What Does it Take to Become a Chief Nursing Officer

by | Apr 7, 2017 | Critical Care Nursing | 0 comments

Becoming a Chief Nursing Officer has an appeal to nurses who want more challenge in their careers and have good leadership skills. With the median pay being in the neighborhood of $115,726 annually, it is quite an attractive prospect. For this level of responsibility, skills and pay, if you have aspirations of becoming a Chief Nursing Officer, you need to meet certain requirements. Those requirements will take planning, work and patience to meet. Just what does it take to become a Chief Nursing Officer?

First, if you are not yet a nurse but considering a career in nursing that will allow you to advance in the profession; you will need to work toward getting a Bachelor’s degree in nursing. Then you will need to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses and pass it. This will need to be maintained throughout your career as it will be required to be current when you apply for a chief nurse position.

Certification is available to nurses in management positions and is recommended. Chief Nurses often seek this voluntary certification. You must first obtain your Bachelor’s degree in nursing and have had an administrative position at mid-level for a minimum of two years. Certification is offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.  If you don’t have a Master’s degree, you can expect to need to take continuing education credits in nursing administration.

It is highly recommended, though not required, to also get your Master’s degree in nursing. Whether you work on getting a Master’s degree or not, you do have to have clinical experience to rise to the level of Chief Nursing Officer since you will have to know and understand what the nurse working under your supervision face every day.

Because the position of Chief Nursing Officer is at the administrative level, you will need to have more than just nursing education. In addition to degrees in nursing, you will need to have graduate level degrees in health administration or business administration.

To have the greatest chance of securing a Chief Nursing Officer position, join at least one professional nursing organization. Two that are well known in the nursing field are the American Nurses Association and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Organizations such as these help your professional growth and provide ways of advancing your career through networking.

Other skills you will need include good management of time and personnel, communication that includes active listening, ability to make decisions, writing and computer skills relevant to nursing administration and critical thinking.

It is a challenge to meet the requirements but if you have the desire and the discipline to work toward that goal, you may just be the kind of person needed in this important nursing position.


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