Modest pay increase seen for chief nursing officers

Nurses will play a more prominent role in health care. An Institute of Medicine study, The Future of Nursing: Focus on Scope of Practice, states that “[N]urses have a considerable opportunity to act as full partners with other health professionals and to lead in the improvement and redesign of the health care system and its practice environment.” The average base salary for chief nursing officers rose in 2011 a little more slowly than in 2010, according to Executive Compensation 2011/2012, published by Compdata Surveys.

The chief nursing officer is responsible “for planning, organizing, and controlling the department of nursing and patient services,” says Compdata. In addition, the CNO, who should have a master’s degree at least, has “responsibility, authority, and accountability for nursing practice, nursing education, and nursing research activities.” The CNO interacts with other hospital department heads.

In other words, the CNO is a player, but that’s not surprising. We reported in March on a Gallup poll of health care officials, conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, that examined how nurses might drive change. “Opinion leaders feel [that] society, and nurses themselves, should have higher expectations for what nurses can achieve, and that nurses should be held accountable for not only providing quality direct patient care, but also health care leadership.”

2011 CNO salaries by revenue for the organization …

… and by size of organization

Chief nursing officers for the most part were not offered huge incentives

Source: Executive Compensation 2011/2012, Compdata Surveys