Nurse Manager

Nurse managers not only oversee nurses, but the whole unit. What the manager oversees depends on the specific unit where they work. Nurse managers can be assigned to any hospital unit, including orthopedics, cardiac, ICU, emergency, the operating room, and many others. They can work in long term care facilities (LTC), outpatient clinics, rehabilitation, and homecare. Wherever there are nurses and nursing care is provided, a nurse manager is needed.

What does a nurse manager do?

A nurse manager has her or his own office. Depending on the facility and its size, they will be assigned a unit or a group of people they will oversee. They will answer staff’s questions and may even do the scheduling. They will run meetings and make sure that everyone has the required skills for performing their jobs. They may be under a Director of Nursing (DON) and be responsible to the DON. Not only are they on the phone and in meetings, but will also walk the floor and talk with staff. Most managers work full-time and receive a salary rather than hourly pay.


Nurse managers are commonly nurses who have worked as a nurse for several years. They are RNs with either a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in nursing. Having hands-on bedside nursing experience in the area they will be managing is a big plus. Excellent business and management skills are required.

Job Description

Responsibilities include being responsible for the function of the entire unit, or small rural facility. They collaborate with the entire team including nurses, physicians, therapy, nurses’ aides, and other disciplines that are under their care. They ensure everything operates efficiently, and this includes performing reviews as well as hiring and firing staff. They make sure educational opportunities and in-services are available to staff and that the unit follows federal, state, and local codes.

Small rural facilities may have only one nurse manager, and large teaching hospitals will have many. Each is responsible for a specific unit or area. If a unit is performing sub-par, unsafe, and not meeting standards, the nurse manager may be replaced. Assistant nurse managers are common in large facilities.


Nurse managers can earn an annual salary between $45,000 to $119,000. Managers in a family practice will be at the low end, while managers in large hospitals will be at the high end.

Job Outlook<

Job prospects for nurse managers are good. Employment in this area is expected to grow very strongly through 2016. It can be difficult to obtain a nurse management position as the vacancy level can be low.

Similar Types of Nurses

Large hospitals and facilities will have a tier of nurse managers. This can range from the charge nurse with responsibilities for her shift, up to the DON who will oversee all the departments. Managerial names and positions can vary per facility. For example there can be a clinical supervisor, director of clinical services, or a clinical care coordinator. Each facility has an algorithm that shows who answers whom.