Moving from Nurse to Nurse Manager

Any registered nurse (RN) with seniority has been in charge of a shift at some point. Making sure procedures are followed, the quality of care is excellent, and paperwork gets done is a hassle to some RNs, while others enjoy the responsibility. Being in charge of some shifts lets most nurses know if they would like the challenge of a nursing manager position, or if they prefer to stick to nursing duties only. For those who are considering making the move from RN to RN manager, there are a few things that may expedite the move.

Taking a management course would definitely be beneficial, and it would increase chances of getting offered a management position. Experience as shift charge is a start, but most facilities prefer actual management experience in a supervisory capacity, rather than a shift here and there. One way to gain experience, and to see what the position actually entails, is to accept a temporary, interim, or contracted position.

The demand is highest in long term care facilities. Registering with an agency that focuses on health-care staffing can provide several opportunities to gain experience. The pay and benefits packages are excellent, and interim positions count as actual experience. That may help candidates get offers for full time positions as managers.

A contract or interim position also helps RNs determine if a management position is what they really want. Added responsibilities include staffing challenges, decision making on a higher level, and advocating for skilled staff as well as patients. The job requires excellent communication and time management skills, more paperwork, working with a new peer group, and not having as much time to spend with patients.

Some RNs miss the patient interaction and decide that a management position is not suitable for them. Others welcome the change, enjoy having a larger role in improving quality of care, and prefer the hours. If the possibility of moving from being a nurse to a manager has ever crossed your mind, speak to a current nurse manager, research minimum qualifications for the position, and make an appointment with a staffing agency to learn about contract and interim vacancies.