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There is, without a doubt, rising demand in the medical industry for nurses to be in management and leadership roles. We need nurses with the context and perspective of a nurse, making important decisions in policy creation, implementation, and supervision. Before you answer the question, “Should I pursue a career as a nurse manager?” you must first understand the implications and responsibilities of such a specialty. 

Nevertheless, it takes more than a good nurse to be a nurse manager. Today, we’ll answer all your questions about nurse managers and guide you through the process of how to become a nurse manager.

What is a Nurse Manager?

A nurse manager is a nurse whose role in the work setting involves decision-making, staff management, quality control, budgeting, and other executive responsibilities. It’s a good role for natural leaders and influencers. Direct patient care is generally not a routine task of a nurse manager. Nevertheless, their experience and training in nursing are directly applied to their executive roles through a nursing lens.

Nurse managers may work as:

  • facility administrators in long-term care
  • clinical administrators for a specific facility department
  • The health information manager responsible for the supervision of medical records and health information technology
  • faculty in nursing schools
  • consultants for businesses in the private sector

What is the Average Salary for a Nurse Manager?

Data sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics show

  • The projected growth for medical and health services managers is expected to grow through the year 2030 at a rate of 32%. 
  • The median pay in 2021 for a medical and health services manager was $101,340 for the year or $48.72 hourly. (Note: median salary means that half of all in the profession earned higher wages, and half earned lower.)

The statistic for median pay is pertinent here because the salary varies by nurse manager experience. According to nursingprocess.org, entry-level nurse managers can expect an hourly rate of around $28.11. In contrast, a nurse manager with ten or more years of experience bumps the other half of the median pay statistic by earning about $49.26 per hour and higher.

Nurse managers can leverage their experience and advanced education for higher income by teaching an adjunct course for a nearby nursing school program, writing articles for nursing associations and journals, simple geographic relocation, or earning a certification. There are five established certification programs for nurse managers:

  • Nurse Executive Certification (NE-BC)
  • Nurse Executive Advanced Certification (NEA-BC)
  • Informatics Nursing Certification (RN-BC)
  • Certified in Executive Nursing Practice (CENP)
  • Certified Nurse Manager and Leader (CNML)

How Do I Become a Nurse Manager?

A bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) is a fundamental requirement to become a nurse manager. You must then build on that education with experience as a working nurse. Five years of experience is commonly preferred for eligibility to sit for the NE-BC, and a master’s degree in nursing administration is encouraged. Further certifications require experience as a nursing manager and advanced degree(s). 

What Are the Characteristics of a Nurse Manager?

  • A nurse manager is a nurse who looks at the facility they work in and can visualize changes to be made to improve it.
  • A nurse manager is a nurse who values patient care but wants to improve it on a macro level, not just in their direct practice.
  • A nurse manager is a nurse who wants more autonomy and the opportunity to make and influence facility policies.
  • A nurse manager is a nurse who sees the value that nurse managers bring to policy and administration and wants that responsibility.
  • A nurse manager is a nurse who wants to affect change in the medical industry.
  • A nurse manager is a nurse who wants to teach other nurses.
  • A nurse manager is a nurse who is a talented communicator.
  • A nurse manager is a nurse who possesses analytical abilities and leadership qualities.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Nurse Manager?

As you can imagine, the responsibilities of a nurse manager are quite different from that of a staff nurse. They involve little-to-no direct patient care and instead include activities such as the following:

  • supervision of staff, including the hiring and training processes
  • managing the budget, supervising billing, and creating staff work schedules
  • writing and implementing standards of care
  • liaise between executive branch and staff
  • represent the facility in stakeholder meetings, board meetings, media

Do You Have What It Takes to Become a Nurse Manager?

This specialty requires dedication to higher education and application of that learning in the work setting. As you can see from the requirements for the various certification programs, the career of a nurse manager has a significant upward trajectory. If you are willing to invest the time, energy, and money to build upon your learning and experience every year, if you are the type of person always looking to advance your healthcare career, this might be the right specialty for you.

Written by Miranda Booher, RN

SEO Content Marketing Administrator Miranda has been a registered nurse since 2007 and has a healthy background in travel nursing, healthcare IT, and digital marketing. She brings an interesting combination of stellar SEO content management and copywriting skills and first-hand nursing experience to the table. Miranda understands the industry and has an impeccable ability to write about it. And speaking of travel - Miranda currently lives in Bolivia, though she maintains an active Registered Nurse license in the state of Ohio and stays current on the latest healthcare news through her writing. When she is not creating killer copy, or serving others through her work as a nurse, you can find her spending time with her family traveling in the Andes Mountains.

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