Are You Ready to Climb the Career Ladder: Senior Leaders

By: Suzan R. Miller-Hoover DNP, RN, CCNS, CCRN-K
Senior Nursing LeadersHow far up the career you climb is your choice. Many nurses have succeeded in obtaining a place in the C-suite. Each healthcare facility will have a designated number and type of executive positions. These positions are constantly in a state of flux based on the ever-changing healthcare environment. Some of the most familiar positions and associated salaries are:
  •   Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) - $124,000 annual salary
  •   Chief Executive Officer (CEO) - $600,000 annual salary
  •   Chief Information Officer (CIO) - $208,000 annual salary
(Dyrda, 2017)

Healthcare executives are responsible for running the healthcare facility, maintaining fiscal responsibility, provision of excellent patient care, maintaining regulatory requirements, and meeting the needs of certifying agencies such as Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), The Joint Commission (TJC), state and federal laws, as well as promoting an environment that leads to patient and staff satisfaction.

Obtaining a C-suite position is not a quick or easy task. Things to consider:
  •   Education requirements
  •   Advanced nursing degrees
     o   Master of Science in Nursing with a focus on Management and Organizational Leadership
     o   Master of Science in Nursing Administration
     o   PhD, DNP
  •   Advanced non-nursing degrees
     o   Master of Healthcare Management
     o   Master of Business Administration
     o   PhD
  •   Certifications
    •   Work experience
     o   Minimum of five years’ experience
     o   Success at managerial positions
          Improvement of clinical outcomes
          Improvement of fiscal performance
          Improvement of patient/staff satisfaction
  •   Required Skills:
     o   Analytical skills
     o   Communication skills
     o   Detail oriented
     o   Interpersonal skills
     o   Leadership skills
     o   Technical skills
(Dyrda, 2017; Feigenbaum, 2017; Healthcare-administraiton-degree.net, 2019)

C-suite positions are not easy to find and may require you to relocate or perhaps take a position in a smaller facility, nursing home, or an interim position.

Becoming a senior nurse leader requires time and experience. If becoming a senior nurse leader is in your plans, don’t limit yourself to executive positions with nursing in the title. There is no time like the present to climb the career ladder! 

Learn more about nursing career opportunities for experienced nursing leaders and new nursing leaders.

Dyrda, L. (2017). 38 hospital and health system C-level roles, defined. Retrieved from: https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/38-hospital-and-health-system-c-suite-executive-positions.html

Feigenbaum, E. (2017). How to become a Chief Nursing Officer. Retrieved from: https://careertrend.com/how-to-become-a-chief-nursing-officer-13651676.html

Healthcare-administraiton-degree.net. (2019). How do you become a Chief Nursing Officer? Retrieved from: https://www.healthcare-administration-degree.net/faq/how-do-you-become-a-chief-nursing-officer/  

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