Director Of Nursing Salary

Director Of Nursing Salary

Director Of Nursing Salary In The United States

The Director of Nursing Services, also known as DON, is the professional that directs the nursing department and makes sure nurses meet and maintain all the high quality standards of care that apply in the state where they work. The average yearly salary of a director of nursing services in the United States of America is of $69,000, although it can range anywhere between $53,000 and $116,000.

Pay Scale In Different Parts Of The United States

Directors of nursing earn different wages across the United States, and as it happens with most industries these days, professionals that work as directors of nursing earn the most in the state of California, where they receive a median yearly wage of around $85,000. Other states that pay very well are New York and Washington DC, and at the opposite end there is Hawaii which only pays its directors of nursing an average yearly wage of $51,000. On the other hand, South Dakota and Nebraska also offer low salaries.

Job Description

In a nutshell, the DON or director of nursing is a professional who occupies the senior nursing management position within an organization. Most large health care organizations around the world have at least one director of nursing, and they oversee a certain service within the organization in question.

Regarding the duties and responsibilities of these professionals, it must be said that they must take responsibility for all the facility operations, provided that there is no administrator. Also, they need to plan, implement and assess the entire nursing process and they must evaluate nursing programs to make sure that the nursing care services are improved and they always rise to the needs and expectations of the patients.

It is also the duty of the director of nursing to make sure that adequate nursing staff is available, and that the nurses comply with all the state, the federal as well as the local regulations, procedures and policies that apply in that specific work environment. The director of nursing is also responsible with planning and facilitating meetings and committees, as well as for setting goals and establishing priorities. Moreover, these professionals also administer nursing services budgets and control the expense system.

It is not uncommon for the directors of nursing to even be called as witnesses during a trial, if there happens to be any litigation or if they know of any incidents that have happened within the facility they administer. The bottom line is that directors of nursing are responsible with overseeing the nursing employee conduct within the organization where they work.

How To Become A Director Of Nursing?

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nursing directorBecoming a director of nursing is not an easy task, as you usually need both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in either nursing or management, and you also need to be well-aware of all the professional nursing practices and principles that apply. It is important for these professionals to have a RN licensure, to have at least three years of experience in health care management as well as to have impeccable quantitative, verbal and interpersonal skills.

The first step in order to become a director of nursing is completing a Bachelor’s Degree program that will result in a BSN, or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. This program typically takes four years to complete and throughout the course, the teachers will emphasize on research, nursing management, different clinical procedures as well as the basic principles of nursing science.

Once you have received your Bachelor’s Degree, the next step is obtaining your licensure from an approved nursing program. In order to do that, you must firstly pass the NCLEX-RN, or the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. In spite of the fact that most programs only require an Associate’s Degree in nursing in order to sit for the exam, having a Bachelor’s Degree in the Science of Nursing is certainly better. Once you have become a registered nurse, the next thing you need to do is gaining experience as a registered nurse and then gradually work your way up to the director position. Generally speaking, you need to have at least two years of experience in the field in order to be eligible for the position of director of nursing.


One of the most important requirements if you want to activate in the health care industry as a director of nursing is to be certified. The organization that provides certifications in this field of activity is the NADONA LTC, an acronym that stands for the National Association Directors of Nursing Administration for Long Term Care. This program has certified hundreds, if not thousands of directors of nursing throughout the years. The requirements for certification are minimal, as you only need two years of full experience in the field. Besides this, you must know that once you get your certification, you will need to apply for a recertification once every five years.

The national certification is very important for many directors of nursing nowadays, and for a good reason given the fact that this certification shows quality and it proves that the director in question has managed to get all the theoretical and practical experience he so much needs for filling a director, management position. At the same time, a certification also proves leadership experience, as well as the highest standards of clinical and medical care – the certification gives patients the peace of mind they need, knowing that they are in good hands. Besides this, the certification also adds to the overall salary of the registered nurse, as well as to the satisfaction of this health care professional.

Director Of Nursing Salary In Canada, Australia And UK

A director of nursing that works in the United Kingdom makes, on average, around 38,000 pounds a year, in spite of the fact that the salary can vary greatly from one region to another. On the other hand, a director of nursing that is based in Canada makes around C$80,000 a year, while an Australian director of nursing can earn between AU$75,000 and AU$121,000.

Verdict On Director Of Nursing Salary

To sum it all up, directors of nursing oversee the nursing department and they can get very rewarding salaries, provided that they are skilled, trained, educated and certified in the science of nursing.