Benefits of an MSN/MBA Program for Nurses

A group of four smiling nurses.
A group of four smiling nurses.

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

Many leadership, management or administrative roles in healthcare require advanced degrees, such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. 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 degrees at the same time: a Master of Science in Nursing and a Master of Business Administration. The MSN component develops your clinical nursing skills and provides an understanding of nursing administration. The MBA component delivers specialized business training, preparing you for senior leadership roles and equipping you to address the financial and organizational challenges impacting healthcare today.

What Can a Nurse Do with an MBA? 

One of the primary benefits of an MBA for nurses is expanded career options. A dual MSN/MBA degree can open the door for more leadership and executive-level positions, such as: 

  • Clinical administrator
  • Nurse manager
  • Nursing supervisor
  • Nursing director
  • Executive manager
  • Chief nursing officer (CNO)

Seeking Management-Level Nursing Roles

Nurses who gain business acumen through an MSN/MBA may take on managerial positions as heads of departments or clinics. Those in these roles are responsible for hiring and training employees, mentoring up-and-coming leaders, overseeing patient care and establishing methods to efficiently deliver care. 

Nurses who want to transition into a more business-oriented role can also seek employment in an executive capacity within a healthcare organization. Nursing professionals in executive roles establish rules and procedures for nursing staff and create organizational systems for nursing departments. They also manage the regulatory and financial matters of the organization’s nursing staff.

Becoming a CNO or CCNO

Two high-level executive roles for nurses who have earned an MSN/MBA include: the chief nursing officer (CNO), who is responsible for leading operations at a specific healthcare facility, and the systems-level CNO or corporate chief nursing officer (CCNO), who is responsible for standardizing nursing practice across the entire continuum of facilities in a healthcare network. 

Nursing Careers in the Public Sector

Nurses with an MSN/MBA may also seek employment in the public sector. Government agencies provide opportunities for nurses to pursue advocacy work. If you have an interest in working with elected leaders to create new policies to improve conditions for nurses and their patients, championing workplace reforms or determining ways to increase the efficiency of care delivery and funding, this may be the right path for you.

Improving Patient Outcomes

MSN/MBA graduates are better equipped to help improve patient outcomes, as nurses with business expertise tend to excel in leadership and team management. 

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

MSN/MBA Salary 

Another key benefit of an MBA for nurses is increased earning potential. 

According to the compensation source Payscale, nurses who have an MBA earn a median annual salary of $91,000. By contrast, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the median annual salary for a registered nurse, including those who lack business degrees, is $77,600. 

Payscale also shows that CNOs can earn a median annual salary of $134,934.

Job Outlook

In the coming years, the healthcare industry will see an increased demand for medical services, and experience job growth much greater than the average for all other occupations. According to the BLS, employment of medical and health services managers is projected to grow 32 percent from 2020 to 2030. Overall demand for managers capable of organizing and managing medical information and healthcare staff will increase. The need for knowledgeable healthcare business experts makes earning an MBA in healthcare management a wise choice.

Where Do MSN/MBA Graduates Work? 

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

  • Hospitals
  • Physician practice management
  • Community health centers
  • Health departments
  • HMOs
  • Home health care management
  • Consulting
  • Insurance companies

Besides the excellent job outlook and salary options, the dual MSN/MBA degree helps nurses acquire skills that will enable them to have a positive impact on the healthcare environment from the ground up. From organizational policymaking to influencing bedside procedures, this degree allows the nurse to play an integral part in creating healthcare’s future while providing best-practice patient care.

Explore the Benefits of an 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 five distinct areas of concentration suited to meet your individual career goals:

  • Health Care Administration
  • Human Resource Management
  • Management
  • Organizational Development
  • Executive Leadership

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

Recommended Readings:

Self-care for Nurses: How to Prioritize Yourself When Caring for Others

Best Cities for MBA Graduates in 2021

Online MBA: Common FAQs Answered


Incredible Health, “What is a Chief Nursing Officer?”

Payscale, Chief Nurse Officer

Payscale, Master of Business Administration, Nursing

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical and Health Services Managers

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Registered Nurses