Sometimes, people underestimate the role of “administrator” or “admin.” But in healthcare, administration is essential for departments to keep the facility running smoothly. Nurses in administration are in a powerful position to influence organizational efficiency. They understand the important work nursing staff performs and advocate for a well-oiled nursing machine.
Yet, nurses who have traditionally served in a bedside care capacity can’t necessarily jump to an administrative position. There are certain skills nurses in administration need to possess to do their job at the highest level. Students in a Registered Nurse (RN) to Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) – Nursing Administration program gain these high-demand skills for administration and leadership.
Important Skills for Nurse Administrators
The following represent key skill sets nurse administrators must have:
Communication at every level within healthcare is essential. Nurse administrators deal with both nursing staff and healthcare leaders. They often serve as the pipeline between the two. Part of good communication involves listening.
“Listening is one of the most overlooked interpersonal skills in leadership positions. […] Understanding your team’s individual wants and needs and being able to provide or temper them builds a lasting trust that will impact culture, performance and outcomes,” states Tom De Santes, director of communications for Laudio, an AI-centered healthcare platform.
It’s easy to get into a pattern of putting out fires, especially in the nursing profession. It seems there is always something to attend to. However, nurse administrators will experience better overall outcomes if they focus on the future. Setting goals for weeks, months or years down the road helps keep daily activities on track. Doing so also gives hospital leadership confidence in nurse administrators because they know those administrators emphasize the long-term health of the health system.
Willingness to Delegate
It’s common for leaders to want to keep control of every situation. That’s part of what has helped them rise to leadership positions. However, it can also be detrimental to the organization. Nurse administrators must be able to delegate certain duties and also know when it’s appropriate to do so. This optimizes time management and frees up administrators to focus on their own work.
A healthcare organization’s success depends on the entire organization. While administrators play an integral role, so do the staff members under their charge. An administrator should never act like a dictator. Instead, showing appreciation for the staff and helping them learn and grow improves employee relations and retention.
Daily Responsibilities of a Nurse Administrator?
No two days will look alike in a nurse administrator role. Yet, there are some common duties nurse administrators perform throughout their work:
- Recruit, onboard and train new staff members.
- Ensure all nurses are current with certifications and any required continuing education.
- Advise on purchasing decisions and create budget plans to support department needs.
- Communicate with upper leadership (C-suite members).
- Create and enforce departmental guidelines and policies.
- Promote processes that improve patient care and optimize outcomes.
All the skills mentioned above contribute to nurse administrators being able to fulfill their duties.
The Demand for Skilled Nurse Administrators
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that medical and health services managers, including nurse administrators, have a job outlook rate much higher than average. That fact is reflected in earning potential. Per BLS, the most recent data surrounding salary indicates the median annual wage for these positions was $101,340 (May 2021).
It’s important to note that not just “any” nurse administrator will suffice in today’s healthcare landscape. For example, responsibilities have become more complex over the last decade-plus. Rising healthcare costs and the perpetual nursing shortage require extensive experience in mitigating those challenges. One critical focus going forward will be to improve nurse retention.
There’s also the changing generational landscape within nursing. Millennial and Generation Z nurses have different experiences and expectations than older nurses. Nurse leaders must recognize those generational differences and be able to work with younger nurses and facilitate staff collaboration.
Develop the Confidence to Excel in Your Career
One crucial skill not mentioned above is confidence. Nurse administrators need to be confident in their ability to perform duties as expected, keep staff engaged, speak the language of upper management and still keep their sanity. Fortunately, they don’t have to navigate that journey alone.
The online RN to MSN – Nursing Administration program from Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) prepares nurses to serve in administrative roles across several healthcare settings. A robust and comprehensive coursework lineup covers everything from healthcare policy and finance to evidence-based practice and quality healthcare outcomes. The Nurse Executive Integrative Leadership Practicum course concludes the program, incorporating everything nurses learned to that point.
Upon graduation, nurses can seek employment in many different capacities and environments. With the program’s accelerated nature, graduates can start on that path in as few as 18 months.
Learn more about TAMIU’s online RN to MSN – Nursing Administration program.