What Does a Nursing Home Administrator Do? A Closer Look

photo of a nursing home administrator speaking with potiental residents representing what does a nursing home administrator do

You’ve got a heart for helping people and a mind that thrives on management and organization. Being a nursing home administrator sounds like it could be the perfect blend between these two. But what does a nursing home administrator do?

You may know generally that nursing home administrators are in charge of running nursing homes, though you’re not sure what this job ultimately entails. What tasks fill nursing home administrators’ day-to-day schedules? What skills do they need? And what would a career as a nursing home administrator look like?

We’re here with answers to these pressing questions. Keep reading to learn if being a nursing home administrator is in your future!

What does a nursing home administrator do?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare administrators of all types are responsible for overseeing aspects of medicine, whether that be a department or a whole hospital. Their goal is to keep improving the facility where they work and its operations. And they are responsible for taking care of the building and the residents or patients in it. All of their responsibilities flow from these things.

As the job title suggests, they are also responsible for a variety of administrative tasks. You’ll find them creating schedules, keeping records, and training and hiring staff. In addition to working with residents or patients—and admitting them—they work with all sorts of healthcare workers and sometimes insurance companies or facility directors.

Healthcare administrators are tasked with a variety of business-oriented responsibilities as well, including managing finances, ensuring their facility is up to regulatory code and keeping up with changing laws.

What’s rewarding about being a nursing home administrator?

Amidst these responsibilities, being a nursing home administrator can be extremely rewarding. Because these administrators get to work directly with the nursing home residents, they can form relationships with those they are ultimately serving.

Rather than only working in an office, detached from the day-to-day of the facility, nursing home administrators get to see how their work can make a positive impact. Whether it’s seeing nursing home residents every day or helping a new staff member flourish, nursing home administrators get to be hands-on in their job.

Additionally, with the wide range of tasks involved in this job, from finances to training staff, there’s always something interesting to work on. Variety is one of the obvious perks of this job, and nursing home administrators get to split their time between independent and team-focused tasks, number- and people-oriented activities, and administrative and resident-concentrated duties.

What’s challenging about being a nursing home administrator?

With all of these rewards, there are still challenges to being a nursing home administrator. The variety of the job creates a lot of moving parts to track—and falling short can lead to big issues. Whether it’s needing to get the facility finances in order for the upcoming tax deadline or ensuring the building stays clean and sanitary, nursing home administrators need to be organized.

All of these responsibilities can be a heavy burden, which makes delegation and surrounding yourself with a strong staff incredibly important. People management isn’t a strength for everyone, and there are inevitably headaches that can come from depending on others to do their jobs well.

Additionally, maintaining a budget and overseeing the resources of your facility can pose challenges—for example, having to put off a nice-to-have common area improvement project in order to adjust to an unexpected and pressing kitchen equipment repair need. Making tough decisions comes with leadership, and nursing home administrators will have to make their fair share.

There’s no doubt this can be a lot of pressure, and managing time, resources and employees is a key trait of successful nursing home administrators. At the end of the day, it’s the administrator’s job to make sure everything gets done while prioritizing patient needs.

What skills do nursing home administrators need?

With these challenges, there’s no doubt that organization is a key trait of nursing home administrators. But what other skills do you need for this job?

Because nursing home administrators will find themselves interacting with residents and staff as well as sitting alone completing administrative work, they need to have a wide range of skills. Ideally, they need to be both people- and task-oriented.

Similarly, they have to be knowledgeable about a lot of different topics, both on the healthcare side and the business side. Whether it’s finance, management, healthcare laws or hiring staff, nursing home administrators have a diverse array of responsibilities. Fortunately, these are all skills you can begin to refine in a healthcare management degree program.

Amidst all these duties, nursing home administrators need to stay patient and calm. Managing staff disputes and having last-minute tasks fall on your shoulders can be quite draining and frustrating. But being in a leadership position, these administrators have to maintain a professional attitude through all this.

Finally, at the end of the day, if something needs to be done, it ultimately can fall on the administrator to get the job complete. As a result, nursing home administrators need to be go-getters. This is key when it comes to completing tasks for the employee who called out sick, finishing jobs that fall through the cracks or being proactive to ensure the facility is in tip-top shape.

Is being a nursing home administrator for you?

You now have the answers to “What does a nursing home administrator do?” and know that this career is full of variety with its unique blend of business and healthcare. And in this job, whether you’re helping a resident or training new staff, you know that you’re making a difference in people’s lives. 

If this career sounds like the fit for you, check out our article “How to Become a Nursing Home Administrator: Your Guide to This Health Care Career” to learn how you can start toward your dream job.

About the author

Jordan Jantz

Jordan is a freelance content writer at Collegis Education. She researches and writes articles on behalf of Rasmussen University to help empower students achieve their career dreams through higher education.


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