How to Become a Nurse Administrator in Florida

Florida has the fourth-largest health care industry in the United States, with healthcare employment reaching just over one million workers. Known as the state for vacationing, getting away from the cold winter months and retirement, the average age of Florida residents is 42 years.

As is true across the nation, nurses are in demand in Florida, which means nurse administrators are also in demand.

Career Outlook Nurse Administrator

Florida’s population of 19 million, 20% of whom are over the age of 65, supports the fact that the healthcare industry has a strong hold in the state. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Florida has the 4th highest number of registered nurses at just over 185,000 RNs employed in the state. Some nurses may decide to go even further in their field and pursue a master’s degree to become a nurse administrator.

Nurse administrators need to be not only competent in their field, but in leadership and management. They utilize their education to help lead patient care teams while ensuring quality care is provided in the healthcare facility. An understanding of management is the foundation of nurse administration, as this position oversees not only nursing staff, but patients and facility operations as well.

Nurse administrators are hired to identify issues and anticipate outcomes. They need the necessary problem solving skills to react quickly and carry out plans efficiently. Communication is key in this position. Hospitals, rehabilitation centers, mental health facilities and specialists’ offices are just some of the places you’ll find nurse admins employed.

The healthcare industry will grow about 32% – far above the national average. In this time, almost 140,000 jobs will be added to the industry. Nurse administrators can be responsible for anywhere from 75 – 150 employees, so this position will undoubtedly see a jump in growth as well. As nurse administrators are essential to running a healthcare facility, the career is a stable one.

Salaries for this position are generally high, with an average of just over $72,000 a year. But it ranges between $30 – 200K depending on the employer, facility and experience level or education of the individual.

Certification or Licensing Requirements in Florida

To become a nurse administrator, interested parties must first hold a BA or BS in nursing. Registered nurses will then need to pursue a master’s degree program at the academic center of their choice. Many universities and colleges require an RN to have at least one year of experience in the field to be accepted in the program.

The state of Florida has a Board of Nursing. Their online site functions as a resource for administrators and administrators-in-training, tracking licensing, renewals and general information about the career. Under Florida law, the initial application for a nurse administrator is guaranteed to be reviewed in 30 days. Florida regulations require nursing administrators to be actively licensed in the state and their area of practice.

On the Board of Nursing site, registered nurses can apply for licensure in the state, renew their license and check their application status. Institutions and employers can look up a license for verification or file a complaint.

Nurse Leadership and Administration Programs in Florida

1. Jacksonville University – Master’s in Nursing Administration

Jacksonville University has just over 4,000 students enrolled each year. Located in Jacksonville, Florida, this university is a private liberal arts institution. It has been named “America’s Best College” in the south by the US News & World Report for more than ten consecutive years. The 240 acre, waterfront campus is a big draw for many students, as well as the low cost of tuition.

JU has a 17:1 student to teacher ratio and a 77.7% acceptance rate for new students. Students have a choice between four residence halls and the Village Apartments. Graduate housing options are limited and the Residence Life department is able to help higher education students find appropriate lodgings for their semester.

The university offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing under the Keigwin School of Nursing. For students who already have a BSN or RN and are looking to pursue a career in nursing administration, the appropriate program, Master of Science in Nursing, includes a Nursing Leadership in Healthcare Systems option.

This program is designed to give your nursing career that extra push to take on nursing leadership. Graduates are trained to take on various leadership positions in a variety of healthcare settings and systems. JU’s program also aligns the curriculum with the American Organization for Nursing Leadership Nurse Manager and Leader Certification.

The Nursing Leadership program is offered both full and part time so that graduate students can learn at their own pace and shape their education around their day-to-day life. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in clinical projects.

For those who already have an MS in nursing, Jacksonville University also offers a Leadership in the Healthcare System post-graduate certificate.

Scholarships for online MSN students are currently available, covering $1500. To apply to this program, students must complete the JU application; turn in transcripts from previous colleges and universities; have a minimum 3.0 GPA; have graduated from a CCNE, NLN or ACEN accredited BSN program; submit a resume; hold an active US Nursing License and submit a statement of intent.

2. Nova Southeastern University – MSN in Health Systems Leadership

Nova Southeastern is a private research university located in Davie, Florida, on the west coast of the state. Davie is less than an hour north of Miami. NSU ranked 51st on the Times Higher Education Young University Ranking.

Over 22,000 students enroll at NSU annually. The university has a 76% acceptance rate and an average class size of 17. There are also 17 NCAA Division II athletic teams run out of NSU, and the university also ranks 6th in the US for the highest number of minority graduate degree recipients.

Nova has several regional campuses outside of its main campus in Davie. These include Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Miramar, Orlando, Palm Beach and Tampa. An additional campus is also located in San Juan, Puerto Rico. NSU’s goal is to make sure their students get an education in a comfortable setting that is convenient to their lifestyle.

The Ron and Kathy Assaf College of Nursing offers an MSN in Executive Nurse Leadership, a program designed to give current, active nurses an “edge” in their careers. The focus is on learning how to guide a health care team while completing foundational nursing courses. Three semester hours of the program include a mentored practicum leadership experience.

Online courses for the MSN program allow nurses to continue working and spending time with their friends and families as they pursue this degree. A total of 36 credits is needed to complete the program, with coursework available online or at NSU’s Palm Beach campus.

To apply, prospective students must submit a NursingCAS application, provide transcripts, complete a supplemental NSU application, have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, hold a BS or a BA nursing degree, hace a current RN license in the United States and provide a curriculum vitae.

3. Barry University – Nurse Practitioner MSN

Barry University is a private university located in Miami, Florida. It has a 65% acceptance rate and a total enrollment of just over 7,500 students. The student-to-faulty ratio is a bit high at 27:1, but students and alumni give this university great reviews when it comes to culture, facilities, activities and career preparation.

Graduate students have the option to live on campus at Benicasea or Kolasa Hall. Barry University supports the belief that living on campus provides a greater opportunity for involvement and has an increased college success rate.

Barry University designs its programs to fit the needs of working professionals, making this school an excellent option for nurses who want to continue their work. The College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Barry offers two Nurse MSN programs: Nurse Practitioner MSN Family Practice and Nurse Practitioner MSN Adult-Gerontology Acute Care. Both programs are appropriate for nurses looking to move into the leadership setting of a nurse administrator.

The difference between the two programs is related to the patients they serve. Family practice nurses will see patients of all ages from diverse backgrounds; adult-gerontology nurses will see only adult patients, including the elderly.

For nurses who have already completed a graduate degree program, the university also offers a Nurse Practitioner Post Master’s Certificate. This certification allows students to pursue a career in nurse administration.

Admissions to Barry University’s Nurse MSN programs require the following: a BA or graduate degree in nursing, a current license as a registered nurse in the United States, a minimum of one year of clinical experience as a registered nurse within the last year, a minimum GPA of 3.0, transcripts for an undergraduate nursing course and statistics course, completion of an admissions interview and two letters of recommendation from professional references.

Candidates who apply to the program and are selected for admission on the basis of high promise for completion can receive financial aid in the form of a 25% tuition scholarship.