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Demographics.

Nursing is a call to leadership

By its very nature, the professional nurse role is one of leadership. Across the healthcare continuum, regardless of our role or practice setting, we are looked to as leaders. As nursing students, we are taught we will lead colleagues from other ancillary groups, oversee care teams and be accountable for patient care outcomes. Some nurses spend years leading in an informal leadership capacity, while others take on formal management and leadership roles. However, all management and leadership roles are not the same, and although the titles often are used interchangeably, they are not synonymous.

The nurse manager role up close

Whether managing a unit, division or service line, at its core the nurse manager role is to ensure everything functions like a well-oiled machine. The nurse manager is involved in myriad daily tasks and details related to patient care planning, quality improvement, goal setting and budgeting. But that’s not all. Nurse managers also oversee staff schedules and assignments, performance, professional growth and the ongoing provision of educational and career enhancement opportunities. The manager is responsible for ensuring the staff carries out all assignments and is held accountable if they’re not.

And staff members — nurses, CNAs, techs, etc. — have certain expectations for their nurse managers. They look to their managers for clear communication, direction and support in fulfilling their roles and responsibilities. They also want their managers to be available, open and honest. Nurse managers are their source for information, advice and guidance, but they also want — and deserve — encouragement, clear expectations and directions, and some teaching and coaching. Most of all, they want to be included in decision-making, recognized for their contributions and considered important to the team.