Nursing Management Degree

Created by Henry Steele

By Henry Steele - May 24, 2018
Reading Time: 5 minutes
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Nursing managers are RNs who have several years of clinical experience as well as a degree in nursing management to qualify them to supervise nursing units in a variety of healthcare facilities.

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As a nursing management professional, which is similar to the role of medical and health services manager, you will be responsible for planning and directing nursing, medical and health services. You may be in charge of the nursing department, a certain clinical area, an entire facility, or the nursing staff for a group of physicians. Nursing managers must keep themselves up to date on healthcare laws, regulations and technology that affect the nursing staff.

Nursing managers and medical and health services managers work in close proximity with physicians and surgeons, nurses and medical and clinical laboratory technologists and other types of healthcare workers.

What Is Nursing Management?

Some of the basic responsibilities of nursing management positions are keeping a qualified and sufficient staff for taking care of the current level of patients; budgeting the nursing department’s expenditures according to the funds available; and ensuring patients are properly cared for and any problems are addressed.

Nursing management also includes vital features of leadership and administration methods that are associated with broad aspects of the nursing profession. Nursing managers are considered middle management positions in larger healthcare facilities. Nurse managers are responsible for the optimal function of the nursing unit as well as the patient healthcare that is provided by medical personnel. Nurse managers usually report to the director of nursing, and are are thought of as nursing staff representatives and the lead shift RNs that are reporting to them.


The job outlook for healthcare professionals is very bright generally speaking. Employment for all healthcare occupations will rise by 18% by 2026, much faster than average, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data. A total of 2.4 million new jobs will be added during this time. In fact, healthcare occupations are going to see a faster addition of workers than all other occupational groups. This growth is largely due to an aging population which is leading to a greater need for healthcare services of all types.

Job demand for nursing managers and medical and health services managers will grow by an impressive 20% from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than average. As the baby boom population is aging and people are staying more active later in life, they will want to access new technology and have procedures that allow them to continue to enjoy an active life.

This means there will be more need for doctors, nurses, nursing managers, medical procedures and healthcare facilities. There will also be greater need for various healthcare management professionals who are responsible for managing healthcare workers. It also is expected there will be more need for nursing care administrators as the population is getting older and living longer.

Employment should rise in particular in healthcare practitioner offices. .Many of the services that were once provided in hospitals are now for cost reasons being provided in offices of healthcare practitioners. There will be more need for nurses in these offices, and also for nursing managers who supervise them.

Career Paths

Medical and health services managers held approximately 352,000 jobs in 2016, and nursing managers were part of their number. The biggest employers of these healthcare workers were:

  • Hospitals: 36%
  • Doctors offices: 11%
  • Nursing and residential care facilities: 10%
  • Government: 8%
  • Outpatient care: 7%


BLS reports the median wage for medical and health services managers was $98,300 in 2017. The lowest 10% earned $58,300 and the top 10% earned more than $176,000. Medical and health services managers earned the following salaries based upon where they worked:

  • Hospitals: $107,200
  • Government: $106,500
  • Outpatient care centers: $89,900
  • Doctors’ offices: $89,700
  • Nursing and residential care facilities: $82,900 reports the median salary for a clinical nursing manager is $80,100, with a range between $59,600 and $109,900. The same site also notes the median salary for nursing managers is $82,600 with a range between $61,000 and $110,000.

Where you live in the US is also important in terms of the salary you will earn as a nursing professional or manager. BLS reports these cities have the highest salaries for RNs:

  • San Francisco: $136,610
  • San Jose: $120,600
  • Boston: $98,000
  • New York City: $88,100
  • Baltimore: $65,200
  • Phoenix: $74,900
  • Philadelphia: $81,200
  • Anchorage: $86,500
  • Honolulu: $89,200


Nursing managers with experience and a degree in nursing management should be able to find good employment in most of the country. Below are some of the top-rated employers of nurses, according to RN surveys in 2015:

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina
  • Carolinas Healthcare System
  • Cedars-Sinai
  • DaVita
  • Fresenius Medical Care North America
  • Howard University Hospital
  • Indiana University Health
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Los Angeles County Department of Health Services
  • Maimonides Medical Center
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Memorial Hermann – Texas Medical Center
  • Montefiore Medical Center

Bachelor’s Degree

Most nursing professionals who want to work in nursing management have at least three to five years of nursing experience, an RN designation and a bachelor of science in nursing. To move into management, it is generally required to have a master’s degree. Bachelor’s programs in nursing are generally focused on the clinical skills you need to become a successful RN. Once you have your bachelor’s and a few years of work experience, you should apply for a master of science in nursing program.

Master’s Degree

Nursing professionals who want to work in nursing and healthcare management typically earn a master’s of science in nursing with a focus on leadership and management. This type of graduate degree deals with the various human resources challenges that face healthcare organizations, as well as the changing and dynamic nature of the nursing strategic planning and management processes.

Admission Requirements

To be admitted into a master’s in nursing management program, these are the general qualifications:

  • Undergraduate degree in nursing
  • RN designation
  • Three to five years of clinical nursing experience, generally
  • GRE scores
  • Letters of recommendation
  • 5 GPA or higher
  • Updated resume with nursing experience
  • Prerequisite courses


Each university and program can set its own nursing management curriculum. American Sentinel University’s Master of Science in Nursing, Nursing Management and Organizational Leadership requires the following courses:

  • MSN Role Development
  • Advanced Pathophysiology
  • Theoretical Foundations
  • Research Design
  • Advanced Pharmacology
  • Advanced Physical Assessment
  • Leadership in Healthcare Organizations
  • Clinical and Administrative Systems
  • Healthcare Finance and Economics


There are several types of nursing management and healthcare management jobs that you you may work in with your master’s degree in nursing management:

  • Nursing home administrator: You will be responsible for managing nursing home staff, admissions, patients, finances, and general care of the facility. Licensure is required to be a nursing home administrator, which can vary by state.
  • Clinical manager: Responsible for the oversight of a specific clinical department, such as staff nurses, NICU nurses, or other types of nurses. Set and carry out nursing policies, goals and procedures, as well as set staff levels.
  • Health information manager: Responsible for security and maintenance of patient data and records in a nursing department. Required to stay up to date with constantly changing IT and current or proposed laws about nursing health information systems.

Financial Assistance

Earning a degree in nursing management can be costly, but there are grants and scholarships out there that can help to cover some of the costs:

  • Albert W. Dent Graduate Student Scholarship: $5000
  • Bachrach Family Scholarship for Excellence in Healthcare Administration: $1000 to $5000
  • Bill and Mary Russell Scholarship: $500
  • Corris Boyd Scholars Program: $40,000
  • David A. Winston Health Policy Scholarship: $10,000
  • Elliott C. Roberts Scholarship: $1000
  • Foster G. McGaw Graduate Student Scholarship: $5000


The American Organization of Nurse Executives or AONE offers the Certified Nurse Manager and Leader (CNML) credential that is designed especially for nursing leaders in the nurse manager profession. With this credential, you will be a recognized leader in your healthcare facility.


These nursing and healthcare associations are worth exploring for the networking and educational opportunities they provide:

  • American Nurses Association
  • National Student Nurses Association
  • American Psychiatric Nurses Association
  • Emergency Nurses Association

Nursing management jobs will be growing rapidly for many years to come as the US population is living much longer and wanting more healthcare services to enjoy their longer lifespan. Earning your degree in nursing management is a great idea for a long, lucrative healthcare career.


Henry Steele
Managing Editor
Henry is Managing Editor of He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.

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