Nursing Unit Manager Job Description


A nursing unit manager is a registered nurse (RN) who oversees and directs the activities of nurses in a specific unit of a hospital or medical facility. This includes directing the services provided by nurses to patients in a unit such as critical care, obstetrics, pediatrics or surgery to name a few. This occupation is also referred to as a clinical manager or unit manager.


  • Minimum educational requirements for this occupation is a bachelor's degree in nursing. Employment opportunities may increase for those who obtain a master's degree in nursing, with specialization as a clinical nurse specialist in a specific area of nursing. Employers also require a current state-administered nursing license.


  • Most employers require at least three years of nursing experience in a specific clinical specialty, as well as previous supervisory experience. This occupation also requires demonstrated knowledge and skills related to medical, operational, systems and human resources management to successfully maintain excellent nursing care for the unit.

Clinical Responsibilities

  • Working in a clinical unit of a hospital or medical facility, these professionals direct the nursing staff regarding appropriate clinical practices to ensure quality care to patients. This includes mentoring and educating nurses, working with physicians and other medical professionals, and serving as a resource to all staff within the unit regarding the quality of services provided by the nursing staff. These professionals may also provide hands-on care to patients along with the unit nurses to ensure quality care and to maintain current clinical skills.

Management Responsibilities

  • A nursing unit manager develops and maintains the nursing operational budget. This includes purchasing supplies and equipment for the nursing team as needed. Ensuring state and federal regulatory compliance of the department is also required, and this involves working with other managers to maintain overall compliance of the hospital or medical facility. These professionals also hire, train, schedule and mentor nurses in the unit.

Average Salary

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects 16 percent growth of medical and health service manager occupations between 2008 and 2018. Growth is expected due to continuing diversity in health care services, and the need for managers to ensure successful business operations. Salaries range for these occupations depending on the clinical unit type and experience of the unit manager. In March 2010, lists an average national salary of $100,290 per year for nursing unit managers.

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