How Do You Become a Nurse Manager?

Nurse managers play key roles in the delivery of quality of patient care. They are responsible to recruit, manage and support staff while also supervising the clinical and administrative functions of nursing office units. The wide range of critically important duties makes the nurse manager’s job both rewarding and challenging. In order to become a nurse manager, job candidates will need to have at least’s a bachelor’s degree with work experience in nursing environments.

Complete a Bachelor’s Degree

Nurse managers are almost always registered nurses (RNs) with advanced training, education and clinical nursing experience. Therefore, aspiring nurse managers should have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. These programs will train students in bioethics, statistics, nursing assessments and professional leadership. They will also learn about public health, evidence-based practices, health care technology and the nursing care cycle. Those who graduate are ready to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), which offers the exam, states that exam eligibility requirements are determined by the candidate’s state board of nursing.

Complete a Master’s Degree

A bachelor’s degree will help talented nurses with strong leadership skills to get a job, but most health care employers give preference to candidates who hold master’s degrees. RN’s can pursue a degree in nursing management or health care administration. These programs will provide students with the supervisor strategies, leadership skills and management acumen needed to become successful nurse managers. These programs will offer classes in health care-based organizational development, financial management, human resources and service marketing. They also take classes in health law, which will help them maintain compliance with mandates like ACA and HIPPA. They also take classes in ethics, quality assessments, community nursing and information management.

Core Competencies

RNs should develop certain skills at work and school while preparing to become a nurse manager. First, they must have financial management skills in order to understand health care economics and health care public policies. They must know how to develop, assess and maintain department-based budgets. Next, they will need human resource management skills. They must know recruitment strategies, interviewing techniques, labor laws pertaining to hiring and the key skills required for each supervised position. Nurse managers must be experts in performance management and familiar with popular quality models like Six Sigma, Total Quality Management (TQM) and Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI). Critical thinking skills will help them with analysis, decision-making, organization and leadership.

Work as a Nurse Supervisor

RNs who want to become nurse managers need supervisory and leadership experience. Being a nurse team leader or supervisor is an excellent way to gain the experience required to become a manager. Nurse supervisors oversee an assigned unit of RNs. They ensure quality care, operational efficiency and compliance with policies and regulations. They help their staff by providing professional guidance, personnel support and hands-on training. They also manage performance issues, troubleshoot problems and prepare administrative reports. They must create complex work schedules, reassign duties as needed, coordinate nursing services and evaluate designated nursing staff.

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Today’s dynamic health care environments need nurse managers who will implement effective systems and ensure that quality care services are provided to clients.