program — you'll learn about the relationships and roles throughout healthcare systems as well as communication skills. 

Budgeting and Business Decisions - Because nurse administrators play such a vital role in managing their departments, they are often responsible for making budgets and overseeing their implementation. Keeping patient care always at the forefront, nurse administrators must make good business decisions when considering what services to offer and what equipment to buy. Efficiency is key in every aspect of the department. You'll become familiar with the business side of healthcare in the NUR 632: Healthcare Finance and Economics course. 

Policy Making - In conjunction with executives and managers of other departments, nurse administrators create hospital or facility policies. They are also responsible for implementing those policies and ensuring compliance from the nurses and staff who work under them. The Healthcare Finance and Economics course also covers issues related to policy making.

Other Skills You'll Gain Along the Way 

The online MSN — Nursing Administration program at UAH is dedicated to ensuring that graduates have the shared competencies defined by the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) and Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN):

  • Effective communication.
  • Teamwork and collaboration.
  • Safety and continuous quality improvement.
  • Diversity and cultural competency.
  • Patient-centered care.
  • Information technology.
  • Evidence-based practice.

For nurses who are passionate about patient care and looking for greater responsibilities throughout their healthcare facility, an MSN focused on nursing administration may be the ideal choice. Students can complete the UAH online coursework in as few as 12 months for a total cost of just $12,780. Because the MSN coursework at UAH is completely online, you can schedule schoolwork around work and family responsibilities.

Learn more about the UAH MSN – Nursing Administration online program.


The Houston Chronicle: Nurse Administrator Duties    

PayScale: Nurse Administrator Salary

PayScale: Registered Nurse (RN) Salary  

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