What Is A Nurse Manager And How Much Does It Pay?


If you have great leadership skills and you know what it takes to handle the nurses in your department or hospital, you may want to consider becoming a nurse manager. The role comes with a lot more responsibilities that are both challenging and rewarding.

To know more about what nurse managers are and how much they earn, here’s a handy guide you’ll find useful.

What Are Nurse Managers?

Nurse managers are responsible for directing, supervising, and leading the nurses of a medical facility or hospital. They also oversee patient care as well as some budget decisions in the institution.

Instead of providing direct patient care, administering medications, and checking vital signs, their focus is in coordinating meetings, creating work schedules, and coming up with personnel decisions.

As a nurse manager, you must be able to lead your nurses and inspire them to provide the best care possible to their patients. You should also be skilled in case management, treatment planning, staff management, discharge planning, and home health. Being an expert in areas such as informatics and finance can also help you create the best decision for everyone in your team.

To be successful, you should also possess good critical thinking skills and emotional intelligence. You must be able to assess a situation and analyze every factor to come up with the best strategy without losing agility or flexibility.

How to Become A Nurse Manager

Nurse managers have a long list of responsibilities. And to be successful in fulfilling those responsibilities, you need to make sure that you have the right requirements and skills for the job.

If you are thinking of becoming one, below is a step-by-step guide on how to become a nurse manager.

Earn your BSN degree

For you to become a nurse manager, you need to be a nurse. There are different educational paths you can take to qualify for the NCLEX and become a registered nurse.

After acquiring your license, your next step is to obtain relevant experience. It’s ideal that you obtain your experience in an acute care setting.

Now, the length of experience will vary. Some employers favor nurses who have at least 5 years of working experience for the position. There are employers who promote and hire directly from within their staff nurses.

The next step is actually optional but a lot of employers desire to have nurse managers who have a Master of Science in Nursing or Master’s in Healthcare or Business Administration.

As for certifications, there are two paths you can take.

Certified in Executive Nursing practice

This is an excellent choice for nurses who want to secure executive positions. To get this certification, you need to have:

  • An active nursing license
  • Master’s degree with 2 or more years of experience in an executive nursing role
  • Or a baccalaureate in nursing and 4 years of experience in an executive nursing role

Certified Nurse Manager and Leader

This is an option for nurse leaders who want to secure a nurse manager role. For this, you’ll need:

  • An active nursing license
  • An associate’s degree with 5 years of experience in nurse manager roles
  • Or a BSN degree with 2 or more years of experience in a nurse manager role
  • Or an associate’s degree with 5 years of experience in a nurse manager role

To obtain either of the two, you’ll need to pass the exam and pay the required fee.

Where to Work?

Nurse managers are generally hired to oversee and manage nursing units in hospitals. You can also work in ambulatory care centers, long-term care centers, nursing homes, and assisted living centers.

Once hired, your responsibilities may include:

  • Assisting patients and families
  • Overseeing day-to-day operations of the nursing units
  • Hire and evaluate nursing staff
  • Offer training for your nursing staff
  • Manage finances and perform budgeting

Below, you’ll find out more about what a nurse manager’s typical day at work is like:

How Much Can You Earn?

A nurse manager can earn as much as $85,680 per year. The rate can be higher or lower depending on your years of experience, certifications, and location.

Qualities of A Good Nurse Manager

If you want to be successful as a nurse manager, you should keep in mind that the job requires skills that are way beyond clinical care. There are also specific traits you should possess if you want to excel in your position.

Below are a few tips to help you out:

Maintain open communication

Not being able to communicate with your nurses can lead to low morale, nurse turnover, and medical errors. It can also cause high levels of stress at work and low satisfaction.

As a nurse manager, it’s important for you to get your staff’s feedback. Seek input from your staff nurses and ask what your superiors have to say. This way, you’ll be able to establish a better understanding of what your organization needs.

Be a mentor and find a mentor

A mentor is someone who provides guidance. Being a nurse manager, it’s your responsibility to impart your knowledge and personal experiences to your staff. You should also be able to provide guidance to any nurse in your unit who’s transitioning to become a nurse manager.

Learn proper time management

time management for nurses

Because you’ll have a long list of responsibilities, you should know how to prioritize your tasks. Having good time management skills will allow you to get your most important jobs done.

Own your mistakes

Being a nurse manager doesn’t mean that you won’t make mistakes or errors along the way. Every new leader is bound to make mistakes and you need to be responsible enough to take ownership of your mistakes.

It’s also important that you learn from them. Don’t feel embarrassed about committing a mistake. Instead, use it as an opportunity to do better at work.

Don’t stop learning

Learning shouldn’t stop for nurse managers. If you want to be truly successful, you need to take programs that will help you tackle that challenges that come with your job, such as having a better understanding of finance and business and in creating institutional policies concerning healthcare. You should consider advancing your career.