Is an MBA in healthcare relevant for an RN?

By | 2021-05-07T16:30:44-04:00 August 7th, 2015|2 Comments

Dear Donna,

Is an MBA in healthcare relevant for an RN? I’ve been a bedside med/surg nurse for 15 years. My first degree is a BS in business. I also have an AAS in nursing and MBA in healthcare. At the hospital where I work, we have a clinical ladder designed by the professional practice committee. The ladder has five steps, but I can only attain the fourth because they feel my MBA is not relevant to bedside nursing. I completely disagree. If I can provide the literature to support my beliefs, I believe I can get them to reconsider. The problem is that I’m having a hard time finding what I need. When I search online for anything related to MBA, I get articles written by those with MBAs. Am I wrong in my beliefs?

MBA Nurse

Dear MBA Nurse,

You are absolutely spot on. Those who think outside of the box often have to work to expand the vision and or mindset of those around them. More and more nurses are getting MBAs. In fact, many universities now offer dual degree MSN/MBA programs. I always tell nurses that in today’s complex healthcare arena, we each need to be as much a business person as a clinician. So your MBA in healthcare has a great deal of relevance. From my vantage point, having degrees in both nursing and business is an ideal combination and makes for a well-rounded nurse.

When these types of internal standards have been set (clinical ladder), they can be challenged and changed. Sometimes it just takes one person to introduce another concept and then defend it. It sounds like you may be that person in this case.

To help you find supporting literature, ask your facility’s health science librarian to do some research for you because, that’s what they do. Ask them to find articles and research about the advantages of nurses having business degrees. Nurses typically underutilize their employer’s health science library services.

This article in Healthcare Finance News, although not specifically about business degrees, says, “Additionally, today more hospitals are expecting RNs to be able to make business decisions that impact the bottom line and patient outcomes, not just clinical or acute care.” And that is exactly why business degrees for nurses are more relevant then ever.

Good luck,

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About the Author:

Donna Cardillo
Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, CSP, is president of Known as The Inspiration Nurse, she is a keynote speaker, retreat and seminar leader, and author of "Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional" and "The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career." She brings more than 25 years of clinical, management and business experience to her role as career guru.


  1. Avatar
    Kefilwe October 11, 2017 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    Hi Donna,
    I am currently in a retail pharmacy/clinic setting and have developed a keen interest to the business and management side of healthcare and as a result was wondering if an MBA would be the correct route for a RN? I am in South Africa

  2. Avatar
    Steffi Jaison Abraham January 7, 2021 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    Hi Donna,
    I am currently working as an RN in USA. I would like to do MBA in healthcare but I have only 2 years of experience as a bed-side nurse.
    Will I still be able to pursue my dream? What are the requirements for MBA in healthcare?

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