administrative nurse     

Management 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 organizations.

Administrative 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.


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