How To Become A Nursing Manager


Becoming a nurse and helping people who are in need of medical attention can be a very fulfilling job especially for those who are passionate about helping people. The great thing about the nursing profession is that you do not only get a rewarding job but you also get to have a well-paying job. Registered nurses also have great opportunities when it comes to career enhancements. After gaining more work experience and improving their skills, registered nurses have the chance to become nursing managers.

Nursing managers can be considered as higher nursing professionals basically because they handle registered nurses and do managerial tasks in various work settings. Because of their position, nursing managers also tend to earn higher income than regular registered nurses. Before we discuss the requirements and various ways to become a nurse manager, it is important to understand first what this profession is.

Nurse Manager: Job Description

In general, nursing managers can be considered as nursing specialists with supervisory or managerial roles. Nursing managers are the ones that supervise other registered nurses and non-nursing staffs in a specific department or health care facility. Here are some of the work duties of a nursing manager:

  • Nursing ManagementNursing manager may be in-charge of the human resource wherein they screen and hire applicants who want to work as nurses or staff in the hospital.
  • They manage the nurses and other staff personnel in the department or facility they are employed in.
  • Nursing managers create and coordinate work schedules for the nurses and staffs.
  • They also observe, track, and evaluate the performance of employees.
  • Nursing managers are also tasked to analyze reports to develop and improve health care programs and services.
  • Nursing managers assist in the budgeting of the specific department they are assigned to handle.
  • Make sure that operation is smooth and efficient everyday in the medical area they are assigned.

Getting Started In Becoming A Nurse Manager

Just like in most professions, the steps to become a nursing professional is to first gain the necessary education and training, obtain the license required to practice, earn experience and additional education for career enhancement, and obtain certification for your specialization if required.

  • Bachelor’s Degree In Nursing

To become a registered nurse, you must first complete a bachelor’s degree in nursing after completing your secondary education. There are now a lot of nursing programs available. There are 2-year degree programs, 3-year degree programs, and the most common and preferred path to a registered nursing profession – the 4-year bachelor’s degree program in nursing.

These 4-year nursing education programs include theories and basic principles of nursing which are usually discussed in the first half of the curriculum. In the remaining semesters, programs may already involve clinical training to expose students in the actual nursing work setting.

  • Licensure for registered nurses

After finishing your nursing degree program, the next step to become a nurse manager is to pass the licensure exam to become a fully registered nurse. The national licensure exam required for all aspiring registered nurses who want to work in the country is the NCLEX-RN or the National Council Licensure Examination for aspiring registered nurse.

Aside from the NCLEX-RN, registered nurses must also comply with the requirements from the specific state they are planning to be employed. Local license requirements may vary from state to state so inquire with the state’s nursing board to know the other requirements to work legally as a registered nurse in their state.

  • Obtaining work experience

Requirements for nursing manager positions may vary from employer to employer. Some employers may hire a registered nurse who has gained the necessary work experience. Gaining many years of work experience as a registered nurse is a great advantage if you are planning to apply for higher nursing positions. This is because gaining long work experience means you have honed your skills in direct patient care and in a real-life setting.

  • Earning higher education and additional training for faster promotion

Earning higher educationWhile some employers may only require years of work experience, some employers may require higher education such as a master’s degree or a doctorate degree in nursing. Gaining higher education gives you advantage from other candidates since you do not only gain experience but also higher education especially if you take courses in hospital administration or health care management.

These courses are perfect for those who are aspiring to qualify for nursing managerial or supervisory positions in the future since these courses teach nurses lessons on management and leadership. Other courses related to management and accounting are also good options.

The great thing about these graduate degree programs is that they are widely available in various education methods. There are distance education programs and curriculum for part-time studies so those who are already working can study part-time and still finish their graduate studies while staying employed to support their education.

  • Additional certification

There are some accredited and reputable nursing organizations providing certification for nursing managers and executive. Certifications are voluntary but gaining one will provide you advantage in terms of employment opportunities later on. The AONE or the American Organization of Nurse Executives provides two certifications such as the CENP or the Certification in Executive Nursing Practice and the CNML or the Certified Nurse Manager and Leader.

Getting Employed As A Nurse Manager

There may be nurse manager positions open in the company you are already working for. Inquire first if there are open positions and ask for the qualifications and work on those qualifications. Your company may even offer their own study-work program for qualified employees. This means that they will allow you to study and even cover some of your education expenses while still working for the company as long as you also work for the company for a specific period once you completed your graduate studies.

If there are no nursing managerial positions open in your current company, you can also find other nursing manager job in other health care facilities or companies. Apply and get more job interviews so if you pass for the positions in more than one company, you have the chance to choose the job that will best suit your preference and needs. 

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