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What you can do to Become a Director of Nursing

Managing the continuum of care in a long-term care center, clinic or hospital is the responsibility of a Director of Nursing. In an effort to provide quality care, these professionals interact with patients and their families, as well as physicians all while managing an entire staff of nurses. Progressive supervisory experience along with advanced education is required of a Director of Nursing since the position requires a high degree of responsibility. In an entire department that focuses on patient care, the Director of Nursing becomes the point-person.

These professionals often work their way up to nursing management after having begun their careers as registered nurses. A graduate degree and leadership experience in the field follows, rounding out the skills necessary for the position. As such, here are 5 steps to becoming a Director of Nursing.

Steps in Becoming a Director of Nursing

Step 1: Completion of Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree

While the requirements to become a registered nurse (RN) differ depending on the type of position one is seeking, they are fairly specific for anyone looking to become a director. Some employers require only a nursing certificate or associate’s degree. However, according to Monster.com, individuals who want to become a Director of Nursing must obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. The reason is that among other factors, these degree programs cover these areas:

•Nursing management
•Research
•Clinical procedures
•Patient care
•Nursing science and principles

A BSN program typically takes four years to complete and may entail other areas of course focus.

Step 2: Obtain a Licensure

A number of actions need to be completed before one can obtain a nursing licensure. To complete the process, individuals must acquire any state-specific certificates along with passing the National Council Licensure Examination – Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN). Moreover, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), for advancement into any management-level nursing position, individuals need more than just the state-specific licenses and certificates and an associate’s degree; they need a bachelor’s degree, as stated above.

Step 3: Gain Experience in the Field

A Director of Nursing will work their way up to the director position by not only beginning their career as a registered nurse, but acquiring plenty of experience in the field. For most higher level positions such as Director of Nursing, employers requires at least 2 to 5 years of experience as a registered nurse (the more experience, the better). With this experience, the degrees, and licensure, registered nurses can find director positions in hospitals, nursing homes, and physicians’ offices. However, about sixty percent of all registered nurses are hired by hospitals, according to the BLS.

Step 4: Leadership Role Experience

Since directors typically interact with doctors and patients, as well as oversee a large staff of practical and registered nurses, supervisory experience is vital to the role. This is because directors will use both their communication and their leadership skills to accomplish most tasks. Furthermore, in order to gain the necessary leadership experience and become equipped with the leadership skills essential to the position, registered nurses work their way up. RNs will start at the lower level management positions like assistant unit manager or head nurse, gain experience, and then continue up the ladder.

Step 5: Graduate Degree Program Completion

Obtaining a graduate degree in health services administration or in nursing may help registered nurses with experience get a leg up as a Director of Nursing candidate. Most Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program will have courses focusing on:

•Advanced research
•Health care finance
•Pharmacology
•Management principles
•Ethics

These programs also take approximately two years to complete. Further, in addition to the MSN, some employers and/or states may require the completion of more licensing and certificate programs. It is a good idea to check state requirements to know exactly what is expected of a Director of Nursing.

Nursing Scholarships

American Assembly for Men in Nursing (AAMN) American Cancer Society Doctoral Degree Scholarships in Cancer Nursing Gallagher Student Health Careers Scholarship
The Gates Millenium Scholars (GMS) National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA)
New Careers in Nursing (NCIN) Nurse Corps Scholarship (NCS) Nurses of Tomorrow
Nursing Economics Foundation Tylenol Future Care Scholarship American Holistic Nurses Association

South University

Several nursing programs are available at the bachelor's, post-graduate, master's, and doctoral levels.

Programs:

  • Nursing (BS)

Colorado Technical University Online

A degree from CTU connects you to what matters most: powerful professional network, real-world professional faculty and innovative technology. Once you earn your degree you hit the ground running.

Programs:

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Nursing Administration
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN completion)
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Nursing Education

Liberty University

Liberty University provides a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation, equipping men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for success in every aspect of life.

Programs:

  • Master of Science in Nursing: Nursing Administration
  • Master of Science in Nursing: Nurse Educator
  • BS in Nursing (RN to BSN)

Grand Canyon University

Why earn your degree at Grand Canyon University? GCU is a regionally accredited university offering graduate and undergraduate degrees in Business, Nursing, Psychology, Education & more. Apply today!

Programs:

  • B.S. in Nursing (Registered Nurse - R.N. to B.S.N)
  • M.S. in Nursing: Health Care Informatics (Bridge)
  • M.S. in Nursing: Public Health (Bridge)
  • And more...

Kaplan University

Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education.

Programs:

  • MS in Nursing
  • Master of Science - DNP Path (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
  • Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner
  • And more...

Kaplan University

Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education.

Programs:

  • MS in Nursing
  • Master of Science - DNP Path (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
  • Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner
  • And more...

Southern New Hampshire University

Give your career a boost with an education from Southern New Hampshire University.

Programs:

  • MS Nursing
  • MS Nursing: Patient Safety and Quality
  • MS Nursing: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • And more...

South University

As a student at South University, you will have the opportunity to learn from accomplished faculty members who have real-world experience in the subjects that they teach. Our small class sizes allow you to receive personalized attention from instructors, and the encouragement to recognize your goals for the future and the means to achieve them.

Programs:

  • Nursing (BS)

Medical Careers Institute

Start a great career in healthcare with Medical Careers Institute.

Programs:

  • Nursing (RN-BSN) - Bachelor's
  • Practical Nursing - Diploma
  • Medical Assisting - Diploma
  • And more...

Keiser University Graduate School

For over 35 years, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals. 

Programs:

  • Master of Science in Nursing

Fortis Institute

At Fortis Institute, you may get the skills and training you need to prepare for a career.

* Programs vary by location

* Please contact each individual campus for accreditation information


Programs:

  • Associate Degree in Nursing
  • Practical Nursing
  • Medical Assistant

Northcentral University

Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.

Programs:

  • Doctor of Education - Nursing Education

Centura College

Centura College, with campus locations in Virginia, South Carolina and Florida.

Programs:

  • Practical Nursing Diploma
  • Associate of Occupational Science Degree in Medical Assisting-Clinical Concentration

Miller-Motte Technical College

Miller-Motte Technical College (MMTC) can help get you from here to a new career!

Programs:

  • Medical Assisting - Associate of Occupational Science

Everest College

Leave that dead-end job behind with training from Everest College.

Programs:

  • Diploma - Medical Assistant

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