Director of Nursing: Duties, Requirements and Responsibilities
Nurses who wish to advance to higher positions in healthcare management can become directors of nursing. These highly skilled professionals work at hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities. Read on to learn more about this career and how to attain it.
Job Duties for a Director of Nursing
Directors of nursing, also known as nursing directors, are registered nurses (RNs) who wish to assume more responsibility in a managerial capacity. Their duties can include:
- Supervising and reviewing nursing staff
- Overseeing the department budgets
- Reporting to high-level staff members
- Maintaining high standards of care
- Managing patients' data and medical records
- Interacting with doctors, patients and family members
Like other nurses, directors of nursing must be registered. This involves acquiring either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or a similar diploma. They also must then pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nursing (NCLEX-RN). Additional licensure requirements vary by state.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) notes that a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Healthcare Administration may be necessary for today's directors of nursing. This is because the scholastic focus in such programs includes leadership training, communication and critical thinking. In addition, there are dual master's degree programs in nursing and health services administration. Organizations such as the American Association of Colleges of Nursing can recommend accredited undergraduate and graduate nursing programs.
Directors of nursing should be caring and empathetic people. Though their position requires much more administrative than clinical duties nurses, they still deal with doctors, administrators, nurses, orderlies, patients and the general public; therefore, and should enjoy working with and being around people. Since many nursing directors spent years working as nurses, their medical expertise and experience can be valuable in determining policy and making difficult decisions on certain cases. Possessing strong leadership qualities, being a good judge of character and developing conflict-resolution skills should also prove helpful.
Career and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical and health service managers, including nursing directors, are projected to see a 22% increase in employment from 2010-2020. The mean annual wages for these workers were $98,460 in May 2012.
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