Healthcare administrators and senior clinical staff have immensely demanding jobs, but this fact does not dissuade many people in these fields from searching for more qualifications and career advancements. Healthcare administrators that have management experience and clinical experience are well suited to courses designed to improve administrative acumen.
Nurses can also seek further education. In recent years, nursing in the West has become a more complex field. Nurses are expected to take on more clinical tasks that were previously in the domain of doctors. In rural areas where hospitals are scarce, nurses bridge the gap between primary care and complex medical care.
By no means an exhaustive list, this article should serve as a starting point for healthcare administrators, nurses and clinical staff wanting to research postgraduate study options.
- Master Of Health Administration
Experienced healthcare administrators are well placed to take a master of health administration, This kind of postgraduate degree is designed to foster business and managerial acumen in people already familiar with a clinical setting. Experienced organizers that take a postgraduate course in health administration can develop careers in operations direction, health center management, human resources or within the pharmaceutical industry.
A person that has qualified in health administration will be able to use their knowledge of nursing to develop long term strategies for the improvement of hospital and healthcare services. They will be familiar with the latest technology in healthcare and the latest ways in which hospitals and health centers can use data to improve their performance. Health administration postgraduate degrees follow a similar path to more generalized business and strategy degrees while being honed in on healthcare issues. Healthcare is a business in places like Canada and the United States, and people studying for an administration degree will learn how to use strategies developed in non-medical business administration to improve the performance of a clinical service.
- Executive Master Of Health Administration
Administrators that have already spent some time in management or operations can hone their skills even further by taking an Executive Master’s in Health Administration in Canada, the UK, or the United States of America. These courses are more advanced than conventional health administration degrees and allow practitioners to prepare for a career in the upper echelons of healthcare management. Executive board members at healthcare institutions have immensely difficult jobs: planning strategies around a mind-bogglingly large set of variables. An Executive Master of Health Administration course should go some way towards preparing an advanced administrative manager for life at the top.
The more people there are on board, the more sensible those boards are likely going to be when it comes to budgeting and Human Resources decisions. Despite this, people will have to have gained a great deal of experience before they will be considered for entry onto an executive healthcare administration course.
- Doctor Of Healthcare Administration
A Doctorate in Healthcare Administration is perfect for administrators wanting to make an impact on the broader academic direction of the field. Administrators should enter into a doctorate only when they have a thesis to develop and defend. This course is only really suitable for people that have had large scale administrative experience already.
- Clinical Leadership Programs
Hospital and health center boardrooms are full of people with experience in financial and strategic backgrounds, but they often lack members with clinical or operational experience in actual hospital settings, especially those with leadership skills.
Clinical managers that have spent time practising have a unique set of insights that they can bring into the boardroom. They can ground the often unrealistic and lofty strategic goals dreamt up by executives that have never had to handle a ward. Clinical staff can take a clinical leadership program to develop these skills and learn how to properly manage a team underneath them.
- Master’s in clinical research
For those looking to make a big difference in the lives of others, taking a master’s in clinical research is the right path to take. You can select your preferred pathway and will dedicate your learning to this over a period of time. This can lead a clinical staff member towards a more researched-based role in the future if they so wish.
Senior clinical leadership program
Clinical staff should consider joining the movement towards representation in the strategic guidance of healthcare institutions and advance their clinical staff careers with the help of a senior clinical leadership program – a step up from the clinical leadership program. They can focus on a clinical specialization such as mental health nursing or operations management or an academic specialization.
- Master Of Science In Nursing
One of the most common ways for a Registered Nurse to advance their career is to begin studying for a Master of Science in Nursing degree. These degrees allow experienced nurses to build an increasing skillset in both clinical and managerial fields. Nurses that have completed Master’s level degrees in their field often find themselves heading up teams of nursing and administrative staff within institutions. Their advanced clinical knowledge makes them more capable of helping their team during complicated medical emergencies – further lessening the burden placed on the backs of physicians within an institution.
During the course of a postgraduate nursing qualification, students will be expected to complete academic work. This work could be clinical in nature or an investigation into nursing practice and culture. Many nurses working on wards stop thinking about academic criticism. A Master of Science in Nursing postgraduate degree is more suited to the nurse that has never lost their curiosity about the wider forces dictating the success or failure of nursing practice.
This kind of degree can help prepare a nurse for a career in nursing management or health policy development. ‘Nurse CEOs’ are still a relatively rare occurrence in healthcare systems around the world, but there is a growing movement of professionals advocating for the increased involvement of experienced nurses in the executive area of healthcare management.
- Doctor Of Nursing Practice
A Doctorate in Nursing practice is a terminal degree – helping advanced nurses to offer extremely good leadership and strategic planning as well as advancing their clinical skills. Nurses that want to enter into the strategic area of clinical planning often take this degree, which is one of the highest level nursing qualifications. Nurses should only consider taking on a Doctorate in Nursing Practice once they have had some experience in the leadership of nursing teams and the negotiation of important changes within a hospital or healthcare center environment. Doctorates in Nursing Practice typically follow one of two separate pathways:
- Advanced Nursing Practice: This pathway is geared toward the honing of a nurse’s clinical skills and leadership attributes. It prepares a nurse to lead large teams of practitioners in the delivery of top-quality care and equips them with the necessary academic and strategic know-how to make wide-reaching changes to a system. Students following this path will learn how to use their nursing acumen to improve the overall performance of a hospital or health center.
- Executive Leadership: This pathway focuses on the role of the advanced nurse as a leader. It covers the methods that an advanced nurse can use when negotiating with stakeholders or leading a team. Nurses that opt to study in this fashion are well suited to roles in clinical direction and operations management. They know how to deal with stakeholders and fellow nurses in equal measure when proposing or overseeing changes to a system.
- Doctor Of Philosophy In Nursing
While a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree is focused on the development of advanced practical management and clinical skills, the Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing qualification takes a more academic route. This degree is suitable for nurses that want to advance the practice of nursing as a whole. Nursing PhD students are expected to construct and publish a novel thesis relating to the field of nursing. As with all PhD qualifications, the Doctorate of Philosophy in Nursing involves many years of extremely advanced academic work. This kind of qualification is not suitable for nurses that want to remain in practice. It is perfect for nurses that want to take their experience and use it to advance academic theories on the education, practice and overall role of nurses in society. Nursing academics make significant contributions toward the development of new and important models of care. Nursing managers and executives that want to make the switch to academia often study for these qualifications.
- Nurse Educator Postgraduate Degrees
Nurses with a great deal of experience that want to pass on their knowledge to the next generation of clinical staff may opt to take a postgraduate degree that qualifies them to operate as a nurse educator. The role of the nurse educator is an immensely important one. Hospitals and universities are always keen to onboard new nurse educators that have actual experience in high-level clinical care.
The World Health Organization – a global advisory body on healthcare – outlines 8 distinct qualifying features of a nurse educator:
- Theories and principles of adult learning
- Curriculum design and implementation
- Nursing practice
- Research and evidence
- Communication, collaboration, and partnership
- Ethical/ legal principles and professionalism
- Monitoring and evaluation
- Management, leadership and advocacy
As you might be able to guess, nurse educator qualifications are centred around the development of skills that enable a nurse to pass on their expertise to others. Nurse educators also need to refresh their academic know-how. Many nurses will have barely touched an academic paper during their time on the job. They need to rekindle their ability to critique and make use of academic works if they want to teach students in an academic setting. They need to be willing to keep up with the latest developments in nursing practice, technology and legislation.
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