If you’re a registered nurse (RN) with the desire to step into a leadership role, you might consider becoming a clinical nurse manager. Clinical nurse managers supervise the activities of care teams in hospitals, long-term care facilities, physicians’ offices and other clinical healthcare settings. They are responsible for ensuring that quality care is coordinated and delivered to patients, through careful management of staff and other resources.
Clinical nurse managers supervise caregiving staff working at several levels, from certified nursing assistants to RNs. They may be generalists who oversee care of a variety of patients, or specialists who lead teams in a particular discipline, such as obstetrics, pediatrics or neurology.
Clinical nurse managers are also tasked with administering financial operations, including planning budgets, supervising accounting, and coordinating financial reporting. In addition, they typically direct personnel recruitment, hiring, training and evaluations.
Day-to-day job duties for clinical nurse managers may include:
At the heart of each of these tasks is a clinical nurse manager’s primary responsibility: providing leadership and guidance that produces quality patient care.
The knowledge and skills required as a clinical nurse manager can be obtained through experience and education. Requirements can vary, but most employers seek candidates with proven clinical skills, along with an understanding of management and organizational processes and healthcare policy. For RNs aspiring to clinical nurse manager careers, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program is one ideal step, because it includes coursework in healthcare leadership and management, nursing and health policy, and other advanced topics.
A typical career track might be moving from RN to charge nurse, assistant manager and then clinical nurse manager. With the right education, additional advancement is possible. Qualifying for positions such as director of nursing or chief nursing officer typically takes a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree.
Clinical nurse managers focus on excellent patient care and service delivery, using a wide variety of management skills, from financial planning to personnel development. They need to be excellent communicators, independent thinkers and good decision makers. They are also well-versed in managing, training and mentoring others.
Clinical nurse manager salaries are comparable with other nursing specialties, with an average salary of $94,500 reported in May 2015 by O*NET Online, a partner with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Salaries may vary depending on several factors, including work experience, education, location and employer. Because salary potential may fluctuate, prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research to determine actual earning potential.
According to the BLS, employment of medical and health services managers is projected to grow 14% through 2024, a rate significantly higher than the national average for all other job occupations. Job opportunities are expected to be influenced by the demand for health care services, which is expected to increase as the population ages and people remain more active later in life.
With the right combination of nursing experience and advanced education, it is possible to embark on the path to a rewarding clinical nurse manager career. If you’re an RN who is thinking about expanding your career opportunities into health care leadership, this could be a great fit for you.