There are three items required to become a nursing home administrator: post-secondary education, related work experience, and a license. A nursing home administrator is the highest-ranking non-medical officer in a nursing home. A nursing home is a residential home for individuals, usually senior citizens, who need support with daily activities and are unable to remain in their homes.
The nursing home administrator is responsible for the standard of care, admissions, and program management within the nursing home. Most administrators have prior training or work experience in the health care sector. His or her role is critical to the administration and organization of the nursing facility. This type of position combines business and management skills with nursing and palliative care services. The appropriate balance of both quality of care and financial targets is the administrator's primary responsibility.
The most efficient way to become a nursing home administrator is to obtain a combination of education and work experience in a nursing home setting. Almost all employers will require post-secondary education in management, business, or a related field. Some schools offer courses or certificates in nursing home administration, but very few degrees are offered in this specialty.
The type of experience required for the job is a combination of business management and health care industry, and there are specific terms, needs, and requirements that are unique to this field. Management experience can be gained in a hotel, residential facility, or in the service industry.
In the US, many states require all nursing home administrators to obtain a state license to operate a nursing home. The license requirements typically include post-secondary education, experience, and completion of a written examination. Nursing homes are subject to government regulations and inspections to ensure a minimal level of care and support is provided to clients.
Work as a nursing home administrator is most rewarding for people who are detail oriented, enjoy problem solving, and are naturally outgoing. The ability to interact with people from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences is important to be successful in this role. Team building, empathy, patience, and innovation can be integrated into the work environment to create a rewarding career that provides both professional and personal satisfaction for all staff.
Increasingly, nursing home administrators play a role in government policy development surrounding standards of care, delivery of health services, meeting the needs of the senior community and the importance of community level programs. There is widespread agreement that it is in the best interest of the client and the government to keep the senior citizen in his or her home and community as long as possible. Many people who become nursing home administrators take on advocacy roles to lobby for increased home support services.