The education requirements for a nurse manager are necessarily stringent because it is a supervisory position that entails taking charge of the operational efficiency of a unit, department or healthcare facility. Aside from educational qualifications, nurse managers must also demonstrate three to five years of clinical experience with growing responsibilities over time, according to Registerednursing.org. The departments to which nurse managers are assigned may depend on their experience and skill set.
Nurse Manager Responsibilities
The nurse manager is responsible for all staffing concerns, including hiring, firing, training and maintaining workable schedules for everyone, some parts of which may be performed in collaboration with the human resources department. Nurse managers may also have to handle preparation, implementation, and evaluation of department budgets, which may include revenue forecasting, expense management, and funds sourcing. Operational issues such as workflow efficiency, legal compliance and customer service challenges are part of the basic responsibilities of nurse managers.
Clinical and Administrative Expertise
The nurse manager may be referred to as nursing supervisor or nurse team leader. It is a middle management position that could put the professional nurse on a track that leads to director of nursing. For anyone interested in working as a nurse manager, it is important to build up clinical skills through on-the-job training. As supervisors of teams of nurses, technicians and nurse aides, managers should be highly competent in the clinical aspects to ensure that they are capable of making critical decisions on the department’s behalf. Administrative competency is not usually part of the undergraduate nursing program. Some of these skills may be developed through work experience, but academic training is valuable.
Managerial Preparation Through a Master’s Program
Some employers may groom registered nurses for supervisory positions by providing training opportunities on administrative matters. However, earning a master’s degree in a relevant field may lead to fast-track career growth. The courses that should be covered include accounting techniques, management science, organizational behavior, leadership strategies and practices and decision-making and problem-solving on the managerial level.
There are different pathways to earn the necessary credentials and train for these positions. A master of science in nursing with emphasis on organizational leadership may provide the necessary skills for nurse managers. Alternative degrees include a master’s in nursing administration or a master’s degree in leadership in healthcare systems.
As an alternative, joint master’s programs offered by nursing colleges as a collaborative effort with business schools. For instance, a master’s in nursing combined with the traditional master’s in business administration will cover most of the requisite knowledge for a nurse manager’s job. Another joint program worth considering is a combined MSN and master’s in healthcare administration, which would provide the knowledge and training needed by nurse managers. Admission to these programs typically requires completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college along with a number of years of clinical experience.
Nurse managers must have the drive and the passion for their job because this is a demanding position in a fast pace environment. While years of experience may substitute for the master’s degree, employers typically prioritize nurses with an advanced degree when hiring for these positions. Completing the education requirements for a nurse manager will be worth the investment in time and resources because it will equip the professional nurse with the key competencies to succeed as a nurse manager.