A nurse manager oversees the activities of staff in a hospital or medical clinic. To become a nurse manager, you must first get a registered nurse's, or RN, license in your state. You normally complete a certification, associate's or bachelor's program to do so. Then you prove yourself as an effective nurse and leader for a few years.
Quality care is job number one in nursing. After all, the core role of nurses is to treat and care for sick and injured patients. As nurse manager, your first objective is to develop quality staff, coach them and evaluate quality over time. Establishing policies and standards related to bedside manner, attitudes and task-performance are important. You also routinely coach, develop and assess the quality provided by each nurse. Patient feedback forms are used to identify and correct quality of care issues.
In most cases, nurse managers also have some fiscal responsibilities. Many facilities have a nurse administrator that oversees the operation of a nursing unit. As a manager, you'll likely work closely with this person to outline and enforce efficient procedures, resource utilization and scheduling processes. Balancing quality care with avoiding wasteful spending on labor and supplies is a core business objective for a nurse manager.
The medical environment is ripe with the potential for lawsuits and ethical dilemmas. Nurses often find themselves in the middle of patient care complaints and negligence suits. As nursing manager, your goal is to ensure legal and ethical compliance in all nursing activities and behaviors that could lead to legal problems or ethical dilemmas. In achieving this goal, you need to thoroughly train staff, communicate policy manual codes and consequences and quickly correct any behaviors that could become problematic.
A more general goal is to promote a positive work culture and supportive attitude. Managers and nurses spend a lot of time together in a hospital or clinic. A positive and friendly culture makes the experience better for everyone, and can indirectly add to quality and efficiency benefits. Part of your role as manager is to support your nurses as well. This role includes helping them develop their full potential, coaching them on new skills and going to bat for them if they are wrongly charged with poor behavior or misconduct.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.