Most nursing directors begin their career by becoming a registered nurse (RN), and after acquiring 2-5 years’ experience in the field, they advance to a director position. Nurses can find job openings in hospitals, doctors’ offices, nursing homes and other health care facilities.
Becoming an RN
After they have completed an approved program, which may include acquiring an associate’s degree, nursing candidates also have to pass the National Council Licensure Examination – Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN) and earn any certificates their state requires in order to be fully licensed.
Job requirements for a director of nursing
Many nursing director jobs available today are only open to applicants with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. This four-year program emphasizes the principles and science of nursing, nursing management, patient care, research and related clinical procedures.
Certain employers only hire nursing directors with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree, which is usually a two-year program. The related courses focus on management principles, ethics, financing health care, advanced research and pharmacology. Along with that, they may also have to complete additional licensing and certificate programs required by their state.
Nursing directors also need well-developed leadership and communication skills as they supervise the nursing staff and interact with physicians and patients. A registered nurse can advance on this career path as assistant unit manager or head nurse, and the experience will prepare them for the top position.
Salary data for nursing directors
As of May 2011, the average salary for these health care professionals is $120,414, and most make between $106,072 and $136,245. The salary of the lowest paid 10% is below $93,015, and the highest paid 10% earn more than $150, 657 on a yearly basis.
To put it mildly, the job outlook for directors of nursing is encouraging. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that job openings for a registered nurse will realize a 22% increase between 2008 and 2018. As nursing staffs grow, hospitals and other medical facilities will be looking for the nursing directors they need to operate efficiently.