News & Articles

Six reasons to consider a career as a nurse manager

Date: January 27, 2017

Obtaining a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree can open up a number of exciting career paths. One common role that MSN graduates pursue is that of nurse manager.

What do nurse managers do?
Nurse managers oversee teams of nurses working within specific departments, usually in a hospital or clinical setting, Ellie Williams, writing in the Houston Chronicle explained. The role also requires a substantial amount of administrative work. As such, most nurse managers will work less closely with patients, although not always.

Some of the most common duties associated with the nurse manager role, according to Williams, include the following:

  • Educating nurses on the team and offering assistance, guidance and coaching when necessary. Nurse managers are usually the first point of contact nurses will go to with questions and concerns about their role, what is expected of them on a daily basis and so on. Nurse managers also may step in to help nurses with patient care on challenging cases and often will be tasked with making more consequential decisions about a patient’s care.
  • Building schedules and case loads for all nursing staff. Strong computer literacy and organizational skills are needed for this kind of administrative work, which may involve creating weekly timetables and holding regular staff meetings to delegate tasks and other duties.
  • Working on an array of administrative tasks.
  • Meeting regularly with department and hospital executives to provide updates and be briefed on hospital news and affairs.
  • Monitoring the work and progress of all nursing staff to ensure that the very best care is being delivered.
  • Occasionally working with patients in a care-giving capacity, particularly on more complex cases or in situations when a patient is unhappy with the care he or she receives from another nurse.
  • Ensuring that the team functions well and without conflict. When conflict occurs, nurse managers usually will be called on to mediate and help resolve major team disputes. Occasionally, nurse managers may have to implement disciplinary actions with an employee.

Why choose a career as a nurse manager?
There are a number of reasons to pursue this career path upon graduation from your MSN program, including the following:

1. Higher salary
Transitioning to a career as a nurse manager can be a lucrative move. According to careers site, the median nationwide salary for a nurse manager currently stands at a little over $82,000 per year, although salaries in the six figure range are not uncommon, particularly for professionals with more experience.

Six reasons to consider a career as a nurse manager

2. Challenging and varied work
As detailed by Williams, in most cases, nurse managers enjoy challenging work with varied responsibilities that move between management, administration and patient care. On a given day, a nurse manager may meet with a hospital’s executive board and then move to the floor to help treat a patient with a complex medical problem. Pamela F. Cipriano, writing in American Nurse Today explained that nurse managers serve as the liaison between upper management and frontline nursing staff.

3. Managerial skills
The managerial skills gained during this role are easily transferable, meaning you will be able to transition to other management careers if you so desire.

4. Team work
Arguably, one of the most rewarding aspects of the nurse manager role is the ability to lead a team of nurses to great success. Indeed, nurses with strong leadership skills will relish the challenge of heading a team. It is possible to introduce your own ideas and create a “vision” and “culture” for care and then watch a team of nurses implement that care, improving the lives of patients, Cipriano argued. Put another way, the rewards of watching your vision for a hospital team translate into tangible results for patient care are immeasurable.

5. Room for advancement within medicine
Once you have built a strong career as a nurse manager, the skills and experience you have acquired will put you in good stead for career progression. One role that nurse managers often are well qualified for is that of a nurse executive. According to Nurse Source, professionals in this field look at the bigger picture and help devise strategies and policies for patient care, ensuring that nursing within an entire organization meets certain standards and is delivered in a certain way. Nurse executives also oversee all nursing staff, including nurse managers and resident nurses. Other common duties, as stated on the Nurse Source article include:

  • Learning about advances in the field in terms of technology best practices and government policies, which typically means attending conferences and seminars on a routine basis.
  • Overseeing the financial side of nursing practice within a health care organization.
  • Promoting new policies.
  • Educating other nurses.
  • Meeting with hospital executives and nurse managers.

Nurse executives take home even higher salaries than nurse managers. reported that the median national salary for this role is close to $125,000 per year, with annual salaries close to $200,000 not uncommon.

6. More flexibility
As a registered nurse, you no doubt work long hours at times that are often inconvenient, such as weekends and holidays. If you transition to a role as a nurse manager, however, you likely will find that you have more flexibility and freedom in terms of the amount of hours you work and the time of day you work, as stated in an article published on Nurse Together.

Consider Bradley University
Your potential career as a nurse manager begins with your application to Bradley University’s online MSN in Nursing Administration program. Designed to help you balance your professional life with study, the online format makes it easier than ever to gain your advanced degree in the field — a degree that can open a number of exciting professional doors. To learn more, click here.