experience and education, director of nursing

Nurses Career Support


I was just wondering what kind of degree(s), experience, etc. a nurse should have to be hired as a director of nursing. Besides having a nursing degree, what kind of office education/experience would be considered a plus on a resume? I know that there are different degrees, such as office administration, office management, medical office administration, etc. Thanks so much!

Specializes in Critical Care, Education.

Sorry no one has replied before now - I'll jump in. This information only pertains to Acute Care, since I am not very familiar with LTC or non-acute settings.

The term "Director of Nursing" is pretty much obsolete in acute care settings if you are referring to the top position. It is now called "Chief Nursing Executive or Chief Nursing Officer". Nurse Directors are generally responsible for an entire service line (multiple departments) and report to the Chief Nurse.

In most larger facilities, an MSN is required to move into a nursing management position. Graduate degrees in other fields are 'nice to have', but in order to meet Magnet & JC criteria, anyone who leads a nursing service area must have an MSN. It is not uncommon for Chief nurses in larger facilities to have doctorate degrees (PhD, DNP, EdD, etc).

Nurse leaders have to have knowledge & skills that can only be gained through experience. They have to have people skills (hiring, developing, delegating, counseling, etc), oeprational skills (financial management, strategic and project planning) and an appropriate level of clinical expertise. The importance of clinical expertise decreases with higher-level positions because their jobs are incresingly about administration and management than patient care. For instance, it is extremely important for a department manager to be clinically expert in the areas he/she supervises, but not so much for a director who is responsible for the entire med-surg or ortho service line.

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