Nurse managers typically wear many hats. They are responsible for patient care, employee satisfaction, staff morale, and departmental policy compliance. Perhaps more than anything else, they are the voice of change.
A nurse manager needs to promote the quality and safety of care in their facilities while increasing the number of patients seen by nurses on a given shift.
This is often done through communication with the staff and by using tools like Lean principles, performance improvement projects, and data dashboards that show daily metrics related to patient outcomes and nursing satisfaction scores.
Learning to Lead as a Nurse Manager
It is important for the nurse manager to embrace their role as a leader. In the hospital setting, most people start their nursing careers as staff nurses.
From there, it is a natural progression of leadership roles that can lead to positions like charge nurse, supervisor, and ultimately nurse manager.
Being a Role Model as a Nurse Manager
Leading by example is one of the best skills that any nurse manager can have.
When staff members see their managers making sacrifices as well as exhibiting qualities like compassion and patience, it makes an impact on how they do their jobs every day.
Furthermore, when it comes to patient care, it is the nurse manager that has to set the example of the standards of their department.
If they do not communicate these standards, then they cannot expect their staff to follow them. This makes it nearly impossible for the nurse manager to be a true leader.
How to Best Manage & Lead Your Nursing Team
The more that nurse managers can genuinely care about each of their staff members as human beings, the more likely it will be for them to put forth their best work when it matters most.
During difficult times such as layoffs or policy changes, staff members need to know that they can depend on their manager.
They should not feel like they are being attacked, and they should not be afraid of receiving repercussions if they express their concerns or opinions.
Instead, managers should strive to create an open environment where effective communication is the norm.
Handle Conflicts Swiftly
It is also important that nurse managers use some basic strategies and practices in order to handle conflict resolution and avoid unnecessary confrontations with employees.
No one likes working in a conflict-ridden environment, especially when it is such a high-pressured job like nursing.
Encourage Further Education
As a nurse manager, you should encourage your team to further their education.
This might mean encouraging short CPD courses or off-the-job training or even helping your team grow their skills by taking online accelerated bsn programs and online MSN programs.
The more skill you have in your workforce, the better.
Set Clear Expectations
It is important that nurse managers have clear expectations for their staff members. This includes their duties, performance standards, and even their pay ranges.
By setting clear expectations, you can make sure that your staff will be ready to roll up their sleeves and start doing their jobs.
It is good to be flexible with the way you do things, but this does not mean that you need to bend over backward for every individual member of your team.
If you find yourself not being able to accomplish something, it might be necessary for you to let go of that task temporarily or to hold off on it until another time.
Focus on Safety
Another key aspect of being a good nurse manager is to ensure that your staff members understand all of the rules and policies that are in place in their department.
Rules and policies are usually in place to keep both staff and patients safe while at work, so while they are not a must in every situation, they are definitely necessary, and you should make sure that your staff knows their place.
Prioritize Your Priorities
Every nurse manager has to balance the need to provide excellent care with day-to-day work duties, so it is important for them to prioritize their tasks and responsibilities at the end of each day in order to get the most important things done first.
This will keep them from being overwhelmed with a sea of tasks when they come to work each morning. They may also discover more efficient ways of doing things that will give them more time for other things throughout the week.
Manage Health Issues in the Workplace
All high-stress jobs require some form of health and safety plan to keep the workplace as safe as possible. Every nurse manager should be familiar with their department’s policies and follow them at all times.
This includes regularly scheduled and routine health screenings, as well as safety training for employees, such as CPR and first aid.
Provide Training Throughout the Year
You should also make sure you provide your staff with annual training throughout the year – even if it is just a refresher class on a particular procedure or policy change that has taken place in the past year.
Your staff will appreciate the time and attention you are giving them, especially during busy times like holidays or staff meetings.
Healthcare is a big industry, and there are a lot of things to consider, but with a great staff, good communication skills, and a firm commitment to your nursing team, you can achieve just about anything.
As a nurse manager, your role is not to be perfect; rather, it is to provide a safe, caring environment that allows your staff members the opportunity to perform at their best.
Just remember that the key to being a great nurse manager is communication and using new tactics to create a positive environment for your team and patients.
As a passionate nurse manager, it is important for you to find a way to support your nursing team and encourage their professional development. If you give your team the time and space to shine, they will be eager to work hard and work together to achieve the goals that have been set for the department.