Whether you are fresh out of school or a seasoned veteran nurse, you may have thought of becoming a nurse manager at some point in your career. Chances are, you chose to nurse because you are a compassionate, giving individual who wants to help others. After a few years of working in the field, it is not unrealistic for you to consider becoming a nurse manager in the near future. Contrary to popular belief, nurse managers usually are not required to hold a Master’s of Science in Nursing although most nurse management positions require at least a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. This said, on average employers request no more than three years of experience nursing in order to be considered a qualified applicant. So, with relatively low barriers to entry (after becoming a certified RN, of course), what are some of the pros and cons of becoming a nurse manager?
Pros of Becoming a Nurse Manager
1. Higher Salary
It is no secret that nurse managers typically earn more each year than the average staff nurse. The national average salary for nurse managers is $68,438 compared to $51,460 for other RNs. Obviously, these numbers vary by geography, experience, and education, but they do offer a fairly good representation of the distinctions between salary levels. It is not uncommon for nurses to see their salary increase by as much as $20,000 per year when stepping into a management role.
2. Flexible Hours
When you’re the boss making the schedule, you also get to make your own schedule. While you will, of course, be expected to work full time, you will largely be able to choose when that is. Nurse managers frequently work the majority of their day within usual business hours as that is when most other offices are open as well, but if you prefer to come in at 6:00 AM to get an early start on the day, chances are you will be able to do just that. Whether you enjoy night shifts or not, you’ll be able to find the times that work for best you.
3. Opportunity for Growth
Nursing is rarely seen as a “climb the ladder” career path. That said, nurse managers often find themselves promoted into more senior administrative positions after years of experience. As a nurse manager, you will be exposed to several different branches of your hospital and will, therefore, have ample opportunity to impress. The best nurse managers frequently turn the heads of their supervisors and that can lead to yet another desirable promotion.
4. Key Role in Unit Success
Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of becoming a nurse manager is that your team’s success will hinge upon your effectiveness. There is a reason that this position was traditionally referred to as the “head nurse” until recently. The nurse manager is at the heart of the action. You will oversee the quality of care your that nurses provide, communicate necessary information, and generally steer the ship. Without you, who knows what would happen with your team!
Cons of Becoming a Nurse Manager
1. Less Direct Patient Care
As you enter the world of management, your experience will undoubtedly be plagued by a few less than desirable factors. For nurse managers, this often comes in the form of seeing your day to day patient care responsibilities diminished. Many nurses choose this career path because they want that direct interaction with patients who need their help. While you will still have a profound impact on the quality of life of many patients, your role will be further on the periphery than you are likely accustomed to.
2. Administrative Responsibilities
Closely related to your decreased responsibility for patient care, you will certainly find yourself filling out more paperwork than before. Most nurse managers are also responsible for administrative tasks such as budgeting, scheduling, and recruiting/hiring. While this presents a great opportunity to work on your organizational skills, it may not be exactly what you pictured you would be doing when earning your nursing degree.
3. Work Follows You Home
Unlike the rest of the nurses on staff, your work problems do not remain at work when you clock out. With such a great deal of responsibility, you will surely find yourself working on schedules, reviewing budgets, or reading resumes late at night every now and then. This isn’t to say that you will have no time to yourself, but you will not have someone else to pick up where you left off after your shift ends.
4. Conflict Resolution
Nobody likes dealing with conflict, yet in the high-intensity environments that surround the nursing profession, it is likely that conflict will arise every now and then. It will be your responsibility as a nurse manager to find a resolution that works for all parties and, of course, ensures that your staff is providing the highest quality patient care.
Becoming a nurse manager is not for everyone, but if you are considering making this next step in your nursing career then there is a good chance that it may be for you. Nurse managers must be highly organized, empathetic, knowledgeable, and strong communicators. While every employer is looking for and can offer something slightly different to candidates if you fit this description and are still interested in nurse management we highly encourage you to check out some of these job listings for travel nurse manager jobs around the country!