encompasses planning and styles of exercising leadership.
Administration involves structuring an environment and a process.
Management involves proper allocation of resources, including
people, capital, information, and equipment. Administration
defines the system-the policies and procedures-through which those
resources are utilized. The variation among nurse administrators'
roles and functions match the variation among healthcare
opportunities for nurses can be found in hospitals, health
departments, home health agencies, nursing corporations,
educational institutions, and in occupational health. In a
hospital, a nurse administrator would expect to start at the basic
level of head nurse, supervising staff nurses, recommending policy
and structural changes, and assisting in the implementation of
changes. In a county health department, for another example, an
entry-level administrator might work as a maternal-child health
coordinator, arranging services that include immunizations and
prenatal care. The next administrative level is more complex,
involving management responsibilities for entire services. Nurse
administrators at this level might be clinical managers of a
division, or manage a state wide organization such as visiting
nurse association. Talented nurse administrators may advance to
become hospital administrators, CEOs of nursing corporations, or
deans and presidents of universities.
Students who are interested in careers in administration require a
BSN degree. Then they need to look for entry-level opportunities,
such as might be available to a charge nurse. The next step up the
academic ladder is to acquire an MSN, preferably in nursing
administration. An option, for those who do not want to focus
solely on administration, is to get a clinical masters degree as
the main focus, as well as a functional emphasis in
administration. Yet another option that is becoming popular is to
combine MN and MBA degrees.
The most successful administrators are energetic, visionary people
who like to make things happen and who enjoy the challenge of
improving things. They must be disciplined with perseverance that
will enable them to achieve long-range plans. These professionals
also need enough self-confidence that they don't require, constant
praise or consistent feedback for a job well done.