Director of Nursing Career Guide

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A Director of Nursing (DON) is a pivotal leadership role within the healthcare system, responsible for overseeing and coordinating nursing operations to ensure the delivery of high-quality patient care. DONs play a critical role in shaping the nursing department's policies, procedures and standards while also collaborating with other healthcare professionals to optimize patient outcomes.

Essential Job Functions:

Directors of Nursing


To become a Director of Nursing, individuals typically need to hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or higher degree from an accredited institution. Advanced degrees such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) can enhance qualifications for this leadership role.

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Related certifications

Becoming a DON often requires years of experience in nursing and progressive leadership roles. Many employers prefer candidates who have obtained advanced certifications such as Nurse Executive (NE-BC) or Nurse Manager and Leader (CNML) certifications to demonstrate their expertise in nursing leadership.

State licenses process and requirements

All 50 states require state licensure to become a professional nurse. Review the step-by-step process to obtain or renew your RN license in each one.
A stethoscope held in one hand


Success as a Staff or Travel Director of Nursing demands a comprehensive skill set. Effective communication and interpersonal skills are crucial for collaborating with interdisciplinary teams, mentoring staff and resolving conflicts. Strong leadership abilities, financial acumen and strategic planning skills are essential for managing nursing operations and achieving organizational goals.

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DONs have a wide range of responsibilities, including managing nursing staff, developing and enforcing nursing standards, ensuring regulatory compliance and fostering a culture of continuous improvement. They oversee patient care quality, manage budgets, evaluate staff performance and contribute to the development of healthcare policies.

Salary Insights

Compare your pay with the most up-to-date job market data using our comprehensive salary calculator.
Director of Nursing

The average salary for a Director of Nursing is $3,319.68 per week.

Last updated on September 20, 2023. Based on active jobs on

Pros & Cons

Becoming a Director of Nursing offers numerous advantages. This leadership role provides the opportunity to make a significant impact on patient care and outcomes. DONs play a vital role in shaping the nursing department's culture and ensuring the highest standards of care. The role also comes with the potential for competitive compensation and professional growth.

However, the role of a DON

Director of Nursing Jobs

View job details for Seattle, WATravel ContractSeattle, WATravel Nurse RN - Director of NursingMedical Solutions$2,135/wkEstimated pay package
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Posted 6 days ago
View job details for Palatine, ILTravel ContractPalatine, ILTravel Nurse RN - Director of NursingMedical Solutions$2,133/wk
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View job details for El Paso, ILTravel ContractEl Paso, ILTravel Nurse RN - Director of NursingMedical Solutions$2,129/wk
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View job details for Bronx, NYTravel ContractBronx, NYTravel Nurse RN - Director of NursingVoca$4,193/wk
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Posted Today

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