October 12, 2023

8 Reasons Why Nurses Should Get an MBA

Nurses looking to further their education often assume that the only option is to become a nurse practitioner or CRNA, but a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree is another excellent option for nurses. Complementing your nursing degree with an MBA is a great way to break into the business side of nursing and make a significantly higher salary.

Nurses have a leg up on many other healthcare business professionals because they have valuable work experience working directly in many different patient care areas. They have a knowledgeable vantage point that MBAs without a nursing degree do not.

Many MBA graduates may think they understand what it's like within the patient care setting, but you have actually lived it as a nurse. There lies a great opportunity to utilize your medical expertise in business and help your patients thrive -- without even working at the bedside!

From increasing your salary to forging an exciting new nursing career path, there are many great reasons to get an MBA as a nurse. Read on for the top 8 reasons you should consider getting your MBA.

8 Reasons Nurses Should Get Their MBA

#1. Burnout at the Bedside

One of the most popular reasons why RNs look to advance their nursing education or consider earning an MBA is due to nursing burnout.

Have you ever had one of these thoughts:

  • "I love helping patients, but the wear and tear on my body is preventing me from continuing as a bedside nurse."
  • "I love the clinical side of nursing but want to use my skills to help in a new way."
  • "I have innovative ideas that could help our hospital or facility operate better than they are now."

If any of these thoughts resonate with you, getting an MBA might be something to consider.

The truth is that in the nursing profession, to increase your employment opportunities and escape the bedside, you are going to need higher education. Many hospitals will not promote nurses into administrative roles without an advanced degree.

#2. Explore the Business Side of Healthcare

Another reason to consider earning your MBA is if you ever have plans to move to the business side of healthcare, or want to move up into certain leadership positions, you will need to learn about how the business side of healthcare works. 

Achieving an MBA alongside your BSN degree will prime you for a career where you can use your business prowess and clinical nursing skills to be a player in the healthcare business world. 

When an exciting administrative position becomes available, you will be a top contender for the job!

Where are nurses working outside of the clinical setting?

  • Medical device or pharmaceutical sales representative: In this role, you might work for a corporate healthcare company that develops and sells pharmaceutical drugs to hospitals or medical offices.
  • Nursing informatics: Here, you could help create new, more efficient electronic medical record-keeping systems. Your work could help healthcare systems run more efficiently and improve patient safety.
  • Hospital administration: Work your way up the ladder within the healthcare system. Or explore other administrative positions at new facilities or corporations.
  • In US politics: Nurses are needed now in managing the COVID-19 pandemic. Seattle Nurse Jane Hopkins, RNMH, joined President-elect Joe Biden's COVID-19 advisory board.

>> Show Me Online Healthcare Administration Programs

#3. Bring a Patient-Care Perspective to the Business Side of Healthcare

No one understands how to apply the patient care perspective to the business arena more than nurses. After all, nurses spend 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, working directly with patients.  

Nurses know how to communicate effectively and engineer solutions for patients in a way that other business people might not.

Many nurses have felt that those on the business side of healthcare view patients as numbers, not as humans. With an MBA, nurses have the ability to change that perspective and get a seat at the table to make real change.

#4. More Management and Leadership Opportunities

Although having an advanced degree is not always mandatory to get a job in all nurse administrator roles, most large hospital systems now require that nurses have a minimum of a master's degree to be promoted into an administrative role.

At the very least, it will make you a more competitive candidate and show that you are serious about working in higher-level management and leadership positions.

>> Show Me Online Healthcare Administration Programs

#5. Higher Salaries

If it's more money you are after, then earning an MBA makes a lot of sense.

The median pay for registered nurses in the US is $81,220 per year (or $39.05 per hour), while the pay for nursing administrators is significantly higher.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2022 median pay for medical and health services managers is $104,830 per year, or $50.40 per hour -- $23,000 more than RNs!

The job outlook from 2022-2032 is 28%, which is much faster than the average for all professions.

#6. Expand Your Job Opportunities

Nurses with an MBA can really expand their job opportunities and marketability. Roles in executive positions are within reach for nurses with an MBA. For example, Joyce Markiewicz, RN, BSN, MBA, CHCE, is the vice president and business development officer at a major hospital system in New York. Her recommendation for nurses who wish to move into executive roles is to pursue "formal education pathways." Markiewicz achieved her MBA while working full-time for a medical device company.

Getting into the C-Suite can be a lot easier with an MBA, including the following positions:

Other high-level roles also benefit from an MBA:

>> Show Me Online Healthcare Administration Programs

#7. Forge Your Own Unique Career Path

Not every nurse wants to follow a traditional nursing career path. Achieving an MBA is a less traveled road than getting a CNS, NP, MSN, or DNP.  But earning an MBA gives you an edge to be a leader among business professionals who need you and your medical expertise. 

RNs with an MBA credential think differently than an MBA without one, and more nurses should consider an MBA to further their careers and the healthcare industry as a whole.  

#8. You Can Earn an MBA While Working as a Nurse

It has never been easier to earn an MBA while you work. There are so many online options that help make balancing your work and life more attainable. 

Many universities also offer both full-time and part-time options and can take anywhere from 1-3 years to complete depending on how fast you complete your classes.

MBA degrees focus on specific areas such as entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, or business management. If your goal is to stay within the healthcare business setting, you want to consider choosing an MBA program that offers a healthcare management program.

How to Go From RN to MBA

No matter what route you take, make sure you have at least 1-2 years of working experience before applying to an MBA program.

Here are the steps to earn your MBA, depending on where you’re starting from as an RN. 


  1. Get a BSN.

    1. The first thing you will need to do is complete your BSN or BA degree because you will not be able to apply directly to an MBA program without completing a bachelor's degree.
  2. Graduate with at least a 3.5 or higher.

    1. Many MBA programs are highly competitive. The higher your GPA is, the better chance you will have of getting accepted to the program. Not all MBA programs are hyper-competitive, and some might accept a lower GPA, so it is crucial that you thoroughly research the GPA requirements for each program.

Once you have a BSN and 1-2 years of work experience, then you can move forward with the process of getting an MBA.


  1. Choose your MBA focus.

    1. The school you apply to will depend on the type of MBA that you want. As mentioned above, if your goal is to stay within the healthcare setting, you need to go to a specialized healthcare management program (or something similar).   Most healthcare MBA programs prefer candidates with a related bachelor's degree.
  2. Take the GMAT, GRE, or both.

    1. GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test): A 3 1/2 hour test that business schools use to test writing, reading, math, and verbal reasoning. (The GMAT was created specifically for business school admission testing.)
    2. GRE (Graduate Records Admission Test): The GRE is similar to the GMAT; however, it is for all graduate school admissions, not just for business schools.   The GRE test focused on verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing.
      1. Note:  If you have a lower GPA, it helps to score well on the GMAT or GRE to increase your chances of acceptance to a program.
  3. Prepare your official transcripts and proof of your BSN degree.

  4. Prepare your resume.

    1. Use your resume to highlight your strengths and show the university how you shine against the rest of the applicants. Highlight your qualifications, career experiences, achievements, leadership abilities, and awards. You may want to consider hiring a resume-writing expert to help make it as professional and effective as possible.
  5. Gather at least three recommendation letters.

    1. Find managers who have wonderful things to say about your hard work and leadership abilities.
  6. Check all deadlines and application requirements.

    1. All MBA programs differ as to what they require for admission. It is your responsibility to speak with a university representative to ensure you have what you need for successful entry into their specific program. The process can take several months or even years, so don’t waste time by forgetting a simple step needed to get into your chosen program.

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