Becoming A Nurse Administrator In Oregon

By Amanda Steele

Nurse administrators play many roles in hospitals and healthcare centers, but they generally work to lead teams of nurses as managers and administrators. Unlike nurses who work directly with patients to administer their care, nurse administrators do less one-on-one consulting with patients and do more behind the scenes.

Most nurse administrators start their careers as Registered Nurses (RN) and get some on-the-job training before being hired in their administrator roles.

These individuals have specific training and education to act as go-betweens or mediators for nurses, hospital administrators and patients.

In Oregon, there are specific steps people must take to start their careers as nurse administrators. Here is what you need to know about the process and where you can get training in Oregon for this position.

What Does A Nurse Administrator Do?

The exact responsibilities of a nurse administrator vary depending on where they work and the needs of the healthcare facility and community. However, they usually are in charge of the following seven things:

Dealing with budgets and reports and putting together schedules.Acting as a point of contact for hospital executives and the nursing staff.Setting up the policies for nurses at the facility, keeping staff up-to-date and complying with those standards. Establishing the goals for their department and the strategy to achieve or exceed those goals.Implementing plans for the nursing crew and any other interdepartmental decisions. Balancing the needs of patients, nurses, doctors, administrators, social workers and others involved in patient support functions. Directing with well-honed leadership skills and having the ability to work in an office setting.

Nurse administrators are also called nurse directors or nurse managers, so job listings with these roles are synonymous with one another. If you see any job listings seeking these positions, you can apply if you have completed training as a nurse administrator.

Do Nursing Administrators Have To Go To Graduate School?

In Oregon, many nurse administrators have a graduate-level degree, such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). This degree is not required for many jobs, however. The minimum education needed for most of these nurse manager roles is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and completing the testing requirements to become a Registered Nurse(RN).

Most nurse administrator job positions also ask that candidates have at least two years of experience working as a nurse. The best way to become an excellent potential nurse administrator is to have a graduate-level degree, have experience as a nurse and any extra training in your desired specialties.

Along with the MSN option, some nursing directors continue their education to obtain a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

The Steps You Should Take To Become A Nurse Administrator In Oregon

There are five steps you should take on your career path if you want to become a successful nurse administrator. Here’s what you should do:

Complete a degree program to get a BSN.

A BSN is a preferred route for becoming a nurse and having access to most jobs. While some individuals receive an associate’s degree instead, the BSN creates a stronger resume and opens the door to preferable employment opportunities. Turning an associate’s degree in nursing into a BSN is also possible, with many programs offering accelerated options.

Become a certified RN.

Even if someone completes their nursing program and graduates with honors, they can’t practice as a nurse until they are licensed. The government requires all nurses to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses(NCLEX-RN) before they can practice.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) sets passing standards for the NCLEX. According to their website, “The passing standard will remain at the current level of 0.00 logits that was instituted April 1, 2016, and will remain in effect through March 31, 2023.”

A logit is a measurement used to quantify differences between test-takers.

Many individuals taking the NCLEX exam participate in training programs or practice tests, which are often the best way to ensure you will pass the test and become an RN.

Get on-the-job training as a nurse.

After completing the requirements to become an RN, most nurse administrator candidates work in regular nursing positions at hospitals, doctor’s offices and other medical buildings. Some only work in these jobs for a couple of years while others remain for more extended periods. Working with patients in various healthcare settings allows individuals to learn about the needs of patients, nurses and hospital administrators before being in a position required to manage them.

Potentially get an MSN.

While not all healthcare facilities expect nursing administrators to have a graduate degree, several do. There are various online and in-person degree programs to get a Master of Science in Nursing. Some institutions even provide further focus or emphasis to help individuals specialize in a particular role. The more education you can get, the better your odds of finding the perfect job.

Strengthen their resume with desirable skills.

Like most healthcare jobs, nursing administrator roles require a balance of hard and soft skills. While you need the proper training and degrees, stand-out candidates can also manage teams and work well with others. They are often very organized and detail-oriented. Most importantly, they need to be leaders that are good at directing groups of people.

Best Graduate Nursing Programs In Oregon

Many universities and colleges in Oregon provide BSN programs, but there are not as many with graduate-level options in nursing. For individuals looking to stay in the state, these schools offer either master’s or doctorate degrees.

1. University of Portland: Doctor of Nursing Practice

The DNP degree at the University of Portland offers a mix of online and on-campus classes in Portland, with the in-person courses occurring on weekends. They also provide hands-on practices in clinics and healthcare settings.

They accept entry-level nurses and those with years of experience in the field but specifically look to hire people with strong leadership skills and an eye for social justice in healthcare.

2. Oregon Health & Science University: Master’s Degree Programs

The Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) has two master’s level options for nurses. The first is their Health Systems & Organizational Leadership (HSOL) route, and the second is the Master of Nursing Education (MNE) track.

  • Health Systems & Organizational Leadership (HSOL): This degree program helps nursing students learn administrator and organization roles and apply these skills to many hospital and healthcare settings. This track fits with most nursing administrator positions.
  • Master of Nursing Education (MNE): This online track focuses on helping nurses learn to become teachers and faculty members. These individuals usually work at nursing schools or in staff development roles at hospitals or healthcare centers.

For individuals looking to work as nurse administrators, the HSOL option is the best choice. An MNE is an excellent opportunity for people who prefer to work in healthcare and academia.

What Is The Job Outlook For Nurse Administrators In Oregon?

Healthcare careers can be both challenging and rewarding. It will take years of education and training to become a nurse administrator, whether pursuing a BSN, MSN, or DNP. The job can be demanding as it requires managing many people. Still, one upside is that nurse administrators work primarily in an office setting and are on their feet less than nurses who work directly with patients.

When it comes to salary, nurse administrators make around $101,340 per year. This figure comes from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. It refers to all medical and health service manager jobs, so the salary for nurse administrators can be lower or higher.

There are some available positions for nurse administrators in Oregon, with most around a $100,000 per year salary range. As many places need more healthcare workers since the impact of COVID-19, there are likely many options for qualified candidates to get a job that pays well and offers substantial benefits.

Reasons To Pursue A Nurse Administrator Career

If you are already working as a nurse, furthering your career or changing tracks into a managerial role could be beneficial. You will likely make more money, have more flexibility, and many people find the job less physically demanding. However, others prefer the daily interaction of working directly with patients.

For individuals just starting their careers in healthcare, thinking ahead to pursue a nursing administrator job is a wise decision. If this is your plan from the start, you can go after jobs that will start to train you in the skills you will need later in your career.

Nursing administrator jobs are highly respected and require extensive training and flexibility. They also offer the chance to make a genuine change in communities and healthcare systems which is a positive for many people.

If you are excited about the possibilities afforded as a nurse administrator, now is an excellent time to become one. With a generous salary and the opportunity to make a difference, now may be the right time for you to start your career in healthcare administration. This career track has the potential to be fulfilling and financially sound.