MBA in Nursing

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In America, healthcare is an industry largely run by administrators. The need for organizations to meet the bottom line requires leadership that understands the fundamentals of finance, accounting, management, and human resources. But healthcare organizations also need to prioritize the values and perspectives of their patients and providers to meet the standards of the value-based care era.

Nurses who advance into leadership positions are well-equipped to provide a balance of the compassionate, practical, and holistic perspectives needed to run healthcare organizations, and run them well. And to advance into those leadership positions, nurses are increasingly turning towards business-focused graduate degrees like the MBA.

Nurses with MBAs are positioned as leaders in two of the fastest-growing job sectors in the nation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021), the need for medical and health service managers is set to grow 32 percent between 2020 and 2030, and the need for advanced practice nurses is forecast to grow 45 percent over the same timeframe. By comparison, the growth rate estimated for all professions is only 8 percent.

The options for those looking to get an MBA with a focus in nursing fall into two categories: a dedicated MBA program with a focus in healthcare administration, nursing administration, or healthcare management; or a dual-degree program that combines a business-oriented MBA with a master of science in nursing (MSN). The former category is for those who already hold an MSN or are working as an advanced practice nurse (APRN), while the latter is designed for those working as registered nurses (RNs).

To learn more about the types of nursing-focused MBAs available, read on.

Featured MBA Programs for Nurses
Purdue University Global Online MBA - Health Care Management View School Profile
Purdue University Global Online MSN-MBA View School Profile
The George Washington University Online Healthcare MBA View School Profile
Grand Canyon University Online MBA/MSN - Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems View School Profile
Carlow University Dual Master of Science in Nursing & MBA (MSN-MBA) View School Profile
Benedictine University Dual MBA-MSN View School Profile
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Featured Schools with Online MBAs & Nursing Programs

1Purdue Global (Online MSN/MBA)View Full Profile

Purdue Global offers an online dual-degree MSN/MBA program that allows students to gain advanced nursing and business skills to qualify for executive-level leadership positions in healthcare.

Courses include topics such as advanced nursing roles; theoretical foundations of advanced practice nursing; strategic human resource management; financial accounting principles and analysis; and health policy. In addition to the coursework, students will need to complete an MSN clinical experience, but the university will help students with local placements. Graduates will be well prepared for certification as a nurse executive (NE-BC). The dual-degree program consists of 88 credits in total.

Location: West Lafayette, IN
Accreditation: CCNE; ACBSP
Time to Complete: 2.5 years
Tuition: $420 to $485 per credit

The online healthcare MBA at Florida International University is designed for healthcare professionals who want to develop the business and leadership skills needed to change the wider healthcare environment; applicants are advised to have at least two years of work experience.

The curriculum combines core MBA topics with healthcare-specific coursework, and all courses are taught by executives with experience managing healthcare organizations. Students will also need to complete three residencies (which can be completed remotely). Residency options include topics such as healthcare economics; oral communications; statistics fundamentals; Lean Six Sigma; and analytics.

Location: Miami, FL
Accreditation: AACSB; CAHME
Time to Complete: 18 months
Tuition: $59,892 per year
3California University of Pennsylvania (Online MBA Nursing Administration and Leadership)

California University of Pennsylvania offers an online MBA with a concentration in nursing administration and leadership that provides nursing professionals with a broad perspective on the business issues critical to medical settings.

Nursing-focused courses include health policy in nursing; financial management in nonprofit healthcare organizations; information systems for nurses in nonprofit healthcare organizations; corporate finance; and strategic management. The program consists of 36 credits in total.

Location: California, PA
Accreditation: ACBSP
Time to Complete: 30 months
Tuition: $526 per credit
4University of Texas at Tyler (Online MSN/MBA)

The online dual-degree MSN/MBA program at UT Tyler is designed for working nurse professionals. Students will gain a broad understanding of the business issues most critical to medical settings.

Courses include leadership in the healthcare environment; legal, regulatory, and financial management; nursing administration in delivery of care; accounting for management control; and advanced financial management. The dual-degree program consists of 63 credit hours in total.

Location: Tyler, TX
Accreditation: CCNE; AACSB
Time to Complete: Two to three years
Tuition: $11,558 per semester
5 Kent State University (Online MSN/MBA)

Kent State University offers an online dual degree MSN/MBA program with a concentration in nursing administration and health systems leadership. The program is designed for experienced nurses who aspire to middle or executive management positions in healthcare organizations.

Students will develop competencies in leadership, problem-solving, and interpersonal/group management; they’ll also get practicum experiences with healthcare leaders with nursing backgrounds. Although there are no on-campus requirements, online students are welcome to visit the campus and will be invited to various on-campus events throughout the year. The dual-degree program consists of 56 credits in total.

Location: Kent, OH
Accreditation: CCNE; AACSB
Time to Complete: Two to three years
Tuition: $536 per credit
6 Johns Hopkins University (Hybrid – MSN/MBA)

Johns Hopkins University offers a hybrid dual-degree program that combines an MBA with an MSN that specializes in healthcare organizational leadership. Graduates will be prepared to provide exceptional patient care and also effect change at the healthcare leadership and corporate levels.

The coursework can be further tailored to focus on management and administration, information technology, health policy, or case management and population management. While most MBA classes can be taken online, some do include a residency component. The dual-degree program consists of 65 credits in total and 504 clinical hours.

Location: Baltimore, MD
Accreditation: CCNE; AACSB
Time to Complete: Two to three years
Tuition: $1,826 per credit
7Western Governors University (Online – MBA Healthcare Management)

The online MBA in healthcare management offered by Western Governors University utilizes a competency-based learning model instead of a credit-hour learning model. Students will take courses and complete them when they can demonstrate mastery of the subject in question.

Courses include topics such as managing organizations and leading people; operations management; data-driven decision making; and financial management. A final capstone course in healthcare management synthesizes all skills contained within the curriculum, and presents them in a simulated business problem. The program consists of 11 courses in total.

Location: Millcreek, UT
Accreditation: ACBSP
Time to Complete: Two years
Tuition: $18,700 total

Admissions Requirements for Online MBA in Nursing Programs

Admissions requirements for online MBA in nursing programs will vary from school to school and program to program. In particular, programs with an MSN component will have different requirements than MBA-only programs.

Typical requirements for MBA programs can include:

  • A competitive undergraduate GPA (3.0 or greater)
  • Completion of prerequisite business courses
  • A personal statement
  • Letter(s) of recommendation
  • Work experience
  • GRE and/or GMAT scores

Typical requirements for MSN programs can include:

  • A bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN)
  • State licensure as a registered nurse (RN)
  • Completion of background check and drug screening
  • CPR certification
  • Letter from a state board of nursing
  • Professional recommendations
  • Clinical experience

Applicants to MBA in nursing programs, and applicants to dual-degree MSN/MBA programs, are advised to contact any potential program’s admissions department for more specific details.

Accreditation and State Authorization of MBA in Nursing Programs

Accreditation affirms that educational programs are teaching relevant and high-quality material. Accrediting agencies perform regular evaluations on accredited institutions to ensure that they meet industry-wide standards of excellence. While many undergraduate programs are accredited at the regional level, graduate programs in many areas have industry-specific accreditation.

At the graduate level, nursing programs should be accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). MBA programs should be accredited by either the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (AABSP) or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Graduate programs focusing on healthcare management may also be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME).

State authorization determines how much an educational institution may offer instruction outside its home state. This applies to all online educational programs, but it’s particularly relevant in online nursing programs, which may be more regulated than other forms of distance education. State authorization is dependent upon multiple factors, including state reciprocity agreements. For more information, contact a potential program’s admissions department, or visit the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) website.

MBA & Nursing Faculty to Know

  • Kenneth W. Dion, PhD, MSN, RN, MBA, FAAN Johns Hopkins University

    Dr. Kenneth Dion is assistant dean for business innovation and strategic relationships at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. He earned his MSN, MBA, and PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Dion is a 40-year veteran of the healthcare industry. Before joining the faculty at Johns Hopkins, he served as vice president and chief of nursing informatics at Healthstream.

    As a nurse entrepreneur, inventor, and scholar, Dr. Dion brings non-traditional and highly value-added expertise to identifying and advancing business opportunities within nursing locally, nationally, and internationally. Dr. Dion became a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 2019.

  • Colleen Marzilli, PhD, DNP, MBA, RN, CCM, PHNA-BC, CNE, NEA-BC UT Tyler

    Dr. Colleen Marzilli is an associate professor of nursing at the University of Texas at Tyler. She earned her MSN in nursing administration, her MBA, and her PhD in nursing from the University of Texas at Tyler; she also holds a DNP in public health nursing from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

    Dr. Marzilli has authored and co-authored academic articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Nursing Education Perspectives, Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, International Journal of Nursing, Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, and Journal of the American Medical Directors Association.

  • Karen L. Mascolo, DNP, RN Kent State University

    Dr. Karen Mascolo is an assistant professor at Kent State University College of Nursing. Courses she teaches include nursing concepts and professional role development; leadership in nursing and healthcare management; and program development for nurses. She earned her BSN and MSN from the University of Akron and her DNP from the Ohio State University.

    Dr. Mascolo created the School Nursing Program at Akron Children’s Hospital, which provides school health services to over ten school districts in Summit County; she also reorganized the Shared Governance Program at a local community hospital to improve efficiencies and performance, contributing to the attainment of Magnet Designation for the organization.

Matt Zbrog
Matt Zbrog
Writer

Matt Zbrog is a writer and freelancer who has been living abroad since 2016. His nonfiction has been published by Euromaidan Press, Cirrus Gallery, and Our Thursday. Both his writing and his experience abroad are shaped by seeking out alternative lifestyles and counterculture movements, especially in developing nations. You can follow his travels through Eastern Europe and Central Asia on Instagram at @weirdviewmirror. He’s recently finished his second novel, and is in no hurry to publish it.

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