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Become a Director of Nursing in 5 Steps

Career News July 8, 2013

While nurses and doctors give health care services to patients who are injured or sick, there are other medical professionals who help to manage and oversee nursing staff to ensure only the highest quality of medical care is given to patients. These professionals, known as directors of nursing, work in hospitals with doctors to ensure that open communication flows smoothly between all hospital staff as they also speak with patients to find out if the patients are getting the care they require.

People can become directors of nursing by obtaining the right education and experience they need for the role. While there are many ways for a person to become a director of nursing, below is one process a person may take in five steps. Everyone should choose the steps that work best for them and for their professional career.

Director of Nursing Step 1: Taking a Degree Program

As with anyone interested in the nursing field, someone who wants to become a director has to take the mere first step in becoming a registered nurse. A person should enroll in a four-year college to take the educational coursework in a state-approved nursing program, according to Education Portal. When deciding on a degree, a person should have at least a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. If you are a graduate student with a different degree and wish to become involved in nursing, you can take an accelerated registered nurse (RN) program to obtain your BSN.

Director of Nursing Step 2: Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam for Licensure

It is mandatory that any person who wants to practice nursing or a nursing-related field must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) exam. This exam ensures that the nurse has learned the required education to begin the nursing practice with the approved degree. The person who wants to become a director of nursing must also obtain required certificates particular to their state to work as a registered nurse.

Director of Nursing Step 3: On the Job Registered Nurse Experience

As with a lot of jobs that require experience for advanced positions, people seeking the director of nursing role need to have registered nurse experience. This experience is vital since the registered nurse must be able to work with other health care professionals and form positive interactions that produce positive work environments and improves the quality of nursing to patients. Registered nurses should gain at least 2 years of experience in some type of medical facility such as a hospital, nursing home, hospice, or physician’s clinic.

Director of Nursing Step 4: Leadership and Management Experience

A director’s role requires the person to have leadership qualities and management skills to handle all situations between the staff that the director will oversee. A registered nurse looking to obtain the director of nursing role should seek out supervisory experience, and take job positions in low-level management roles. As the registered nurse learns to communicate and supervise other nursing staff, the registered nurse can work up to higher management roles that lead to a job position in director of nursing. The registered nurse will also obtain more experience in positions such as a head nurse or unit manager.

Director of Nursing Step 5: Obtaining an MSN Degree

Don’t be surprised that an employer wants a director of nurse to have a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Degree. So a person should obtain additional education in nursing services and administration management. Even if the person should take an accelerated RN program with a focus in obtaining a MSN degree, the registered nurse should expect 3 years of coursework in an approved nursing program.

Become a Qualified Professional in a Director of Nursing Role

With the right amount of education, work experience, and leadership skills, a registered nurse with their BSN or MSN can have a fulfilling job profession as a director of nursing. A person will have to dedicate many years to their education and on-the-job experience. But once they achieve this, they will have a professional career overseeing and managing the nursing staff while working with doctors and patients as they provide the high quality healthcare that is expected of them.

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