How to Become a Nurse Administrator in Indiana

Nurse administrators possess the expert skills and training to oversee a nursing workforce. The nurse administrator has various duties, including setting up meetings and establishing training materials for the nursing staff. While most nurse administrators work in hospitals, you will also find them in clinics, medical offices, long-term care facilities, schools and other medical venues.

Unlike a registered nurse, the nurse administrator oversees the activities of the nursing staff from a managerial perspective, similar to an office manager. They usually report to the CEO or VP. It is uncommon to find a nurse administrator working directly with patients. Still, in certain circumstances, you may find them lending a hand to one of their staff members or providing hands-on instruction.

Responsibilities of a Nurse Administrator

As heads of their departments, nurse administrators must possess leadership and communication skills and many other skills. Typical responsibilities for a nurse administrator include:

  • Hiring and scheduling of nurses
  • Performance reviews
  • Establishing and managing budgets
  • Developing and implementing department policies
  • Knowledge and enforcement of applicable healthcare laws
  • Coordinating with other departments to set and meet goals
  • Implementing new medical technologies as they develop

The responsibilities given to a nurse administrator may vary depending on the employer but usually remains similar to those above with a few additions or subtractions.

Reasons to Become a Nurse Administrator

Many roles must be filled in the healthcare field. While becoming a registered nurse may be ideal for some people, others may prefer to take their careers in a different direction. Those looking for a higher-ranking position may find some interest in becoming a nurse administrator.

Among the benefits of this career are the following:

  • Flexibility: There are a variety of settings and responsibilities involved in being a nurse administrator. You may find yourself working in a facility that caters to physical patient care, mental health care, elder care, or wellness care. You might work in a school, research facility or even find yourself in a doctor’s office.
  • Job growth: The Occupational Outlook Handbook shows that medical and health service managers continue to be a growing career, with anticipated growth of 32% between 2020 and 2030.
  • Administrative-based: The work of an RN can be physically tiresome. The transition to an administrative role working in an office rather than providing direct patient care is less taxing on the body.
  • Salary: Along with more responsibility comes higher pay. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an experienced RN working as a nurse administrator in Indiana averages $102,790 per year, but the salary can range from $85,682 to $105,052.

Educational Requirements for Nurse Administrators

Nurse administrators must have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Some employers may prefer a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). There are 28 separate BSN programs available at nursing schools in Indiana. Students usually finish their core classes and then apply for admission to nursing school. However, some programs approve admission to the nursing school at the same time as regular admission.

Proper accreditation is a must. Colleges not accredited by either the CCNE or the ACEN may not be eligible for financial aid programs. Some employers may not accept your credentials, making it difficult to get a license and find work. As long as your college is appropriately accredited, you should have no reasons not to be successful in your chosen career.

Nurse Administrator Requirements in Indiana

In Indiana, a BSN and a valid, unencumbered RN license are required to become a nurse administrator. While an MSN may put you ahead of the competition with certain employers, it isn’t needed. Likewise, you will find it more challenging to get a position as a nurse administrator before you have first gained experience as a registered nurse.

Your first step toward becoming a nurse administrator is to obtain your BSN at an accredited school. Suppose you are already a licensed practical nurse or a registered nurse with a lesser degree. In that case, you can explore your options with programs that consider your existing education and allow you to achieve an accelerated BSN degree.

Once you’ve achieved your BSN education, you’ll need to secure your nursing license. You will apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) at the end of your education. Once you have passed the NCLEX-RN, you will be issued a license to work as a registered nurse.

Next, you will want to find employment as a registered nurse. If you wish to continue your education and achieve an MSN, you can do so either before or while working as an RN. Moving into the nurse administrator role will be challenging without having worked as one. Becoming a nurse administrator without prior experience is possible, but it is rare. Employers prefer someone who has a working knowledge of the discipline. During your course of employment, you will want to be careful to keep all certifications and continuing education credits up to date.

Best Indiana Nursing Programs for Aspiring Nurse Administrators

If becoming a nurse administrator sounds like a career you’d like to pursue, then your first objective should be to find a nursing school to provide the education you’ll need to get started. The following schools are known for their top-tier BSN programs, high NCLEX-RN pass rates and overall student satisfaction.

1. Goshen College

Goshen College (GC) in Goshen holds an NCLEX pass rate of 96.20%. Their tuition averages about $33,200 per year for in-state students.

GC is home to one of the oldest nursing programs in the state. This small, private college has turned out quality nurses for over 70 years. With fewer than 1,000 students in attendance each year, their student-to-instructor ratio makes them ideal for those who prefer a more intimate classroom setting. The balance of academic instruction and practice in their BSN curriculum is perfect for preparing their nursing students for employment as registered nurses and beyond.

2. Purdue University

Purdue University (PU) in West Lafayette sports a 95.30% NCLEX pass rate and offers yearly tuition of around $10,002 for in-state students.

PU is one of the best colleges in this region of the nation. They provide excellent academic education and offer top-notch real-world experience through a network of hospitals in the area to those pursuing a BSN degree. Students can benefit from the knowledge and skills gained through practical learning at local healthcare outlets. Students can earn credits from approved professional and volunteer work to reduce required class time.

3. University of Saint Francis

The University of St. Francis (USF) in Fort Wayne boasts an NCLEX pass rate of 93.40% and an annual tuition cost of around $28,310 for in-state students.

This Catholic university offers a solid religion-based education to those who want one. Still, their BSN program isn’t as heavily saturated with the Catholic teachings as some of their other programs, making it a quality program for even those of another faith or without faith. In addition to classroom learning, students must complete 900 hours of clinical practice. USF’s modern medical equipment and connections to area hospitals set students up for success once they graduate and move into the workforce.

4. Valparaiso University

Valparaiso University (Valpo) in Valparaiso has a 93% NCLEX pass rate and costs an average of $37,450 per year in tuition.

Valpo is a private Lutheran-founded university whose student body comprises only about 25% of Lutheran students. With a curriculum designed for any religion or no religion and a student-to-instructor ratio of 11:1, they are an excellent fit for anyone seeking a quality nursing education. Though they offer several paths to obtaining a BSN, their traditional BSN degree is the most popular. The curriculum provides students with a sound, comprehensive education and exceptional practical skills.

5. Marian University

Marian University (MU) in Indianapolis has an NCLEX pass rate of 92.80% and yearly tuition of around $31,500 for all students.

MU is a private Christian university that doesn’t differentiate between in state and out-of-state students when charging tuition. Their campus is an ideal location within the region for nursing students to complete applied training and network at well-respected healthcare facilities, and the curriculum is top-notch. They take the guesswork out of applying to nursing school by approving admission into their BSN program directly out of high school. They set up graduates from their program for immediate employment through the contacts they’ve made through networking.

Once you’ve finished your education and obtained a license to become a practicing registered nurse from the Indiana State Board of Nursing, you are well on your way to becoming a nurse administrator. You can begin working as an RN while jumping right in to seek your desired position, though you may have more luck as you gain experience. With so much growth in this line of work, you will undoubtedly find a job as a nurse administrator with an employer that is right for you.