A nurse manager is someone who has been designated a recognized leadership position and is taking a very hard role. With advanced clinical expertise, nurse managers are expected to be an authority figure that is able to relate well with people, is a strategic planner, knows how to analyze financial data and information, is able to take risks and make prompt intelligent decisions. The nurse manager must also be an open-minded leader who is able to think out of the box
With the current changes in the health care industry, the nurse manager of the 21st century must know how to welcome change and accept new ideas from others. The various roles that the nurse manager must function and be responsible for are operations manager, quality specialist, clinical expert, finance and budget analyst, strategic planner, and human resource management. Nurse managers deal with budgeting, scheduling and staffing, nursing audit, staff management, proper implementation of rules and policies, quality management, and various leadership strategies.
Some of the leadership functions of the nurse manager include but are not limited to influencing, teaching, mentoring, encouraging, coaching, counseling, role modelling and motivating. Being a leader means setting the tone for the workplace environment and influencing others to follow and be one with the vision and mission of the organization. It is the leader who embodies certain principles and usually has the character to stand by what is in his/her mind. When others learn to follow, then there is leadership. The nurse manager, being assigned to a certain position must use leadership techniques in order for her staff to be influenced by her. This needs to be done properly and fairly as well
Managerial roles of the nurse come in when she/he receives a certain position either by election, promotion, or through designation from a higher authority in the organization. Other competencies must be staffing management, performance evaluation, working with the team, delegation, conflict resolution, management of change and structure, and use of critical thinking when problem solving and making important decisions.
Who can possibly take these roles? Nurses who are clinical experts do not always make good managers. If these nurses are given management positions and are not provided with adequate organizational support, then they become immediately vulnerable. Those who are potential leaders and will most likely be a nurse manager in the future must develop their advanced leadership skills so that they can prepare for a future management role. They must be advised to enroll in a post graduate diploma in health management or nursing administration. The masters program may include studies on statistics, research, human resources, accounting, operations management, health management, advanced practice nursing, health organization, quality in health care and health economics. This is in accordance with new models for healthcare leadership development that emphasize lifelong learning.
The leadership competencies that nurse managers must have in them or develop are emotional self management, relationship management, graduate education, management training and formal mentoring. These competencies are probably covered in masters and doctorate education and must be supported with an organizational training programme.
Before the nurses of this current century would decide to take up management positions, role preparation for nurse leadership must begin with planning and postgraduate nursing administration education. The future nurse leaders and managers must be ready to get involved with organizational management trainings, seminars, workshops and other continuing education activities that will support their leadership development.
So are you ready to move up from an ordinary staff nurse to middle manager and eventually to the role of a nurse executive, vice president or chief executive officer? Then know your options and develop your leadership potentials because accepting the nurse manager roles takes an exceptional administrative power in this ever changing health care system in the contemporary 21st century. Remember that with exceptional power comes extraordinary responsibility.