How to Become a Nurse Administrator in Kentucky

Nurse administrators perform a vital role in the medical industry. As the US population begins to age, the tasks accomplished by the nurse administrator will become even more essential. With the required education, skills and training, you can begin a career as a nurse administrator. In this crucial healthcare field, you will manage the daily activities of nurses and other healthcare staff. As a nursing administrator, you could work in various settings, such as a hospital, long-term care facility, school, clinic, research facility or as a consultant.

Employment Outlook for Nurse Administrators in Kentucky

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a nurse administrator employed in Kentucky makes a salary between $82,482 and $101,127, with the average being around $91,231. Salaries are based upon factors such as experience, education and certifications, so they can vary. Your salary may also be affected by things such as the employing facility’s location, the nature of the business and the job requirements. Employment opportunities in this field continue to grow each year.

What a Job as a Nurse Administrator Involves

The main purpose of a nurse administrator is to oversee the daily schedule of nurses and other healthcare staff assigned to them to ensure the highest level of patient care. The nurse administrator is responsible for ensuring that all nurses are adequately trained and maintain the required certifications to continue providing optimal care at all times. In this position, you might also create policies, determine budget requirements, and care for patients when needed.

The nurse administrator must possess a strong sense of leadership to be successful in their field. A diverse staff may report to you. You, in turn, may also be reporting to a variety of superiors who direct some of your activities. They will require that you maintain satisfactory progress and efficiency within your department. In many instances, you will report to a facility administrator or director of nursing, but this will depend on how the management branch is designed.

How to Become a Nurse Administrator in Kentucky

Before becoming a nurse administrator in Kentucky, you are required to be a registered nurse. This requires a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and an active, unencumbered nursing license. Additionally, some employers might require that you have a master’s degree. Experience can play a big part in landing a nurse administrator job. Your reputation, skills and knowledge are valuable assets that will play a key role in whether an employer chooses you over other candidates for the position. Where you attended college can also factor into an employer’s decision about hiring you.

Currently, 15 universities in Kentucky offer an undergraduate BSN degree. The tuition you pay can be affected by decisions like the school you choose, the type of degree you achieve, and how you attend classes. You may prefer to take classes online, in person or combine the two. However, if you choose to attend, you will likely pay around $40,000 in tuition for a four-year BSN program.

Students completing their BSN at a Kentucky University have a high success rate in passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Finishing your degree in this state puts you in a great position for immediate employment upon licensure. It will serve you well as you move into your desired nurse administrator role. The list of schools below includes some of the top schools regarding the strength of their curriculum, affordability and student success rates.

Top Ranking Nursing Programs in Kentucky for Future Nursing Leaders

1. Western Kentucky University (WKU)

The BSN program at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green has a 99% passage rate on the NCLEX-RN exam.

The nursing program at WKU is built on a solid liberal arts foundation. The state-of-the-art medical center, which houses the health sciences department, provides a simulated environment where nursing students can learn the clinical and practical skills they will need using medical dummies and modern hospital equipment. With the addition of supervised rounds in local healthcare facilities, students emerge from the BSN program prepared to take on their tasks as registered nurses and with the skills that can propel them into a future career as nurse administrators.

2. University of Kentucky (UK)

The BSN program at the University of Kentucky in Lexington has a 99% passage rate on the NCLEX-RN exam.

Housed in the university’s Chandler Medical Center, UK’s Clinical Simulation and Learning Center is accredited by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. Students learning in this modern facility benefit from modeled environments that provide acute, neonatal and intensive care units. Students learn hands-on skills using manikins that can be programmed to simulate various health conditions. This clinical practice is followed by rotations at the top-rated UK Healthcare facility and other hospitals, clinics and agencies in the region.

3. Eastern Kentucky University (EKU), Richmond

The BSN program at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond has a 98% passage rate on the NCLEX-RN exam.

EKU’s nursing program is a popular choice, especially among members of the military who are a part of the Nurse Enlisted Commissioning Programs. Given a special commendation by both Military Times and Forbes Magazine, you’ll find employers impressed with it on your resume. A mix of classroom instruction and simulated practice are provided in a structured environment while future nurses are learning. Those who are successful will move on to clinical rotations at teaching hospitals and healthcare providers that provide teaching opportunities to gain supervised real-world experience.

4. Lindsey Wilson College (LWC)

The BSN program at Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia has a 96% passage rate on the NCLEX-RN exam.

LWC is a private college with less than 3,000 students. Despite its small presence, it offers a vast experience for those pursuing careers in the nursing field. The school turns out fewer than two dozen BSN or RN-BSN students per year, but those who graduate from these programs are highly revered in the field. The hands-on academic and clinical training provided are top-notch in the nursing field and beyond. Unlike some universities, LWC doesn’t discount tuition for Kentucky residents. Still, the personalized nature of their nursing program is well worth the cost.

5. Murray State University (MSU)

The BSN program at Murray State University in Murray has a 96% passage rate on the NCLEX-RN exam.

The MSU nursing program provides not only the training needed to be a first-class nurse but the skills required to function as part of a team and the leadership skills to move into higher-ranking positions. Their top-of-the-line simulation lab provides a perfect environment for students to learn hands-on skills. Clinical rotations may be performed in both local and distanced locations that have trouble recruiting nursing staff otherwise. This provides students an opportunity to achieve positions right out of school in areas that don’t have a heavy concentration of new nurses coming into the field.

These are the top schools, but there are other quality universities available to provide the founding education you’ll need to achieve your goal of becoming a nurse administrator. A bit of research into the programs and outlook for graduates from any school will give you a better idea of what they offer. Do your homework, and you’ll find the right school for you.

Additional Requirements to Become a Nurse Administrator in Kentucky

Once you’ve completed your BSN degree, you must pass the Kentucky Board of Nursing (KBN) exam to become a licensed registered nurse. In addition to providing adequate transcripts and paying applicable fees, the KBN requires that you pass the jurisprudence exam and a criminal background check at both state and federal levels.

Next, you will need to pass the NCLEX-RN to be granted a nursing license in Kentucky. Once you’ve submitted the information necessary to apply for the exam and it is approved, you will receive permission to take the NCLEX-RN. The exam is administered by Pearson VUE.

Applying to Become a Nurse Administrator

After you’ve become a licensed registered nurse, you can take the next step toward achieving your goal by applying for a nurse administrator job. While many employers are looking for experience for this higher-level position, some facilities will forego this in favor of other factors. If you have transitioned from a career in licensed practical nursing, converted a diploma-based RN degree to a BSN, or previously worked in some health-related occupation, this might fulfill their requirements.

To maximize your chances of getting your first job as a nursing administrator, you should seek immediate employment as a registered nurse upon obtaining your license. This will allow you to gain the experience, skills, and knowledge needed to excel in your career choice. During your employment as an RN, you will need to complete all continuing education credits and keep your license in good standing. Any lapses can reflect poorly on your ability to organize and affect potential employment as a nurse administrator.

The competition for a position as a nurse administrator is intense. There are fewer positions and more requirements than entering the general nursing field. However, you can become a capable and well-earning nurse administrator with a solid education, good employment record, and excellent references.