We all can be nurse leaders. This is true no matter what our level of educational preparation. After all, leadership is a quality that is present in the context of relationships. It is not formally granted by any authority. It is achieved by more informal means through an individual’s interpersonal skills, earning respect from others, and ability to motivate others.
Possessing the title of nurse manager is quite different. It is typically a formal job title conferred by others in facility administration. Unfortunately, not all managers have good leadership skills. When this occurs, conflict and difficulty in the workplace can result.
Nursing management is sometimes a role that is thrust upon a nurse because nobody else wants the job. More often than in the past, however, nurses are choosing to pursue management and nursing administration positions as a career option. Responsibilities include understanding the workings of an organization, supervision of other staff, and budgeting.
That’s why entire college courses focus on concepts of effective management and administrative skills. Nursing Administration is offered as an option for specialization in some MSN programs. Certification exams in this area are also provided by national nursing organizations.
Required courses in a program for an MSN in Nursing Administration typically include instruction in financial management, conflict management, health policy, staffing issues, communicating effectively, and cultivating a leadership relationship with other staff. With these topics, the entire MSN program can contain an average of thirty to thirty-five graduate credit hours.
Is a Postgraduate Degree Necessary?
However, not all good nurse managers are MSN prepared. In some instances, the BSN-level nurse is in this important role. There is no reason to fear, however, as most BSN educational programs include a leadership course at the end of the program. These provide some of the information listed above in an abbreviated version.
Most of us chose nursing as a profession so that we could interact with and provide care to our patients. Some feel that anything other than patient care isn’t true nursing.
The fact is that being a nurse can mean many things. Those in management or administration are providing an important service to those who need our assistance. It is often said that nurses are the strength of a facility. Decisions about resources, staffing and how staff nurses can best do their job in general, should be made by other nurses.
A good nurse manager or administrator will be familiar with the workings of the unit in the facility. He or she is visible to the staff, asking questions, and communicates well with staff nurses. This helps foster good decisions by the healthcare facility’s management or administration. It creates respect between that level and other employees.
As you can see, management isn’t for everyone, just as working in ICU, ER, Med-Surg, etc. isn’t for everyone. It is a specialty like the others and requires special skills and knowledge for the nurse to be effective. Just as with other careers in nursing, it can be both challenging and rewarding. These may be different than what we experience with patient care, but can potentially impact it as much as the work of nurses at the bedside.
Do you have some advice for those thinking of entering a nurse management position? Please leave a comment below sharing your thoughts and experiences.