Nursing executives work in positions that combine leadership and management skills with traditional nursing methods and duties. Before you can work in this field, you need a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a master’s degree. While the usual master’s degree earned is an MS in Nursing, some executives earn an MBA or an MHA instead. They must also pass a certificate exam administered by the American Organization of Nurse Executives. Before you start an advanced degree program, evaluate the role more closely.
Work with Employees
One of the largest parts of working as a nurse executive is working with employees. Nurse executives are managers, responsible for the employees in their area. This includes shift scheduling, employee development and discipline. For example, an executive working for a hospital might ask nurses to take a certification test to work in the ICU ward or the emergency room of the hospital. Executives also inform workers of new programs and policies instituted by the organization.
Create New Policies
Most nursing executives develop and create new policies used by their employers. This can include both smaller policies that only affect a handful of people or larger policies that affect everyone involved with the organization. They might add a smaller policy that asks workers to label their food, request time off two weeks in advance or take turns cleaning the break room. Larger and more complex policies might include no dating between employees or forcing employees to work on holidays. Executives often work with their employers to create these policies.
Nursing executives have financial responsibilities related with to their department or the facility overall. According to Johnson & Johnson, one of the other duties of a nurse executive involves the budget. An annual budget shows the facility how much money it has and how much it can use in the coming year. Executives must make sure that they budget carefully to have money set aside for the salaries of employees, any new equipment needed by the facility and for general maintenance and repairs. If the facility lacks the necessary funds, it may need to close its doors.
Build Care Plans
Though nursing executives spend more time behind the scenes, they still work in the best interests of patients. Care plans refer to the treatment plans put in place by an executive for a specific patient. A nurse executive might look at a patient recently diagnosed with diabetes and create or approve a treatment plan. This plan may include upcoming appointments with a doctor on staff; visits to a nutritionist to discuss diet changes; and appointments with a physical therapist to learn at-home weight loss exercises. Nursing executives also build plans that apply to all patients, including the type of insurance accepted by the facility and the information taken by nurses during each appointment.
Nurse executives keep a medical facility running as smoothly as possible. They work with the doctors and nurses in the facility, but they also spend some time working with patients. The duties of a nurse executive include managing the nursing staff, developing policies and procedures for the facility and creating an annual budget.