Do nurse managers get a break?

Being a nurse manager is a tough job. You must simultaneously handle staffing issues, budgetary demands and JCAHO requirements. Without support, it’s easy for a nurse manager to feel overworked and overwhelmed. And working too hard or too long isn’t good for anyone. Nurse managers, like everyone else, need regular breaks for rest and relaxation.

But how to take time off when you’re the boss? Rebecca Hendren of HealthLeaders Media says that it’s essential for nurse managers to learn the art of delegation. Instead of worrying about what won’t get done when you’re gone, delegate some crucial responsibilities to your staff members. Staff can help with scheduling, patient safety initiatives and budgeting — and their input may bring important insights to the process.

Start delegating, though, far in advance of your vacation. Assess your staff’s talents and capabilities, and never delegate work that exceeds their scope of practice. Begin small. Offer advice as needed, but resist the urge to take over. Taking the time to nurture your staff encourages their professional development — and just might make it easier for you to take some time off.


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Jennifer Fink, RN, BSN

Jennifer is a professional freelance writer with over eight years experience as a hospital nurse. She has clinical experience in adult health, including med-surg, geriatrics and transplant; she also has a particular interest in women’s health and cancer care. Jennifer has written a variety of health and parenting articles for national publications.

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One Response to Do nurse managers get a break?

  1. Danielle

    jennifer, i am a nurse manager and have been for over 20 years now and I have to say that you are right on the monies when it comes to delegating. There are still time when i feel overwhelmed but I have learned that no one is indispensable and that if you do not take care of yourself no one else will. Thank you for the article. Not too many wruters think of us in the way you did and unfortunatly upper administration does not see much of how we do everything so long as it is done.