Four managerial roles you can pursue as a nurse


Nursing is essential for the normal functioning of a hospital. According to recent estimates, more than 3 million nurses are currently working in healthcare. Yet, even with such a significant number, healthcare is still in dire need of skilled nurses. The matter of nursing shortage may become a serious issue in the coming years when more baby boomers demand healthcare and older nurses leave their profession. Thus, healthcare requires nursing institutions to keep skilled nurses in the pipeline to fill the vacant positions when the time comes in a few years.

Today, nurses are needed not only for bedside care but also in managerial roles. A wide variety of nursing jobs are available in the management of a hospital that is ready to welcome new skilled nurses.

What do nurses do in managerial roles?

In managerial roles, nurses lead and manage teams of medical professionals to ensure their units meet the healthcare standards of the hospital and local governments. In addition, they educate the patients and their families, oversee the staffing and hiring needs of their department, and meet the budgeting needs of their units. Moreover, they also train and develop their teammates to ensure better patient outcomes, streamline their work and schedule and make sure nurses are available when needed. The managerial roles you can pursue as a nurse include the following:

  1. Nurse Administrators/Manager

You can work as a nurse administrator with an MSN degree underpinned by the nursing education and experience gained at the undergraduate level. Most nurses do not enroll in higher education programs to avoid classroom settings. But you can continue working and studying simultaneously by choosing a remote program such as an MSN Nursing Administration Program Online or any other nursing degree geared towards preparing future nursing managers. As a manager, you are liable for the efficiency of your department, ensuring that daily activities reflect the overall organizational goals. You will also fulfill the professional development needs of your staff, carry-out patient care planning, and ensure the availability of staff at different clinical areas in your department.

  1. Head Nurse

A head nurse is responsible for a combination of duties; they are accountable for patient care but adopt many administrative roles.  To become a head nurse, you need to have at least five years of prior working experience. A head nurse manages patient records, develops performance reports, and monitors inventory. Head nurses communicate with other managers in a hospital.

As you are in charge of the unit, you will be responsible for nurses working under you. You will be answerable for all the mistakes and mishaps under your watch. The main difference between a nurse manager and a head nurse is that the latter is involved in patient care while the former is dedicated to administrative roles only.

  1. Clinical Nurse Leader

The job of a clinical nurse leader is relatively new and meets evolving healthcare needs. The need arose to improve communication between the nurses and administrators. As a clinical nurse leader, your job is to provide a conducive environment for nurses to develop, dispense their responsibilities, and continue their education. The position of nurse leader fits between Nurse Managers and Clinical Nurses. They ensure that consistent standards of patient care are adhered to where all the patients and the staff are on the same page concerning patient treatment plans.

  1. Nurse educators

The job of nurse educators is to coordinate with the management and device educational and learning programs for the staff. It includes seminars, classroom-based lectures, professional training, and the like. Along with nurses, these educational initiatives also happen for the betterment of students and faculty in the educational institutions where these nurse educators work.

Becoming a nurse educator requires a blend of experience and educational qualifications, such as an MSN or a doctorate in nursing. After you have the mandatory skills and education, you can work in universities, nursing colleges, community healthcare centers, and a plethora of other work settings.

In the communities, nurse educators disseminate awareness about the spread and prevention of disease and infections and ways of keeping fit and living a healthy life. They educate people about the ways and benefits of self-care to elevate their health standards. The most interesting aspect of their job is that they can bring change in communities through their educational services by spreading awareness.

What qualities are essential to perform managerial roles in nursing?

You need the right qualification to become a nurse; certain skills also make you more eligible for management roles in nursing. These skills include leadership skills, technical skills, communication skills, and teamwork skills, to name a few.

You lead and inspire people to be a better version of themselves in managerial roles. A leader has to fulfill the organizational goals, which only happens with the help of their team members. A nurse leader delegates the responsibilities among nurses in their unit and motivates the team to adhere to them.

Technical skills are required to navigate complex healthcare systems, make performance reports, use and understand company databases, and report, organize and use medical information. Therefore technical skills are essential for nurses to succeed in the managerial roles of today’s healthcare.

Teamwork skills are needed because you often work in teams, steering them in the right direction, and maintaining patient care standards. The team members usually belong to diverse backgrounds and display different behavior. Therefore, your ability to navigate your way through this diversity, collaborate with teammates, get feedback and take remedial actions is the key to success in administrative roles. Moreover, teamwork skills also allow you to develop a positive work culture and foster healthy relationships.

Communication skills are essential in all careers regardless of the sector, but their importance increases exponentially in nursing. You are responsible for the life, health, and well-being of other people. Therefore, communication flaws can be fatal for your patients and jeopardize their lives. You must be skilled in written and verbal communication, effectively communicate changes in patient conditions, and make daily records.


We hope that the description of a few managerial roles and positions has made you consider this side of nursing. Today healthcare requires nursing managers, leaders, and educators as much as those entrusted with patient care needs. With the right qualification such as an MSN degree and leadership traits such as motivation, compassion, problem-solving ability, and decision making, you can change your direction and get into more meaningful managerial roles.

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