A person who is interested in a degree, license and certification as a registered nurse may wonder, “What is a nurse administrator?” This type of nurse does less patient care and more management, planning, and oversight. Nurse administrators may supervise floor or staff nurses, oversee nursing care, work for insurance companies or act as care coordinators in hospitals and physician offices.
Related resource: Top 20 Online Master’s Degrees in Nursing Administration and Leadership
Manager of Nursing Staff
Nurse administrators mostly work in offices, but they have to understand how the healthcare facility works, what patients need, how to ethically deliver healthcare services and how to manage the nursing staff. The nurse administrator will typically handle the scheduling of registered nurses. They may also do the interviewing and participate in the hiring process. They often develop employee training materials and pair new hires with more experienced floor nurses in order to get new employees up to speed. When necessary, they discipline the nursing staff, including firing them for workplace violations.
Coordinator of Nursing Activities
A nurse administrator is also a coordinator of nursing activities. They set priorities for the nursing care provided to patients. They also make sure that the nursing care at the facility meets all ethical and legal standards of care. Many nurse administrators document the types and scope of care provided to patients. They may review patient charts and records in order to ensure that patients received optimal care. Nurse administrators may be responsible for the documentation required for hospital certification and licensing. They may also interact with insurance companies, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, their state hospital association or licensing authority and the state department of insurance.
Evaluator of Floor Nurses
Nurse administrators evaluate the nurses they supervise. They may implement continuing education or professional development opportunities. The nurse administrators keep nurses up-to-date on the best practices for nursing. For example, if the standard of care for caring for an elderly patient with influenza changes, the nurse administrator will inform the intensive care unit and other nurses about the changes. A nurse administrator may recommend disciplinary actions for a nurse who is not working at the expected standards. They may also implement rewards for nurses who do an excellent job.
How to Become a Nurse Administrator
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a registered nurse who has worked as a charge or head nurse could move into a management role. In order to do this, they would also need to earn their master’s degree in nursing or in another field, such as healthcare administration or public health. Nursing administrators work in a variety of settings, including acute care, ambulatory, long-term care, doctor’s offices, emergency rooms, and mental health hospitals. Some of the qualities of a successful nurse administrator include leadership, communication skills, business sense, marketing skills, quality assurance negotiation skills, policy implementation, and good judgment.
Nurse administrators need many years of experience as a registered nurse. They also need some administrative or managerial experience. Becoming a nurse administrator could be a lucrative career for a person who enjoys nursing and wants to help other nurses provide the best possible patient care. Knowing the answer to, “What is a nurse administrator?” could facilitate a person’s decision to earn a master’s degree in nursing and choose an administrative career path within the profession.