Nurse Administrator Salary in 2023

Nurse Administrator Salary in 2023

The healthcare industry comprises hospitals, clinics, and long-term care centers, requiring managers and administrators. Many healthcare practices employ specialized nurse administrators to oversee the day-to-day running of the hospital or clinic and ensure patients are being cared for correctly. Nurse administrators are in charge of nursing staff, hospital policies, and general administrative work to ensure the smooth running of the medical facility. 

Nursing administration is a rewarding career for anyone with solid leadership skills who want to work in a healthcare setting. The job isn’t as hands-on as being a nurse, and many nursing administrators are involved in organizing nurses, budgets and writing reports rather than dealing with the day-to-day care of patients. 

If you’re looking to work in health care as a nursing administrator, read on to find out about this diverse and exciting field that is continually growing and evolving. We’ll tell you about what a nurse administrator does and which skills and qualifications you’ll require to get the job. 

What a nurse administrator does

A nursing administrator is in charge of assessing the patients’ needs and working with the health care team to ensure high standards of care. They are responsible for identifying any issues as they arise and identifying ways to solve these problems. Nursing administrators also study trends and create plans to reach the desired outcome. They can implement the plan to improve patient care and employees’ skills. A good nursing administration will utilize their skills, knowledge, and experience to enhance the quality of care provided by the nursing department. 

Nursing administrators also access employees’ abilities and use peer-reviewed research to provide continuing education opportunities to nurses and other medical professionals. They make decisions regarding patients’ care by collaborating with other departments and using ethics to make informed decisions. 

Nurse administrators are employed in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics, as well as rehabilitation centers and public health offices. The job does involve some patient interaction but is mainly concerned with managing the nursing team and administration side of the business. Every day is slightly different for a nursing administrator as it’s a varied career. The job involves ensuring quality care is provided to patients while following the facility’s rules and complying with state regulations. 

Nurse administrators are often given other titles, depending on where they work. You may see jobs advertised as nurse manager, nursing supervisor, or director of nursing depending on the scope of employment. The responsibilities of a nursing administrator will vary depending on where they’re employed and the type of patient population. Here are some of the typical job duties of a nurse manager: 

Looking after patients’ welfare

The primary role of a nurse executive is to look after the patients and liaise with their families to ensure high standards of care are being achieved. They will also determine which services should be offered to patients and look into any issues to help improve care. The nursing administrator will also ensure the facility is maintained and will oversee new projects. They will also address any complaints made by patients or their families to help improve future care. 

Supervising nursing staff 

The nurse administrator supervises nursing staff and other health care assistants. The role of the nurse administrator also involves recruiting new nurses and writing the roster for employees, and disciplining staff. 

The nursing administrator will liaise with training personnel to help improve nurses’ skills and fill gaps in their knowledge. Employee performance evaluations are completed regularly, and hiring and firing decisions are made. The nursing administrator may also be responsible for conducting employee counseling and working with the human resource manager to ensure staff are treated fairly at work, and any issues they have are resolved. 

Nursing leadership also involves checking that employees have the correct licenses, credentials, and qualifications to do their job and provide training to keep certifications up to date. The role also involves acting as a mentor for nursing staff to ensure they meet patients’ privacy and care requirements. 

Liaising with senior management

The role also involves representing nursing staff and facilitating communication between medical and administrative staff. The job consists of liaising between the nursing staff and senior management to ensure the department’s needs are met, and nurses’ voices are heard. To perform these tasks effectively, the nurse administrator requires good communication skills and the ability to negotiate with senior management. Strong leadership skills are also a must. 

As well as liaising with senior management, the nursing administrator will be required to write reports and meet targets set by senior staff. They will also attend managerial meetings with senior staff and facilitate meetings with the nurses and care team that they supervise. 


Nursing leadership involves implementing a budget for the nursing department to ensure that it runs efficiently. The job consists of meeting patients’ needs while adhering to the budget by making good business decisions. The role involves decision-making daily for various situations, from determining which services patients commonly require and which medical equipment needs to be purchased. Nursing administrators who work for a non-profit will also be required to participate in the departments fundraising efforts which may involve liaising with the fundraising department. 

Policy making

One of the primary roles of a nurse administrator is to aid in developing new policies and ensuring that current policies are adhered to by employees. 

The nurse administrator is also required to regularly access the policies and recommend updates to improve effectiveness. Before creating policies, data will be viewed, and insights will be gained from different departments to ensure the health care team can work effectively together to meet targets. The nurse administrator will also discuss any concerns employees have on new and existing policies and liaise with senior management to make necessary changes. 

What are the requirements to become a nurse administrator?

Nurse manager roles are filled by nurses who have undergone further training to advance their careers. Practitioners can move into the administration side of the organization by gaining additional qualifications and doing on-the-job training. 

To become a nurse executive, you must have an active nursing license and be registered as a nurse. It’s worth checking with the healthcare board in your state to see which requirements you need to meet as the process of becoming a registered nurse varies slightly depending on the state you live in. 

Most people enter the nursing profession by completing a master’s degree in either nursing (MSN) or healthcare administration (MHA). These programs take four years to complete. As a minimum, a bachelor’s degree such as a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) is required to enter the profession. Additional courses of study may be taken in leadership and management.

Most states require that you achieve an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing. If you’re already a qualified nurse practitioner, you may be able to study for a master of business administration (MBA) degree, which can be completed online while you work. You’ll also need to pass a background check to become a nurse administrator and take an exam organized by the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).

Gaining leadership skills

If you’re already working as a registered nurse and want to move into administration, it may be a good idea to assume a leadership role if possible. Leadership skills and experience can be obtained by working as a charge nurse or volunteering on a working committee. Gaining leadership outside of work through volunteering, study, or other employment is also beneficial as it indicates to employers that you’re serious about leadership and are looking to advance with your career.  

Students who aren’t currently working as a nurse but aspire to be a nurse administrator can join a student nursing association chapter and take on a leadership role. Joining other societies or student government and taking a role in the planning, organizing, and leadership will also be looked on favorably by employers.

Work experience 

Work experience is key to becoming a nurse administrator, as you’ll need to be able to lead and manage people and supervise teams. It’s a wise idea to look out for opportunities that allow you to take on a leadership role. Aim to become a charge nurse or shadow a supervisor to learn leadership and administrative skills. 

Obtain certification 

Many healthcare professionals looking to move into a nurse administrator position opt to study a nursing administration program. While this is optional, it is beneficial and will help when applying for a job. Certification can be obtained through either the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE).

To enroll in a certification nurse administrators or Nurse Executive program, you’ll require a a current RN license, as well as a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing. You’ll also need at least two years of administrative work experience or at least thirty hours of continued education in nursing administration. 

Starting salary for a nurse administrator

Nurse administrators generally earn more than a nurse practitioner salary as they have increased responsibilities. Additional skills and education are also required for the job, which is reflected in the pay scale. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics classes nurse administrators as medical and health services managers. The average wage is generally $115 160 per year, with starting salaries being upwards of $58,820 and top administrators earning as much as $189,000. 

The exact amount earned will depend on various factors, including education, type of degree or certification, and nursing leadership work experience. Pay rates also vary slightly between states and take into consideration local costs of living.

How much can a new nurse administrator make?

New nurse administrators who’ve gained up to a year’s leadership experience will earn an average salary of between $58,820 and $73,020. These figures are averages and include additional benefits such as tips, bonuses, and overtime pay. 

Early career nurse administrators with up to four years of work experience will generally earn an average salary of $80,904. 

How is the job outlook for nurse administrators?

The outlook for nurse administrators across the United States is excellent due to an aging population. There has been a significant increase in demand for all types of healthcare workers in all states. 

Many professionals are being recruited at all healthcare levels, so now is an excellent time to train as a nurse administrator. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there will be an increase of 18 percent in managerial jobs in the healthcare field over the next ten years. The healthcare industry is also expected to add jobs at all levels faster than in any other industry. The expected rise in health care jobs will be created by the generation known as baby boomers, who will need health care during their retirement and as they age. 

Skills that can affect a nurse administrator’s salary

Many factors affect nurse administrators’ salaries, including education, skills and experience, state and location, and employment.

Education level

One of the main factors that affect salary is the level of education obtained. As the route to becoming a nurse administrator varies, so does the pay scale for different levels of education. An Associate Degree in either Nursing or nurse administration generally takes three years to complete. This is the lowest qualification available and may be used to get a nursing job. Nurse administrators with this level of education will be paid less, especially if they have just joined the workforce and don’t have much experience. 

Those with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing will be paid slightly more as they have studied for four years to qualify. BSN-educated nurse administrators are likely to earn up to 25% more than those with an associate degree. 

Gaining a Master of Science in Nursing will move you up the pay scale as this qualification will take approximately six years to complete. A master’s program will allow you to become an Advanced Practice Nurse (APRN), and gaining further leadership experience can help you rise up the pay scale once you’re qualified as a nurse administrator. 


Becoming a health care administrator will give you a very varied career, and previous work experience will be considered before deciding on salary. Most hospitals consider the amount of time you’ve spent in a post and factor this into their salary scales. A nurse administrator with years of experience will rightfully earn a lot more than a career starter.


Nurse administrators employed in different states, cities, or regions will also have slightly different earnings potential. Some states have a higher cost of living and affect the pay scales of health care workers, including nurse administrators. 

Cost of living indexes will be consulted when setting salary rates for nursing and administrative staff. These indexes cover a range of costs, including rent, transport, and utility costs. The cost of living varies between states, and there’s also a difference between living in a city or a rural location. 

While nursing administrators in California are likely to have the highest salaries, the extra income will be used to meet basic living expenses. 

Healthcare organization 

Nurse administrators work in various places of employment, including hospitals, retirement homes, and clinics. The place of work and the role will be reflected in the salary. 


Shockingly there is sometimes a gender pay gap in the health care field, with male nurse administrators often earning more than their female colleagues. However, the statistics may be slightly misleading as male nurse administrators have often studied to a higher level of education, and their salary reflects this.  

What skills can increase your salary as a nurse administrator?

If you’re looking to boost your income, the best way to improve your nursing administrator salary is to gain extra qualifications. Continued education and work experience that allows you to gain leadership skills, including communication, negotiation, and team building, are advantageous. It’s also beneficial to gain interpersonal skills such as motivating others, acting as a mentor, and even counseling skills. A nursing director must also have good written communication and should stay up to date with the latest technologies. 

Which qualities should a nurse administrator have?

Nurse administrators are required to be collaborative, open-minded, and forward-thinking. They also need to be self-motivated, able to come up with creative solutions to problems, and diplomatic when dealing with nursing staff, patients, and family members. 

Nursing leaders also need to work well under pressure and be able to handle stressful situations. They also need good negotiation skills and should be able to manage conflict amongst employees. It would be beneficial to be a people person with strong leadership and communication skills and a compassionate nature. 

How can you become an effective nurse administrator?

Developing the right skill set and attitude for the job will help you become an effective nursing home administrator. While education is vital for getting a job, many of the skills you require to be successful, such as leadership, will be learned on the job.

Look beyond policies, rules, and regulations

Meeting complicated regulations which are constantly evolving is an ongoing challenge for nurse administrators. To do the job effectively, you’ll need to stay up to date with current state and federal regulations as well as healthcare policies. 

Nurse administrators put much effort into ensuring their team complies with policies, rules, and regulations. If you’re looking to be an effective nursing administrator that makes a difference in the lives of patients in your care, you’ll need to aim to become a strong leader. Going beyond the minimum standard will help your team achieve excellence. 

Government policies and regulations exist to ensure that healthcare professionals are meeting the correct level of care. However, it’s worth noting that nursing administrators shouldn’t merely meet the minimum standards by checking the requirements off a list. They should aim to improve standards of care by looking for opportunities to become more efficient and meet the resident’s needs. 

Stay up to date with changes

The nursing landscape is constantly changing, so nurses must stay up-to-date with their industry. A good nurse administrator will focus on innovation and improving policies to achieve good patient outcomes and help patients avoid being re-hospitalized in the future. 

Provide mentorship to colleagues as a nurse educator

Good nursing administrators will help to motivate and provide mentorship to nursing practitioners. and administration staff. This will help build a strong team that may include a critical care nurse, nurse midwife and nurse anesthetist. 

It’s imperative to assist employees in times of change by sharing knowledge of the industry and leading by example. 

Employee engagement will help achieve the desired result and can be achieved by offering support and creating a person-centered work culture that will lead to a high quality of care for the patients. 

Implement systems and technologies to streamline workflow

A successful nurse administrator will improve efficiency by researching systems and technologies that can be implemented to improve the facility. Integrated technologies can often be utilized to improve the way data is handled and to achieve the desired outcomes. For example, auditing systems or tools could be used to ensure the accuracy of financial data. Improved electronic medical records platforms could be implemented, and clinical systems invested in that will enhance the health care of patients or residents. 

Recruiting strong nursing staff

To be an effective nurse administrator, it’s also a good idea to stay up to date with the best recruitment methods. This involves promoting the job to employees in a positive way that demonstrates opportunities for career advancement. As a healthcare administrator, you may also be required to work with local recruitment agencies to find potential candidates or perhaps find candidates at local trade fairs or through professional societies. You’ll also need to develop effective interviewing techniques to find the best people for the job. 

Who hires nurse administrators?

The medical profession hires nurse administrators for a variety of leadership positions that involve making improvements to patient care. Nursing administrators can be employed in hospitals, clinics, and residential care facilities for the elderly, disabled people, or those who require rehabilitation, such as drug addicts. 

What careers exist in nursing administration?

Charge nurse (CN)

Each nursing unit will employ a Charge Nurse who’s responsible for organizing shifts and supervising nursing staff. While CNs are accountable for some administration in the hospital or care facility, they are still very much hands-on in all aspects of patient care. This role will suit those who want to develop both their leadership skills and nursing practice.

The CN will delegate work to nurses and assistance and handle patient admissions, discharges, and transfers. They are also responsible for monitoring patients’ medications, ordering medical supplies, and writing patient care plans. They also evaluate nurse’s performance and offer mentoring and guidance when necessary. 

Director of nursing (DON)

The Directors of Nursing is responsible for hiring nurses and providing them with training to ensure they excel in their job. The director will also make sure each shift is adequately covered. They also develop strategies such as programs or put procedures in place to improve patient care. 

A nurse director is responsible for managing the budget and ensure policies such as medication control, safety regulations, and infection control are being adhered to. They will also set departmental goals and investigate incidents or complaints. The American Association of Directors of Nursing Services has written an article about becoming a successful nursing director.

Clinical nurse leader (CNL)

The job of a clinical nurse leader is to oversee a specific medical department. The CNL will help to prevent medical errors and put into place procedures for reducing risks. They will keep an eye on patient’s medical assessments, write care plans and coordinate with professionals, including doctors, nutritionists, and occupational therapists. They will also improve patient safety by utilizing new practices and technologies to avoid medical liability. 

A clinical nurse specialist will also provide hands-on care for complex patient cases by conducting patient assessments, directing nurses and other health care professionals, and dispensing medication. They will also act as patient advocates and inform the patient and families about treatment goals. 

Patient care director (PCD)

The PCD is a critical frontline nurse who implements patient care programs to provide good quality care. They oversee patient admissions, answer questions and deal with complaints to ensure that each patient receives the correct care and support. This role also involves hiring and training nurses and ensuring government regulations are adhered to.

Chief nursing officer (CNO)

The Chief nursing officer holds an executive position and is responsible for overseeing the daily running of all nursing departments. This involves everything from hiring staff to providing training and ensuring patients are cared for to high standards.


Nursing administrator jobs are varied and can be challenging. If you have good leadership and communication skills and are compassionate, the role may be perfect for you. The best way to become a nursing administrator is to first become a nurse by studying for an associate’s degree, bachelor of science, or a master’s degree in nursing or nursing administration. 

Those employed in registered nurse jobs, can gain leadership skills by doing voluntary work, joining societies, or taking on additional administration duties. The outlook for nursing leaders is good, with an increase of jobs expected well into the future due to the aging baby boom generation. Salaries vary depending on the state you live in and your level of education and experience. Starting salaries are from $58,820, while the average salary is generally $115, 160 per year.  

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