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Getting Your Career Started As A Nurse Manager

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Getting Your Career Started As A Nurse Manager

For many nurses, becoming a nurse manager is a logical next step. Nurse management is a position that can help you advance in your career and, of course, the increased pay doesn’t hurt either. We know it can seem overwhelming to get started down this new career path, so we have gathered some information and put together some quick tips for getting your career started as a nurse manager. 

We know you probably have a million questions, so let’s get to them!

First, let’s start with – What do nurse managers do? Here’s a look at some general daily responsibilities that nurse management encompasses.

  • Hiring and firing of employees
  • Department budget requisitioning
  • Supply ordering and management
  • Implementation of safety protocols
  • Scheduling 
  • General support for staff
  • Conflict resolution
  • Attend and contribute to meetings with higher administrative staff
  • Set and achieve goals for your department

How much do nurse managers make, exactly? That’s the question of the hour! The median salary is around $86,000. However, with time and experience, top salaries are around $117,000.

Getting Your Career Started As A Nurse Manager

So, how do you know when you’re ready to take this next big step in your career? It’s important that your step into nurse management is timed correctly, and that you feel prepared and ready to take on this higher-responsibility role. Here’s an idea of some indicators that you could be ready for the next big step in your nursing career:

  • You find yourself already doing management tasks
  • You have charge nurse experience
  • You have at least the minimum requirements and credentials of the position
  • You feel emotionally ready to confidently take on more responsibility
  • Your peers and current management have brought up your success and comment on your ability to do more
  • You enjoy taking charge and keeping things under control
  • The idea of leading a team sounds appealing

As with any career position, there are certain requirements and necessities needed for nurse management. So, what education and experience do you need? Here’s a look:

  • Minimum requirements for most nurse manager positions:
    • Bachelor’s of Nursing with an active RN license
    • At least 1-2 years bedside experience
  • Preferred requirements
    • Master’s of Nursing with a focus in Health Administration and/or Master’s of Business in Health Administration 
    • 3+ years of bedside experience in the specialty of the open position
    • Leadership experience or qualities
    • Additional certifications and/or seminars on leadership, advanced care, or management techniques
Getting Your Career Started As A Nurse Manager

So how do you increase your chances of getting promoted or hired into this position? We’ve got some tips below that could help!

  • Find a mentor to help guide you and be a mentor to others
  • Show leadership qualities. Offering to train others is a good place to start!
  • Open lines of communication with those above you. Ask to sit down with the hiring manager of the position to voice your goals
  • Put your ideas out there
  • Volunteer to take on projects
  • Ask for a charge nurse shift as an example of your ability

Most importantly: Apply for the open positions and put yourself out there when you’re ready!

Why do you want to become a nurse manager? Do you have a strategy on how to get there, or are you already in this position? We’d love to hear from you! Comment below!

Katelyn Johnson

Katelyn Johnson


Katelyn has a Master’s in Healthcare Administration and five years of clinical experience. She has made the shift to full-time freelance writing and enjoys covering topics on nursing careers, lifestyle, and community. Her goal is to help start a conversation and spread awareness around the many ups and downs of the healthcare field.


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