Nurse managers help maintain, operate, and manage clinics and hospital wards throughout the country every day. Whether it is a prenatal program, preventative health office, a psychiatric office, or an emergency room intake area, a nurse manager will always be present guiding and directing other nurses in their functions. These nurse managers provide the first and second levels of supervision for nurses, often training new nurses and guiding them early on their new medical careers.
Work Environment and Job Duties
Officially, nurse managers supervise and direct the daily operation of a clinic, office, or ward in a hospital. This includes the direct supervision of other nurses, technicians, and support staff. Along with supervision, manager nurses provide the training, monitoring, improvement, and discipline of rank and file employees who are not physicians, but work in a medical setting. If working in government, nurse managers are in charge of analysts and office staff, directing research and policy communications for government health programs. While manager nurses can actively engage in medical services, the majority of their day involves supervising others and taking care of administrative responsibilities.
Administrative duties can and usually include: hiring, technical teaching, performing employee ratings, operating nurse development schedules, planning work schedules for a section, monitoring and improving best practices used, policy development, networking with nurse resources and committees, financial management and cost tracking for a unit, purchasing, and community interaction. Nurse managers also spend a significant amount of time coordinating and interacting with physicians, which can include assigning support, resolving conflict issues between a doctor and a nurse, developing new situation responses, and managing legal issues.
Requirements and Education
All nurse managers have first spent time working as registered nurses themselves before being put in a position of supervising other nurses. As a result, a bachelor’s degree in nursing as well as requisite experience time and licensing are all required up to the RN level before consideration for a manager’s position. Nurses with a masters’ degree in nursing administration, or an MSN, tend to receive preference in hiring versus those with just a bachelors. Nurse managers also need to show an aptitude for leadership under pressure, good social skills with patients and other medical staff, excellent communication, an aptitude for planning ahead, strong attention to detail and records, and an ability to work with various people in different professions and situations.
Salary levels for manager nurses as of 2010 ranged from $60,500 to $85,800, depending on location, employer, and experience. Some locations see salaries as high as $100,000. In terms of career outlook, nursing managers and supervisors can expect a large availability of opportunity as the healthcare field continues to grow, needing trained and licensed nurses in hospitals, government, insurance, clinics, and community health programs. There is an ongoing shortage of highly trained nurses, which managers fit into and can hit the ground running. Further, those with an MSN can expect to see even more opportunity as middle management positions have greater demand in many organizations that hire nurses.