Is There a Good Career Path in Hospital or Nursing Management?
The healthcare industry remains to be one of the most stable globally. Aside from the commonly-known jobs within it, there are many other professions and possible career paths that it can offer, especially in hospital and/or nursing management. Occupations, especially within the administrative side, are in demand in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. These positions are critical in keeping the hospital running and ensuring that there are quality facilities both for incoming and outgoing patients.
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Best Jobs in Hospital/Nursing Management
Hospital management is defined as the management of the hospital in its entirety, the bulk of which is coordination between departments and establishing proper communication channels in order to provide quality healthcare. From patient records to inventory of supplies, to disbursement of medicines and payments, hospital management employees ensure smooth cooperation to avoid inconveniencing patients.
Many healthcare professionals experience or learn aspects of hospital management in their studies and internships. They are required to be part of it on some level as their coordination is also critical in the upkeep of records for the hospital.
Nursing management on the other hand is specific to the management and assignments of nurses in specific units, as well as their training, further education, and support. Nurses are critical to the daily care of patients and the satisfaction of their families. Careers in medical and health services management require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and the respective license, along with several years of experience, depending on the position they are applying for.
Nurse managers are responsible for administrative roles with respect to the nurses in the hospital. They manage the nurses and represent them in hospital discussions. Their more specific roles include the scheduling of the nurses per week, as well as training and development with regard to new technologies or equipment that they will be using.
The minimum requirement to become a nursing manager is a Registered Nurse (RN) certification. Employers also usually require a certain number of years of experience and also prefer a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). There are also certifications that aspiring nurse managers can take, such as the American Organization for Nursing Leadership’s (AONL) Certified Nurse Manager and Leader (CNML).
For those applying for positions in the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), passing tests such as the NHS Numeracy Literacy Test is necessary to get through the next level of the application process.
Also known as a hospital executive or healthcare administrator, this role is responsible for the overall operations of the healthcare facility. This includes strategic planning, financial management, and coordination of services. Hospital administrators also ensure proper compliance in all aspects, from licensing requirements to patient privacy regulations.
Hospital Administrator careers start with a bachelor’s degree, something preferably related to healthcare such as Nursing, Public Health Administration, and Business Administration. Due to the weight of their responsibilities, they may also be required to have an MBA in Healthcare or related coursework, on top of years of experience.
Nursing supervisors oversee patient care operations, as well as monitoring nursing staff every shift. They ensure the quality of care of each patient and are required to be on top of each shift so no mistakes will be made. They focus more on the administrative side and ensure transparent operations, as well as training for new hires. Like any other team leader in other companies, they also provide feedback to their staff.
Like nurse managers, nurse supervisors are also required to be RNs with a significant amount of experience. Those with MSNs are also more preferred, although years of experience and other certifications such as Graduate Certificate in Nursing Administration and Leadership also bear significant weight.
Clinical Nurse Educator
Maintaining quality healthcare in hospitals doesn’t just mean new equipment. It also requires healthcare providers who are updated on the latest in the field of medicine, who can operate new medical equipment, and who can administer treatments successfully to patients in need. This is where Clinical Nurse Educators come in, as they are responsible for the design and delivery of nursing education programs, keeping them up to date with the fast pace of medicine and healthcare innovations.
Clinical nurse educators are specialty roles that require more than just an RN. Most hospitals require an MSN or even a PhD in Nursing Philosophy. They also need to obtain a Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) Certification, which proves their specialties and specific rank as an educator.
Nurse consultants on the other hand are specialty nurses that offer consultancy services based on specific needs of a hospital, whether for legal cases, healthcare quality and compliance, education and training, policy and program development, or risk management.
Many nurses work their way to becoming a consultant in their chosen specialties by studying and taking on courses while they practice, such as a Master’s Degree. For those specializing in legal aspects, they are also encouraged to pursue the Legal Nurse Consultant Certification (LNCC). The common progression from staff to consultant is staff nurse to charge nurse, to team leaders or managers, to clinical nurse specialists.
Nursing Directors are executive-level positions that play a critical role in developing and managing the entire nursing staff of a hospital or healthcare facility. They also shape the education and training of the nurses, as well as ensure proper budget and allocation.
Nursing directors need a minimum of MSN in related nursing fields, such as Nursing Education, Nursing Informatics, Public Health Nursing, and Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems. Those with a Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) are also highly preferred, as it is the highest level of education available for those practicing and seeking administrative positions in the US.
Chief Nursing Officer
Chief Nursing Officers or CNOs are at the top of the nursing administrative leaders, leading the strategic planning for staff and representing them in top management meetings. They are also in charge of policy development and compliance in line with the state or country they are practicing. In case of crises or certain key events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, they plan and execute crisis management plans that will ensure the protection of the staff while keeping the quality of healthcare in all departments.
Just like Nursing Directors, those who aim to be CNOs need MSNs or a DNP on top of years of experience and various administrative backgrounds to be considered for the position. Other certifications include Nurse Executive Certification (NE-BC) and Director of Nursing Services-Certified (DNS-CT) to improve leadership and management skills.
Why Choose Nursing Management
Nursing Management is a great way for RNs to further their career. While the responsibilities become definitely heavier, it also offers higher compensation. Obtaining specialty degrees and certifications also increases one’s demand in the field.
As of 2021, the average annual salary for medical and health services managers in the US is at $101,340. In the UK, managers at starting positions can expect £26,382 annually, while experienced ones can expect up to £68,525.
In the US, nurse managers start out at $28.11/hour or $58,470 annually, and can go as high as $42.11/hour or $87,591 annually as time goes by. In the UK, the average nurse manager salary is £20.51/hour or £40,000 per year. Entry-level positions can expect a salary of £35,666 per year while experienced ones can earn up to £50,000 per year.
Clinical nurse educators can expect to earn around $84,945 to $109,520 annually in the US and around £57,077 in the UK, depending on the position and specialty. Those who practice as freelancers can also expect a different salary range. Nursing consultant annual salaries on the other hand range from $83,082 to $100,466 in the US and £55,000 to £75,000 in the UK.
Nursing directors in the US earn an annual salary around the range of $142,115 to $187,227, while those in the UK earn an average of £83,135. For higher administrative positions such as hospital administrators, they can earn up to $381,775 annually in the US and up to £266,194 in the UK. Finally, Chief Nursing Officers can expect an annual salary range of $216,520 to $294,560 in the US and £115,670 to up to £216,000 in the UK.
In the United States, the average pay for each position also depends on the facility or hospital they work in.
Take note that these average annual salaries and ranges can change at any moment.
In the United States, employment for medical and health services managers is expected to grow 28% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. RNs can also expect more than 50,000 openings to open up for these positions each year over the next decade. Reasons for openings include the increasing number of hospitals, those who shift to different occupations, or those who will retire. The use of electronic health records (EHRs) will also create demand for managers with knowledge of health information technology (IT) and informatics systems.
In the UK, the NHS provides guidelines on how to shift to a management career, which also includes project management, finance, and corporate affairs. Proper preparation in the NHS is important if one aims to work for them.
A Stable Career in Healthcare Management
Registered nurses have many opportunities for growth and advancement in the hospital and nursing management field. While these leadership roles lean towards more administrative responsibilities, these positions still allow them to look out for patients and provide quality healthcare. Roles such as Nursing Supervisors, Nurse Educators, and Chief Nursing Officers are natural paths for those who see themselves in leadership roles.
If you are aiming to enter or advance your career in the field, you can expect a stable demand for jobs with varying salary ranges. As long as you are willing to do the work, study to pass application exams, and acquire in-demand or required certifications, there is a good career path waiting for you.
Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.