As complex the role of being a nurse is, there is still someone above it all who has to take charge and manage the frenzy. These are the nurse managers, who not only are qualified to administer patient care, but they also have the skills needed to make sure that other nurses are able to do the same.
The Busy Life of a Nurse Manager
A nurse manager is the intermediary between the nurses working in their unit and the administrative staff. In a hospital setting, they will oversee a specific unit, like the ER or maternity ward, whereas in private practice their role may become entwined with that of an office manager. To become a successful nurse manager, you must be prepared to take on both the clinical and administrative aspects of patient care, supervise other nurses, and address patients and their families.
You will also be expected to take on the responsibility of mentoring other nurses, especially those who are new to the world of an RN. You may need to directly supervise nurses who have recently graduated, offering advice and suggestions for how to excel in their position. Since you are ultimately responsible for the actions of all nurses under your supervision, it is in your best interest to take a vested interest in how each one works with patients and other staff members.
What It Takes To Be A Successful Nurse Manager
In addition to being an exceptional clinical nurse, a nurse manager must possess leadership qualities that will make it easy for other nurses to follow their lead. Great communication skills are essential, as well as being organized and thorough. Going from being a bedside nurse to a manager is a big change, and you should consider these tips to help in making that transition a smooth one:
- Accept that you will not know everything. It is much better to ask questions and solicit advice from others with more experience than to make critical errors in your new position. Advancing to nurse management does not necessarily mean you have all the knowledge needed, it means that you have the skills it takes to know how to obtain that knowledge. Establish strong relationships with key people in your work environment and learn how to rely on them when you need some help.
- Be very clear on what your expectations are. This allows for you to hold nurses accountable when things do go awry on your floor. Have regular meetings, collaborate with your nurses and present your vision of how things should be running under your supervision.
- Understand that you and your staff are now at a different level. This is hard for some nurses who end up in management roles of the same unit they were working in as a bedside nurse. Now the dynamic of those relationships you fostered with your peers will become different, and it may be hard for some to adjust. Use your inside knowledge of your staff to your advantage when formulating goals and objectives, but be firm when it comes to the acceptance of you in this new position.
- You will never clock out on a clean slate. Your job is now ongoing, with projects and tasks that are always pending. Learn to get used to going home knowing that you will be facing a full plate when you return to work the next day.
- Be a role model. Your attitude sets the tone for the rest of the staff, so make sure that you can maintain composure and remain positive even under the most trying of circumstances. It is during times of chaos when your nursing staff will look for your guidance, so make sure that you are always in the right frame of mind to give it.