In this weekly feature, the editors of SpringBoard highlight one career in the health care professions – including a basic description, educational requirements, core competencies/key skills needed, and related web sites and professional organizations where you can find more information!

101 Careers in Healthcare Management


The Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) is primarily responsible for providing leadership and guidance around quality patient care and other patient care services delivered in the hospital.

As part of the senior leadership team, the CNO will:

  • Assume ultimate administrative responsibility for nursing standards and practice, regardless of the practice area or reporting relationship of the nurse
  • Direct hospital nursing activities within the context of hospital policies and procedures
  • Ensure continuous and timely nursing services to patients
  • Ensure nursing standards, practices, policies, and procedures, in accordance with all applicable laws, regulatory, and accreditation requirements, are consistent with current research findings and national professional standards
  • Direct nursing service performance improvement activities
  • Actively participate in hospital leadership functions
  • Collaborate with hospital leaders to design and provide patient care and services, including availability of sufficient, qualified nursing staff
  • Develop, present, and manage budgets for nursing services


Bachelor’s degree in nursing and current RN license are the minimum clinical training required, although, in most cases, a master’s degree in Nursing, MBA, MHA, or related master’s degree is preferred. A minimum of 3 to 5 years experience in nursing administration is desired.


  • Outstanding interpersonal skills including the ability to effectively communicate with persons throughout the organization, including clinicians
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Outstanding physician relationship skills
  • In-depth knowledge of external clinical quality reporting requirements
  • Current knowledge of Joint Commission, state, and federal guidelines, regulations, and standards
  • Demonstrated expertise in negotiation, coaching, and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to develop, implement, and administer nursing services, budget and expense control system
  • Ability to prepare master nursing services staffing plan
  • Ability to analyze and resolve complex issues
  • Ability to recruit, interview, evaluate, and hire qualified personnel to meet patients’ needs


CNOs earn in the range of $90,000 to $135,000, although with incentives and bonus pay added on, the salary can be as much as $150,000.


Every hospital in the nation requires a CNO and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in nursing administration are likely to continue to grow rapidly.



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