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Top five must-have traits for every nurse manager


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Nope, I’ve never been a nurse manager.

I have had previous experiences as a manager in another profession, but we all know the world of nursing is unique in so many ways.

From the perspective of a staff nurse, I’d choose that all managers should possess the following:


I was born and bred with some military background, so I’ve learned that the best followers make the greatest leaders. A good manager needs to have experience under his/her belt. How else will he or she know, understand, and appreciate the challenges that the staff encounters?


Being cool under pressure, no matter what that pressure may be. We work in a world of nothing but high stress. A patient’s condition can change at the drop of a hat, so a manager needs to be at his or her best when things are at their worst.


Playing favorites is probably my biggest pet peeve. Level the playing field and hold all staff members accountable to the same standards regardless of experience, history or status. Treating others with favor quickly breaks down team dynamics and only creates additional problems.

An island

Be my manager, not my friend. I’ve got friends. Not to say a manager should not be friendly and approachable, but blurring the line between responsibility and camaraderie makes decision making challenging when staff members don’t get what they want.

Sense of humor

Health care alone is stressful, let alone being a nurse trying to keep your head above water! Humor is one of the many ways we cope with the stressful demands of our job. Having fun will at the very least boost morale, and that in itself is a big incentive.

In the end, my manager should be equally loved and hated. Yes, you read that right. If my manager is everyone’s friend, then he or she isn’t doing the job. If the manager is everyone’s enemy, then he or she and (more than likely) the staff are not doing their jobs! My hat goes off to all the nurse managers out there–I for one could not do that job.

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