What Are the Functions of a Nurse Manager?


A nurse manager---formerly known as a head nurse---is the registered nurse (RN) responsible for the 24/7 business and clinical operations of a particular nursing unit, such as an intensive care unit or an outpatient surgery center.


  • The National Student Nurses' Association (NSNA) says a nurse manager has a role analogous to that of a chief executive officer of a small company. She has to balance available resources with the needs of patients and staff to ensure the best possible outcomes.


  • According to NSNA, the nurse manager's job functions fall within five areas: personnel, quality, service, business growth and financial solvency.


  • An effective nurse manager is flexible, consistent and approachable. He encourages shared decision-making, ensuring that staff nurses have a voice in decisions that impact their daily practice.


  • A nurse manager is a middle manager within a hospital or other health care organization. She supervises direct care clinicians, reports to a nursing director, and is a colleague with other health care managers who oversee areas such as radiology and pharmacy.


  • A nurse manager works collaboratively with other managers to develop processes and procedures that ensure patient care reflects the organization's mission and values.

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  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Logan Ingalls
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