How to Become a Nurse Administrator in Rhode Island

What is a Nurse Administrator?

Nurse Administrators use a combination of leadership and business skills to manage and direct healthcare communities. They’re often called on for their interpersonal and clinical know-how to foster connections and build on best business practices in their place of work.

A Nurse Administrator will supervise nurses and healthcare staff across multiple settings, from hospital departments to physician’s offices to long-term care facilities. They’re the ones who are responsible for hiring and evaluating nurses as well as managing work schedules, budgets and continued training. Nurse Administrators are also key players in writing policy and ensuring things run smoothly so that improved outcomes and care can be offered to all patients.

How to Become a Nurse Administrator in Rhode Island

You need to hold an RN license to become a Nurse Administrator. While there are multiple paths toward achieving licensure, getting a four-year baccalaureate degree or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing is the most common. After earning your degree or your RN license, many choose to get some work experience under their belt before taking steps to broaden their career into leadership roles. With that extra knowledge and skills from the field, you may opt to pursue a graduate degree in administration or leadership. That could look like a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), depending on your previous educational experiences and career goals. Graduate degrees aren’t required to become a Nurse Administrator, but you’re often a more competitive candidate on the job market if you have one, and the degree programs can be great places to network.

Graduate degrees will also help prepare you to take national exams like the Nursing Executive certification (NE-BC). These certifications are not necessarily requirements, but they will add value to what you bring to the table when you’re on the job hunt. The projected growth rate for the Nurse Administrator profession is 32%, which means there will be numerous opportunities for jobs now and in the future. If you’d like to work full-time while furthering your education, you’ll want to check out some of the programs below. Some are offered in online, hybrid or in-person formats and choosing the best course of study will put you on the right path to achieving your career goals and getting the most out of your education.

Best Nursing Administration and Leadership Programs in Rhode Island

1. University of Rhode Island

The University of Rhode Island (URI) is a public land-grant research university with its main campus in Kingston. Hosting 2,256 graduate students, URI boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 16:1 and offers 78 different graduate degree programs.

While the degree is currently on hold, URI does have an MSN in Nursing Administration that could be a great option to consider. The coursework for the program consists of 41 credits and features classes on research, nursing theory, advanced leadership, and more. Additionally, students can choose from several electives on a whole host of subjects ranging from computing to community planning and alternative dispute resolutions. You’ll be placed in a clinical practice based on your learning needs and career goals to complete the program. The practicum culminates in a project about the organization in which you’re placed.

Prospective students need to be accepted into the graduate school as the first step toward acceptance into the MSN program. Once you’ve sent in the general application, you’ll then need to submit official transcripts showing proof of a BSN and at least a 3.0 GPA. Students must also hold an active RN license in Rhode Island and complete an undergraduate statistics course. To finish the application process, you’ll send a CV, two letters of recommendation and satisfactory scores on the GRE or MAT.

2. Salve Regina University

Salve Regina University (SRU) is a private university in Newport that enrolls just 679 graduate students with a student-to-faculty ratio of 13:1. The main campus sits on 80 acres and has a sweeping view of the Atlantic ocean.

SRU offers an online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree that prepares its graduates to take on leadership roles in various settings with a special focus on care and social justice. The classes are held in synchronous and asynchronous formats, aiming to encourage a welcoming community feel for every cohort. The coursework includes topics like ethics, business, law, health policy and more. With multiple start dates, the DNP can be completed in as little as 20 months.

To apply to the program, prospective students must hold an MSN with at least a 3.0 GPA and an active RN license. You’ll also have to submit a general application to the graduate school with official transcripts and evidence that you’ve completed three statistics courses and three master’s-level research classes. You’ll also be required to present a portfolio, including a CV with specific descriptions of your clinical experience, signed proof of the number of clinical hours you’ve completed and a personal statement. If you meet those requirements, you’ll also be asked to sit for an interview with someone from the graduate nursing committee.

3. Rhode Island College

Rhode Island College (RIC) is a public college located in Providence that serves over 7,000 students. The first public institution of higher education, RIC’s main campus is on 180 acres of suburban land, and the school offers over 25 graduate degree programs.

There are several routes toward furthering your nursing career at RIC. The DNP degree, in particular, empowers students to reach the highest levels of clinical and administrative leadership. The program can be completed in two years if you’re a full-time student or three years if you take classes part-time. The coursework focuses on systems leadership, advanced epidemiology, clinical research, and more. RIC emphasizes the translation of scientific evidence to inform best nursing practice, so you’ll find that as an underlying theme in many of your classes.

To get into the program, students must submit an application and pay the $50 fee. To be eligible, you’ll need to have earned an MSN or a BSN with a master’s degree in nursing or a related field before applying. Prospective students will also have to send official transcripts demonstrating at least a 3.0 GPA or better and proof of completing a graduate statistics course within the last five years with a grade of “C” or better. You’ll also need to send in a CV, a verification of the number of clinical hours you’ve done and a statement of intent that describes your leadership experiences, the area you’d like to specialize in and reasons for pursuing the DNP degree.

4. Brown University

Brown University (BU) is a private Ivy League research university located in Providence that serves 2,561 graduate students and offers over 80 graduate degree programs. The student-to-faculty ratio is incredibly small at just 6:1, making the BU experience competitive and connective.

BU offers an MSN in Healthcare Leadership that prepares its graduates to take on leadership roles in the evolving healthcare systems of today. The MSN can be completed in an accelerated 16-month course of study held online and in person. The courses include healthcare policy, marketing skills, finance and more. Students will also be asked to complete a Critical Challenge Project. This project focuses on a critical challenge in healthcare that’s identified by the student at the time of application. Students then work to solve the issue in collaboration with peers and other professionals throughout their studies.

To be admitted to the program, prospective students should have at least seven years of professional experience in a healthcare setting and an undergraduate degree. To apply, you’ll send in your official transcripts, a written description of the critical challenge you hope to address through your independent study, a personal statement, CV and three professional letters of recommendation.

5. Benedictine University

While Benedictine University (BenU) isn’t located in Rhode Island, it does offer one of the top-ranked MSN programs. If you’re looking for a quality program that’s flexible and entirely online, this may be a good choice for you.

BenU’s MSN with a concentration in Nurse Executive Leadership can be completed in two years with 15-semester credits on foundational courses and 21-semester credits of your concentration’s courses. Foundational courses include topics like interprofessional collaboration, ethics, healthcare policy and more. Your concentration coursework focuses on building effective communication, executive leadership, systems thinking, financial management and your clinical practicum. Your practicum requires 70 hours of a clinical learning experience and asks students to develop a nursing project proposal. The second part of the practicum is a capstone project wherein students demonstrate the knowledge and skills they’ve learned throughout the program through another 70 hours of work in a clinical setting.

To be admitted into the program, students must have a BSN with a minimum 2.75 GPA and proof of RN licensure. To apply, you’ll send in your official transcripts, one letter of recommendation, your resume or CV and a goal statement. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, so you can apply whenever it’s most convenient.