March 31, 2023

What is the Ideal Master’s Degree for a Nurse Pursuing a Healthcare Management Career?

For those individuals who possess a bachelor’s degree in nursing, advancement in the field may require securing a master’s degree in a number of areas. One excellent option to help further your career is a master’s degree in healthcare management.

Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN)

An MSN allows nurses to combine current medical theory, research, and evidence-based medicine to advance to the management level. Specializations in an MSN program allow students to focus on specific areas of nursing, including diabetes nursing, nurse education, or leadership and administration. An MSN allows nurses to be leaders in positions such as nurse manager or wellness program director, or educators within a nursing school program or a clinical training program.

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

An MBA might seem like an odd choice for a nurse, but there are many specializations available within an MBA, such as health care management. These programs offer coursework geared toward nurses and others in the medical field. Graduates have skills to oversee finances, accounting, marketing, and general management of an organization.

Master of Public Health (MPH)

While most nurses care for one patient at a time, public health nurses care for an entire population or community group. Public health nurses educate people about health issues, improve community health and safety and increase access to care. A master’s in public health allows nurses the skills to:

  • Monitor health trends and identify health risk factors unique to specific communities
  • Set priorities for health interventions providing the greatest benefit to the most people
  • Advocate with local, state and federal authorities to improve access to health services for underserved communities
  • Design and implement health education campaigns and disease prevention activities, such as immunizations and screenings
  • Tell people about locally available health care programs and services to improve access to care
  • Educate and provide direct health care services to vulnerable and at-risk populations

Public health nurses often work for government agencies, nonprofit groups, community health centers, and other organizations that aim to improve health at the community level.

Master of Science in Human Services (MS)

A master of science in human services offers nurses the skills to manage the coordination of departments and individuals in public safety, health care, and administration. They learn to positively address challenges such as job stability, housing, and health benefits for clients. Coursework in an MS in human services allows nurses to work in careers that solve social issues such as hunger and poverty.

Master of Health Administration (MHA)

An MHA degree provides a student with the skills needed to become a leader or administrator within a healthcare organization. Students in MHA programs learn to manage staff, research equipment purchases, and develop the practice capabilities of a clinical department. For those nurses wishing to pursue less clinical and more business-focused leadership roles within a clinic or hospital, an MHA is a good option.

Master of Public Administration (MPA)

Nurses earning an MPA degree will study current policies and practices of being an administrator within various public services. Coursework typically includes a study of ethical standards, advanced communication skills, and how to develop solutions to public policy issues. The MPA program provides a career focus on correcting issues that may exist within health services. Nurses can then become leaders in addressing shortcomings in health care settings and/or policies.

These are just of few of the many available areas for nurses who want to pursue master’s degrees in various areas of healthcare management and administration.