Nurse managers have a lot of responsibilities on their plate, including managing the schedule, allocating department resources, budget tracking, and dealing with issues on the floor. Additionally, nurse managers can help foster quality care for patients, improve working conditions, and help their employees get the respect they deserve. Nurse managers also see a sizable pay increase. The national average salary for nurse managers is around $80,000 with some making above six figures a year, while the median salary for registered nurses is around $68,000 a year.
If you’re a registered bedside nurse that’s looking to transition into nurse management, you’ll have to supplement your education and professional experience. Learn how you can take your career to the next level and become a nurse manager.
Understanding the Role of a Nurse Manager
Let’s start by looking at the role of a nurse manager. They have many responsibilities and needs to contend with, including those from upper management and those from the nurses they supervise. The duties and responsibilities of a nurse manager typically include:
- Hiring and training new nurses
- Managing the nursing schedule and making sure the facility is always fully staffed
- Dealing with and resolving disputes on the hospital floor
- Managing and reporting the department’s budget
- Coordinating between upper management and the nursing department
- Managing and maintaining medical health records
- Supervising daily unit operations
Required Professional Experience
Nurse managers are usually required to have at least 5 years’ experience as a registered nurse either in a hospital setting or another healthcare environment. If you’ve just started working as a nurse or you’ve been in the job for a while, remember that many healthcare facilities may be looking to promote and hire within their current staff, so making the right impression and going above and beyond your job description can help you go a long way. It’s also important to have a wide variety of nursing experience such as in the emergency room, maternity ward, children’s unit, etc. Before you start applying for nurse management positions, try to supplement your current experience by working in different departments.
Additional Education Requirements
In addition to beefing up your work experience, there’s a good chance that you’ll need to go back to school. You should already have a BSN or Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, but many nurse manager positions will also require a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Master’s in Healthcare or Business Administration (MHA or MBA). This gives you the experience you need to effectively manage a department budget and supervise employees.
As vital as your knowledge of healthcare is to the equation, you also need to start thinking strategically. You should have a full sense of how department resources are allocated, how to handle and deal with issues that arise on the floor, and what effective business management should look like. Again, this step may be optional, especially if you’re vying for a promotion at your current place of employment but having one of these degrees will certainly make you more appealing as a candidate.
Transitioning from bedside nurse to nurse manager requires years of hard work, a positive attitude, and smart career decisions. You can start asking your manager questions about how they prepared for the role and if they have any advice for registered nurses looking to move up the corporate ladder. Start looking at your career options and make the leap to nurse manager today!