Career OverviewNurse executives implement the advanced practices of nursing administration in a range of positions. They are generally responsible for overseeing the practices use to monitor and promote the general health and the procedures used for acute care, ambulatory care, and long-term care in a range of institutions and used by a range of medical professionals.
In many respects, nursing executives are business managers. They are in charge of overseeing the business of a nursing practice, whether the practice is within a hospital or that of a series of private group nurses.
In their capacity as business executives, nurse executives promote and facilitate the collaboration of groups of health care professionals and they may partner with consumers, managing less noted areas of the health care system, whether on a small or large scale, such as accounting, public relations, and human resources management. Since all of these elements are essential to the functioning of a health care institution of any kind, the role of the nurse executive can be considered extremely viable to the operating success of the institution or agency they oversee.
One of the key practical and specialist roles of the nursing executive is the design of patient care delivery and the organization and management of nursing teams who administer diagnostic and treatment care.
Within the nursing community, nurse executives take considerable responsibility for the care of patients within a definite scope. They are generally responsible for policy management, direction setting for nursing departments, and system developments for patient care and staff collaboration.
Although preference may be given to nurses with clinical experience, the profession is sufficiently dynamic to offer career opportunities for those with less experience in clinical practice but demonstrated abilities in administration and management related to nursing. In specialist institutions, such as children's hospitals or nursing homes, experience in the specialist area, in pediatric or geriatric nursing for example, is particularly viable although not specifically required.
Nurse executives must have Master's Degrees in Nursing Administration as a minimum; however, doctoral degrees are required for promotion to upper executive and managerial positions. They are also required to maintain a current license in the state in which they work.
A number of nurse executives also hold specialist graduate or post-graduate certificates in preparation for their role as consultants in the health system. Certificate programs for nurse executives focus on developing the skills for advanced practice nurses to and the focus on developing the skills necessary for excellence in nursing administration, critical thinking, decision-making, and communications.
They must have strong leadership and management skills, complimented by sufficient experience in either hospital or business administration. Practical experience is necessary to warrant their placement in a prominent management position.
More information about finding programs for nurse executives can be found from the following organizations:
American Organization of Nurse Executives
325 7th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004
American Nurses Credentialing Center
600 Maryland Ave., SW, Suite 100 West
Washington, D.C. 20024-2571
American Nurses' Association
8518 Georgia Ave.,
Silver Spring, MD 20910www.nursingworld.org
Job OutlookIn the next decade, nursing will be one of the top 10 fastest growing professions in the United States according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Health care facilities will be looking to cut back on general costs.
The future looks bright in the nursing field, with the number of jobs for registered nurses expected to increase at a rate far greater than that of most other jobs in the next couple of years.
Over the next decade or so, the nursing profession is expected to change as well. Nearly one out of every eight Americans is over 65 years of age and the size of the elderly population looks set to double by 2050, according to the US Census Bureau.
Hospitals are constantly downsizing, cutting back on the number of general staff, and reducing the time of patients' stay as well. There is a need for trained and qualified professionals to administer and manage hospitals with a slant towards the management of nurses and nursing policies with regard to patients.
As the health care system changes and as nursing develops, there are going to be plenty of professional opportunities for nurse executives. The role of the nurse executive is and will remain a vital ingredient to ensure a positive experience for nurses and patients in hospitals and other areas of the health care system.
Career TrackNurse executives in hospitals, community health agencies, home care agencies, and long-term care facilities. They also work schools of Nursing in universities and colleges to oversee the training of nurses.
The outlook for nurse executives is certainly positive for the foreseeable future, in the context of the anticipated expansion of nursing. However, nurse executives must anticipate the changes to the practice of nursing and determine how best to respond to these changes. They need to prepare to meet the challenges that the changes in the nursing profession will present.
CompensationThe annual salaries of nurse executives varies according to the setting in which they work and their level of seniority. Most academic appointments are for a nine-month period, offering a salary that ranges between $80,000 and $200,000 per year.