1. Murray, Kathleen RN, CNA, MSN

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QAs CNO, I love what I do, but the time commitment and expectations can be overwhelming. How do others in the role balance their work and home life?


The role of a CNO is challenging, but there's a lot of positive impact that the CNO has with the right structure and proper support in place.


You might start with writing down for a week all the demands on your time. Identify things you can change, the things you can't change, and the duties that you can delegate. Prioritize the list, review it with your team members, and ask for their recommendations.


It's also important to have a network of colleagues who can function as a support system. Discuss with them some of your more stressful situations, the challenges you're facing, and what they might have done.

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Schedule time with your family on a regular basis. Put it on your calendar as a standing meeting. Let your family members know which day of the week and time. Make a point of never missing the scheduled time with them. You have now established that they're just as important as a board meeting.


By taking care of yourself with time off, your family and team will reap the benefits of a well-rested executive.


Q My ultimate goal is to be a chief nurse executive. What type of degree should I go to school for-a master's degree in business, a master's degree in nursing, or both?


A master's degree is essential in moving up the administrative career ladder in most healthcare facilities. Choosing from the different types of graduate programs can be perplexing. Let's start with a description of some of the master programs available.


[white diamond suit] The master of science in nursing (MSN) degree is an advanced practice degree aimed at preparing nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and nurse leaders. These programs usually consist of core content in health problem management, clinical nursing therapeutics, research for evidence-based practice, pharmacotherapeutics, and health systems science and policy, as well as a clinical practicum in the area of specialty.


[white diamond suit] The master of business administration (MBA) program with a concentration in healthcare management examines how financial, legal, and marketing activities are transformed when applied to healthcare organizations.


[white diamond suit] A combined MSN/MBA dual degree program combines the career advantages of the MBA's broad knowledge base with the specialized skills of the MSN degree. Students typically complete 36 MBA credit hours as well as the specified course work for their chosen MSN focus. The combined degree status helps the potential CNO obtain well-rounded clinical and business knowledge.


[white diamond suit] A master of health administration program focuses on operating a healthcare facility. Most of the courses include management and leadership strategies, conflict resolution, marketing, business development, and planning.



Some vital information that'll help guide you in your decision is the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Magnet educational requirements for the CNO ( This is important because more and more hospitals' strategic plans include the achievement of Magnet designation.


Effective January 1, 2008, it's required that the CNO must have a degree in nursing that's at the baccalaureate level or higher. Additionally, the CNO must possess, at a minimum, a master's degree. The degree you pursue will depend on your professional goals, schedule, family commitments, financial constraints, school accreditation, and learning preferences.