5 Jobs for Nurses With an MSN in Administrative Leadership

When it comes to taking the next step in a nursing career, administrative leadership is an option that is in demand. By far, employment for registered nurses (RNs) is higher than that for any other healthcare occupation. At the same time, there is a growing need for RNs in administrative leadership roles.

A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) can prepare RNs to excel in leadership roles. At Northeastern State University (NSU), the MSN in Administrative Leadership in Nursing online program develops an RN’s leadership potential along with skills in human resources and healthcare finance. Students graduate in as few as 12 months ready for high-level roles in healthcare.

What Do RNs in Administrative Leadership Earn?

Anyone considering an advanced degree has probably considered the return on investment. Tuition for NSU’s MSN in administrative leadership is an affordable $11,500. The potential for higher salaries in the field makes the return on investment look even better.

How does a salary increase of almost $30,000 sound? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), RNs earn a median annual salary of $70,000. By comparison, nurse administrators earn $98,350, upwards of 40 percent more than RNs. At the top end, nurse administrators earn more than $176,130.

Like any occupation, wages for nurse administrators vary from state to state and from one employer to the next. Salaries also vary based on the particular position. In healthcare, as in many industries, top executives such as chief nursing officers typically earn more.

What Career Paths Can Nurse Administrators Take?

RNs who are ready to advance their careers can find what they are looking for in administration. Day-to-day responsibilities vary, but most leadership positions blend clinical expertise with healthcare finance, human resource management and leadership skills. A look at five popular job options follows:

  1. Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL): This position may involve patient care, but the focus is overseeing staff nurses in delivering evidence-based care. CNLs may collaborate with other medical personnel, such as pharmacists, physicians and social workers.
  1. Clinical Nurse Manager (CNM): This higher-level managerial position involves coordinating and managing nursing staff. An understanding of human resource management is important to be able to foster a positive and productive workplace environment.
  1. Nursing Director: This administrative position involves oversight of nursing staff and patient care in a hospital or other healthcare facility. Nursing directors oversee staff and manage workload and budget. They also collaborate with other medical personnel on patient care and administrative matters.
  1. Nurse Consultant: Nurse consultants can work in a variety of administrative capacities for large institutions. Examples of assignments include providing resource management, administering training needs, managing oversight of compliance issues, monitoring documentation and leading clinical improvement projects. Freedom and flexibility are big perks in this profession.
  1. Chief Nursing Officer (CNO): CNOs oversee all daily operations of an organization’s nursing staff. They collaborate with medical staff and other administrators to achieve high-quality care, while also ensuring financial goals are met. Similar titles include chief nurse executive and vice president of nursing.

Results of a 2017 Survey of Registered Nurses back up the need for more nurse leaders. With Millennials taking over the nursing workforce, it is only natural that healthcare organizations are turning to them to take on leadership roles. An MSN in administrative leadership in nursing can pave the way to this in-demand career path.

Learn more about Northeastern State University’s online MSN in Administrative Leadership in Nursing program.


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Registered Nurses

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Medical and Health Services Managers

Becker’s Hospital Review: Insights From the Front Lines: AMN Healthcare 2017 Survey of Registered Nurses

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