Image of a nurse manager speaking with staff

What Does a Nurse Manager Do?

Nurse managers can make a double impact on health care since they play double roles as a nurse and as a leader. If you are a nurse manager, you will have the dual responsibility of providing clinical care and administrative management in health care settings, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Nurse managers typically oversee the nursing staff of a health care unit in hospitals and health care facilities. They contribute to the improvement of nursing care and patient safety by guiding their nursing staff. Their professional expertise is especially valuable now that medical teams are experiencing extra pressure because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Perhaps you are considering pursuing a career as a nurse manager. Maybe you are simply curious to learn more about this interesting nursing position. Read on to find out what exactly a nurse manager does on a regular basis and how to become one yourself.

What Are the Duties of a Nurse Manager?

A nurse manager needs to fulfill many important nursing leadership and administrative tasks to ensure the smooth operations of medical teams in the health care field.

As a nurse leader, a nurse manager is responsible for creating a safe, nurturing health care environment that supports the work of nursing staff and promotes the well-being of patients, as explained by the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL. Formerly AONE).

Here are some examples of the daily duties of a nurse manager:

  • Leads the nursing staff, medical professionals, and the entire health care unit in providing customer-centric health care services to patients and their families
  • Equips the nursing staff through training that develops their nursing knowledge and skills
  • Makes sure that standard regulations, safety measures, and unit-based protocols are correctly observed by the nursing staff and health care professionals
  • Handles human resource matters such as nursing staff management and employee recruitment
  • Oversees case management, treatment planning, and discharge planning for patients
  • Serves as a mentor and coach to nurses in various stages of their nursing career
  • Grants nurses access to the proper equipment they need for medical work
  • Addresses the work-related concerns and issues of the nursing staff and health care unit
  • Monitors the financial budget of the health care unit to meet multiple expenses like staffing costs, operating costs, supplies, equipment, etc.
  • Functions as the representative of the health care unit and nursing staff within the health care organization

Nurse managers commonly work in hospitals, long-term care facilities, schools, physician’s offices, psychiatric institutions, and other health care settings. They usually report to the director of nursing, vice president of nursing, or chief nursing officer of their hospital, company, or organization.

How Can You Become a Nurse Manager?

You might be wondering how you can become a nurse manager yourself. What do you need to do to become qualified for the position?

Earn the Right Educational Degree

You should earn at least a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree if you wish to become a nurse manager. It would be even more ideal if you gain a minor degree in health care management.

If you are serious about building a long-term career in health care management, you may also pursue higher degrees like Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA), or Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a focus on health care administration.

Make sure to enroll in an accredited nursing school or university that meets both national and state requirements.

Achieve the Right Certifications

The typical minimum certification that you need to apply for nurse manager jobs is a Registered Nurse (RN) license. If you are not yet an RN, you should take and pass the National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX) exam for RNs.

If you are already an RN, but you want to level up your qualifications, you can also seek specialized certification for nurse leaders from AONL. You may pursue Certified Nurse Manager and Leader (CNML) credentials, which is meant specifically for nurse managers. You can also aim for Certified in Executive Nursing Practice (CENP) credentials, which is suitable for professionals active in executive nursing practice.

Get the Right Professional Experience

You will usually need a minimum of five years of work experience as an RN to be qualified as a nurse manager. While education and certification training can help you prepare for the position, there’s nothing like real-life experience to sharpen your clinical skills and practical knowledge as a potential nurse leader.

Whether you are a nurse or a health care professional, you can start getting ready to become a nurse manager someday by gradually taking on more leadership tasks and assignments in your current workplace.

How Much Does a Nurse Manager Earn?

You may gain more major work responsibilities as a nurse manager, but you will also have the potential to earn a higher salary than you can usually expect as a nurse or entry-level health care professional.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical and health services managers earn an average of $100,980 every year and $48.55 per hour. Take note that the exact amount of your future salary as a nurse manager will depend on various factors, such as your employer, qualifications, experience, and location.

There is definitely room in the medical industry for new nurse managers. The demand for medical and health services managers is projected to rise by 32% between 2019 to 2029.

Are You Ready to Be a Nurse Manager?

The role of a nurse manager may be a challenging one, but it can give you the opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of nurses and patients during this pandemic and beyond.

If you are determined to develop your potential as a future nurse manager, you can start by increasing your nursing knowledge through educational resources by Clipboard Academy.

If you want to gain more experience as an RN in preparation for a career as a nurse manager, you can easily find per diem nursing shifts with the help of Clipboard Health.