What are the Requirements to Becoming a Nursing Director?
Requirements of Becoming a Nursing Director Overview
One of the things that are happening within nursing is most titles are being created; additionally, some titles or job roles are either being re-modified, re-defined or re-structured. This is being necessitated by a number of trends within the nursing industry, not the least of which is the increasing need for specialization. Director of nursing is one such “specialization.”
In the old days, most licensed nurses were simply RNs; supervisors came from the ranks of nurses and did not necessarily hold any special certifications or titles. These days, many RNs also hold special certifications. If they want to move up the career ladder, there are a number of different titles and roles they can vie for.
One of the roles nurses can move up to is nurse manager. This is a lower-level administrative position that also includes floor duties. Nurses who do well in this capacity and who have the business skills, communication and leadership qualities needed may then move into executive roles. Two top roles are Chief Nursing Officer and Director of Nursing (DON).
Chief Nursing Officers have been compared to CEO of companies. They are one of the higher roles nurses can vie for. Such a person may, in fact, be in charge of a healthcare facility, answering only to the senior healthcare setting administrator, if there is one.
A Director of Nursing (DON), on the other hand, usually works in long-term care facilities. He or she is the top of the executive ladder when it comes to all nursing matters, answerable only to top administrators and, to some extent, doctors.
In most states, a Director of Nursing is licensed in that field. They usually have, at minimum, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), several years of RN floor duty experience, a current RN license (of course), and often have to take on-going training and classes, as well as tests.
In addition to these, Nursing Directors have to meet the following criteria or requirements:
•Nursing Directors have to be top-level communicators. They have to keep the lines of communication open between doctors, patients, families of patients, healthcare providers (in addition to nurses), government officials, etc.
•Nursing Directors have to have excellent leadership skills. This job is not for shy people or for people who are good at following, but not leading. This requires, among other things, an extremely detailed knowledge of the ins and outs of nursing, as well as the latest trends and developments in the profession and in nursing science.
•Ideally, Nursing Directors have a graduate degree (masters or doctorate) in nursing and often an additional degree in business administration or healthcare administration.
•Some DONs may also have certifications in areas of special importance to the facility over which they preside.
•Nursing Directors usually come from the ranks of nurse managers — in other words, rarely does an RN get promoted to a DON. There is an expectation that, at the very least, a DON was a unit supervisor for a number of years before being elevated to DON.
•Nursing Directors are licensed by a special organization.
•Nursing Directors manage not just nurses, but healthcare – providing support people, as well as non-healthcare staff.
•Nursing Directors help set up strategies and policies; they are also consulted in regards to laws and nursing board changes.
•Nursing Directors may be legally held responsible for events and occurrences in facilities where they work; this means that they need to have a good knowledge of policies and legal requirements across the board.
•Nursing Directors need to be good at managing stress.