3 minute read

Director of Nursing

Education and Training: Associate’s degree
Average Salary: $62,500
Job Outlook: Excellent

The director of nursing is in charge of the nursing unit at hospitals, institutions, and other places where healthcare is delivered. The director of nursing oversees registered nurses who perform a number of duties while caring for patients. In general, nurses treat patients, record medical histories, analyze results, assist doctors, and administer tests.

The director of nursing can hold a number of operational and managerial responsibilities. He or she may be in charge of scheduling, education, training, and attending some personnel issues while also overseeing the care of patients or possibly even providing care, too.

Education and Training Requirements

A director of nursing must possess a bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree, or certification from an approved nursing training program. They must be licensed by the state. In college, people must study nursing in order to become a registered nurse.

In the classroom, nurses will study anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition, psychology, and other behavioral sciences. Nurses will also spend a minimum amount of hours in a clinical setting like a hospital. There is a lot of on-the-job training in the nursing profession, and there are a number of different areas one can specialize in.

Getting the Job

Most directors of nursing begin as registered nurses in hospitals or other clinical settings. With high performance come promotions to positions with more responsibility, including assistant unit manager, and senior-level administrative roles like assistant director, director, and vice president, and chief of nursing. An apprenticeship in a hospital or other place where nurses deliver healthcare can help one secure employment. It is tough to earn a director of nursing position because there is intense competition for the jobs.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Overall, opportunities for nurses is expected to be excellent, and the field is expected to grow 22 percent, which is faster than the average. Positive factors for growth include the technological advances in healthcare, the growth of preventative care, the aging population which will require more healthcare and the need to replace workers who have left the occupation. With the increased number of nurses comes the increased need for directors of nursing. Negative factors on employment growth include cost-cutting. In hospitals, the growth is expected to climb more slowly as nurses continue to handle more patients on each shift. However, in outpatient hospitals, the growth is expected to increase.

Directors of nursing can move on to any number of positions, vice president of nursing, chief of nursing, or even teaching positions. Other directors of nursing frequently move to the business healthcare field, consultant, research, or other administrative roles.

Working Conditions and Environment

Directors of nursing split their time in two types of work environments. Most work in office-type settings where they perform the administrative duties of the job. They also may work in the operations portion of healthcare facilities where patients are cared for. This can be a stressful position as the healthcare field is a physically and emotionally demanding field. Nurses are subject to contact with ill people, infectious diseases, medicine, and medical-related waste, etc.

Salary and Benefits

The median wage for a nurse is $62,500. Directors can earn more than that depending on where they work, the list of responsibilities they have, location, and size of the healthcare operation. Ranges in the nursing field are between $51,000 and $76,000. Though some nurses made more than $90,000 on average.

Where to Go for More Information

American Nurses Association
8515 Georgia Ave., Ste. 400
Silver Spring, MD 20910
(800) 274-4ANA

National Student Nurses’ Association
45 Main St., Ste. 606
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 210-0705

New York State Nurses Association
11 Cornell Rd.
Latham, NY 12110
(800) 724.NYRN (6976)
(518) 782-9400

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesHealth & Medicine