Nursing MSN/MBA: Salary, Jobs and Benefits

Medical executives meet around a conference table.
Medical executives meet around a conference table.

Many nurses enter the profession out of a passion for clinical nursing or direct patient care. Other nurses decide they would like to play a role in shaping healthcare organizations behind the scenes. 

Many leadership, management and administrative roles in healthcare can benefit from advanced degrees, such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. The benefits of an MBA for nurses include new career opportunities and higher salary ranges. Nurses interested in advancing their business and nursing skills can enroll in an MSN/MBA program, which allows them to earn two graduate-level degrees at the same time. 

What Is an MSN/MBA Program in Nursing?

An MSN/MBA program combines a Master of Science in Nursing program and a Master of Business Administration program into a single dual-degree program. The MSN component helps students develop clinical leadership skills and provides them with an understanding of nursing administration. The MBA component delivers specialized business training, preparing nurses for senior leadership roles and equipping them to address the financial and organizational challenges impacting healthcare today.

5 Options for MSN/MBA Jobs

Nurses who successfully complete a dual MSN/MBA program can pursue any of a wide range of career options. Some roles focus heavily on executive-level management, some are mostly administrative and others combine managerial, clinical and administrative duties into one well-rounded position. 

1. Chief Nursing Officer

Nurses who have earned an MSN/MBA and have considerable experience may rise to the level of chief nursing officer (CNO). This executive-level position is responsible for leading operations at a specific healthcare facility. It involves overseeing the organization’s nursing departments, budgeting and serving as a representative for nursing staff on the hospital’s board of directors. 

2. Chief Nurse Executive

While a CNO is responsible for one facility, a corporate chief nurse executive (CNE) oversees a network of facilities. This role includes some of the same functions and responsibilities as a CNO, but it also includes standardizing nursing practices across a continuum of facilities within a healthcare network. CNOs from different facilities often report to CNEs. This job often requires frequent travel within a region or district. 

3. Nursing Director

An MSN/MBA graduate may choose to pursue a role as a nursing director, or director of nursing. Nursing directors work at the executive level and manage healthcare facilities’ daily operations as well as budgeting, managing records, handling finances and ensuring compliance with state, local and federal healthcare regulations. This individual is usually second in command among a healthcare facility’s administrative personnel. The scope of the role can vary from one facility to the next, but it involves overseeing both nursing staff and the overall delivery of patient care. 

In most cases, nursing directors must hold a specialized certification, such as the director of nursing services certification (DNS-CT) offered by the American Association of Directors of Nursing Services, which is part of the American Association of Post-Acute Care Nursing.

4. Executive Manager

Executive managers are senior-level leaders who are directly responsible for managing a healthcare facility’s overall development. These professionals make important decisions about nursing care strategies that can improve the facility’s overall growth and revenue. They may be responsible for developing and implementing policies, making purchasing decisions and allocating existing resources. 

5. Nursing Supervisor

Nursing supervisors have managerial roles in hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities. They manage recruiting and staffing, scheduling, managing the department budget, maintaining patient records and serving as a liaison between the facility’s nursing staff and executive-level management. They also implement policies that improve the delivery and quality of care, communicate with patients and their families and oversee the nursing staff as they provide care and services to patients. Many nurse supervisors are also responsible for assigning nurses specific tasks, doing their performance reviews and taking any needed disciplinary action against them. 

Benefits of Earning an MSN/MBA Degree

MSN/MBA graduates are equipped to help improve patient outcomes, as nurses with business expertise tend to excel in leadership and project management. Their extensive clinical and administrative skills can directly and positively impact a facility’s overall quality of care. This combined degree prepares nursing leaders to quantify the quality of care and link nursing excellence to cost savings and revenue. 

Effective leadership is essential to meeting the financial pressures faced by healthcare organizations. It is also crucial to maintain a healthy work environment that promotes nurse retention at a time when many aging nurses are preparing to retire from the workforce. Research has consistently shown that strong nursing leadership can increase patient satisfaction and decrease medication errors, patient mortality and hospital-associated infections.

MSN/MBA Salary and Job Outlook

Another key benefit for nurses of earning an MSN/MBA degree is increased earning potential. MBA graduates had a median annual salary of about $96,000 as of October 2023, according to Payscale. MSN graduates had a median annual salary of roughly $102,000, according to the same source. Individual MSN/MBA salaries can vary significantly based on factors such as the specific role, the nurse’s level of experience and even the state or city where they are employed. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the employment of medical and health services managers will grow by 28% between 2022 and 2032. Increased demand for managers capable of organizing and managing medical information and healthcare staff and an influx of people seeking medical services will facilitate this higher-than-average growth. The need for knowledgeable healthcare business experts makes earning an MSN/MBA dual degree a wise choice.

Where Do MSN/MBA Graduates Work?

Nurses who earn a dual MSN/MBA degree benefit from a curriculum that combines management, clinical work and advanced management coursework. The dual MSN/MBA degree program prepares nurses to work in many different areas of nursing with enhanced salary potential and a fantastic job outlook. These environments include:

  • Hospitals
  • Physician practices
  • Community health centers
  • Health departments
  • HMOs
  • Home healthcare organizations
  • Consulting firms
  • Insurance companies

Nurses with an MSN/MBA may also seek employment in the public sector. Government agencies provide opportunities for nurses to pursue advocacy work. Nurses who are interested in working with elected leaders to create new policies designed to improve conditions for nurses and their patients, championing workplace reforms or determining ways to increase the efficiency of care delivery and funding may find this career path rewarding.

Nurses who earn a dual MSN/MBA degree can acquire skills that will enable them to have a positive impact on the healthcare industry from the ground up. As professionals who lead in any number of ways, from creating organizational policies to influencing bedside procedures, nurses with this degree can play an integral part in creating healthcare’s future while providing best-practice patient care.

Explore the Benefits of an MSN/MBA for Nurses

In a time of staffing shortages and budget cuts, there is a need for nurses who can innovate and lead our healthcare system. The MSN/MBA is a degree meant for those who want to apply techniques to improve both the patient and business side of the healthcare industry. Earning your degree is easier than ever now that quality online programs are available.

Spring Arbor University’s online MSN/MBA program allows you to earn your degree while working as a nurse. Our program offers seven distinct areas of concentration suited to meet your individual career goals:

  • Healthcare Administration
  • Human Resource Development
  • Management
  • Organizational Consulting
  • Executive Leadership
  • Executive Communication
  • Cybersecurity & Data

To discover the advantages of combining business training with nursing acumen, learn more about the online MSN/MBA program at Spring Arbor University.

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