How common/possible is it for a BSN or MSN to move into health care administration?

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    Let's say I work in mental health nursing as an RN for a year after getting my BSN and then go back to school and become a PMHNP... how feasible would it be for me to someday, after working as a PMHNP for years, to move into health care administration - i.e., HR or other role in a more business setting? Would an MBA or other additional degree be required or have nurses been known to move into the business side of health care without added degrees? Just curious about this path. Thank you!
    Last edit by priorities2 on Nov 26, '12
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    If you're in the US, I would strongly recommend that you obtain an MSN in nursing admin/leadership if you want to move into healthcare administration. Increasingly, Chief Nursing Officers in larger organizations (CNE) have doctoral degrees. Nursing administrators (including
    CNEs) can command very good salaries, but the jobs are extremely challenging.

    Most health care employers (especially hospitals, which generally pay a lot more) have this as a minimal requirement. Of course, you will also have to acquire appropriate experience along the way... starting with managing smaller department/area and working your way up the ladder. This type of MSN includes all facets of administration, including financial, HR, legal, etc. NP education is clinically focused - not useful for aspiring administrators.

    An MBA is not really worth much in health care unless it is an MBA with a focus on healthcare... our financial system is a different animal than other industries.

    The minute (second) a nurse moves into her/his first leadership role (even as a charge nurse) , it is an entry into the 'business' side of health care, as all leadership decisions have a business impact. Nurses are usually the only ones (on the executive team) who actually know how all the moving parts work together in this very complex industry ... I know of many CNEs who have become health care CEOs.
    priorities2 likes this.
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    Wow, thank you for the detailed response! The reason I want to get a PMHNP degree is because I really want to work one-on-one with mental health patients/clients, but I'm also pretty interested in businesses and how big business works. So it's really nice to know that I might have the chance to gain leadership experience, go back for a CNE degree and move into the business realm of health care. Makes me more confident in my career path choice. Thanks again!
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    I worked for a woman who was a critical care nurse and became a FNP specializing in psych. She eventually got to the place where she ran a large mental health practice, had docs working for her, and developed excellent business/mgmt skills. She now runs a big home care/DME operation with a budget of about $20 million.
    priorities2 likes this.


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