How to Become a Nurse Administrator in Wyoming

What is a Nurse Administrator?

The U.S. Bureau of Statistics projects 194,500 openings for Registered Nurses (RNs) each year. Turnover rates are high, particularly as nurses navigate burnout throughout the pandemic. Solid leadership is needed now more than ever, and nurse administrators serve as the glue that holds healthcare facilities’ business and clinical aspects together.

Nurse administrators are leadership executives that handle the finances, human resources, hiring, firing and evaluation of nursing staff. They’re also responsible for understanding healthcare policy and implementing best care practices across their organizations and teams. Nursing is changing and evolving rapidly, especially as healthcare shifts alongside new knowledge about widespread infectious diseases. Innovative and adaptive leadership requires skills beyond clocking in and out on the nursing floor.

How Do You Become a Nurse Administrator in Wyoming?

An RN in Wyoming makes an annual mean wage of $73,130, whereas a nurse administrator brings in around $104,500. That’s a significant difference in income that, of course, comes with increased responsibility. The nurse administrator profession should grow 32% by 2030, making it one of the fastest growing occupations in the U.S. RNs, by comparison, are only growing by 9%, just slightly over the average 8%.

Nurse administrators are called on for their business acumen and clinical knowledge, making them invaluable assets to healthcare institutions. To become a nurse administrator, you typically need years of experience and a proven leadership track record. And while you don’t have to pursue a graduate degree to break into leadership roles, the jobs often require or prefer them. Wyoming doesn’t offer many options regarding in-state programs, but the world of online universities provides accessible avenues toward nursing degrees.

Pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) could be your best route if you’re interested in healthcare leadership. Or, if you’re trying to enter the healthcare industry and don’t have a nursing degree, you could consider a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in healthcare.

It’s essential to consider your personal career goals, financial obligations and timeline when considering getting a higher degree. If you want to work and go to school, you might look for flexible online programs that allow you to work at your own pace. If you’re seeking more hands-on experience, you might try an in-state program that’s more connected to your surrounding community. Explore the programs below to see what’s right for you.

Best Nursing Programs in Wyoming

1. University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming (UW), a public land-grant research university in Laramie, Wyoming, opened its doors in 1886. Today, UW serves around 9,000 students and keeps its class sizes small with a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1. UW also caters to its 1,600 graduate students and offers over 90 graduate programs. The university is part of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains and is home to one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation. UW is also the only four-year university in the state, making it an appealing option for those who want to stay within their home territory to complete their degree.

UW has an online MSN with a Nurse Leader concentration available. This is a part-time degree open to those who currently hold an active RN license and a BSN from an accredited university. Students take core courses on pharmacology, pathophysiology, population and health policies, informatics and nursing leadership. Included in the core curriculum is a practicum on rural healthcare leadership. Upon completing the core coursework, students will also take specialty classes focusing on business and leadership within healthcare systems.

To apply, prospective students should have a BSN with at least a 3.0 GPA, a current RN license and proof of a completed statistics course. You’ll also need to pay for and pass a background check. To complete the admissions process, you’ll submit an online application, your official transcripts, a written self-reflective essay and your CV. Some students may also be required to interview with an admissions representative.

2. Western Governors University

Western Governors University (WGU) is an online university that makes higher education accessible. While WGU isn’t based in Wyoming, it does accept students from the state and has several nursing options for prospective students.

WGU offers several master’s degrees that could be of interest to those who want to become a nurse administrator: a Master of Health Leadership (MHL), a Healthcare MBA, or an MSN in Nursing Leadership & Management. The MHL focuses on value-based care, which means the program centers around outcomes rather than processes. That means that care is more personalized and tailored to the specific individual or population as opposed to being about a monetary transaction. Most students complete the degree within two years, and WGU accepts some transfer credits to help expedite the process. In addition, you’ll take courses on collaborative leadership, risk management, innovative solutions in health leadership, information technology, quality improvement, analytics and challenges in community healthcare. The MHL costs roughly $17,500 in total.

Because students can complete their degrees on an accelerated track, you can get your Healthcare MBA in as little as one year. By doing so, you also drastically reduce the cost of tuition to around $9,350. Again, these programs are designed to be accessible, so you can choose a schedule that works for you. The coursework for the MBA features classes like operations management, managing and leading people, accounting, data-driven decision making, marketing, ethical leadership and global economics. You’ll also complete a capstone project to showcase all you’ve learned throughout the degree program. This degree is ideal for those who may not have a background in healthcare but are looking to break into the industry.

If you want a more traditional nursing-related job that focuses on clinical care, the MSN in Nursing Leadership & Management might be the best choice for you. This degree requires you to have a BSN and an active RN license. The MSN also has certificates built into the program, like the National Association for Healthcare Quality HQ Principles certification and the CPHQ (NAHQ Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality), which can give you an edge on the job market. This program typically takes students about two years and can cost around $17,800. You’ll experience live simulations through immersive reality training and take courses on business case analysis, strategic planning, quality outcomes, advanced health assessment and evidenced-based innovation in nursing practice.

You’ll submit an online application and official transcripts to apply to any of these programs. The MSN is the only program that requires a BSN and an active RN license, but the MBA and the MHL only need evidence of a bachelor’s degree to apply.

3. Grand Canyon University

While Grand Canyon University (GCU) is in Phoenix, Arizona, it’s also an online university that accepts students who are Wyoming residents. GCU offers over 200 degree programs and is an excellent option for those pursuing a higher degree in nursing.

GCU’s MSN in Nursing Leadership in Healthcare Systems is for nurses interested in growing their professional careers and assuming leadership roles. The program is 36 credit hours in 8-week course blocks. Coursework focuses on healthcare’s financial and human resources aspects and includes a 16-week practicum on leadership in healthcare systems and an evidence-based practice project. If you don’t have a BSN, GCU offers a bridge program that allows RNs with non-nursing degrees to pursue their MSN. Students can follow the prompts of GCU’s online application to begin the admissions process and learn more about the program.

4. Purdue University Global

Purdue University is in Indiana, but its online university, Purdue University Global (PUG), enrolls students worldwide. PUG is rated as one of the most innovative schools in the U.S. and has over 175 degree programs.

PUG’s Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) invites students to study research methods, concepts and values integral to healthcare administration in various settings. The MHA prepares students for careers like health service managers, clinical managers and hospital administrators. This could be the program for you if you want to lead on the local, state or federal level or within the private industry.

5. Walden University

Walden University (WU) is another online university that could be a good option for nurses who already have a BSN or MSN and want to pursue a doctoral degree in nursing leadership. WU has over 70 degree programs and more than 260 concentrations and specializations.

WU’s DNP Executive Leadership prepares students to design and assess systems of care, interpret information and implement best practices, improve patient outcomes and evaluate quality improvement initiatives. The coursework includes healthcare policy and advocacy, quality improvement, evidence-based practice, information systems and organizational leadership. You’ll be assigned an enrollment specialist who can walk you through the admissions process, but the general application requirements include your official transcripts, a CV and an online application. To start the admission process, you’ll fill out a form so that your enrollment specialist can reach out to you and get you all set up.