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Purpose and Mission
Nurse managers are experienced professionals who supervise the nursing care on a ward or unit in a hospital, nursing home, or other healthcare facilities. Their primary responsibility is to supervise nursing staff to make sure that nurses are providing safe and effective care to patients. Nurse managers, sometimes called head nurses or charge nurses, are also responsible for monitoring the continuous professional education and development of nurses to meet regulatory or other standards.
In general, nurse managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations of a hospital ward, including adequate staffing and sufficient stocking of medical supplies (medications, supplies and equipment).
Nurse managers are typically employed at large hospitals or clinics, universities, or state or local government agencies. As a supervisory employee, a ward nursing manager at a public or private healthcare facility is likely to report to the head of nursing or even the chief of medical services.
As their title suggests, nurse managers are usually responsible for supervising several nurses, in most cases including training and evaluating the nurses. The degree of supervisory responsibility varies by facility and job description, but almost always includes scheduling and direct daily supervision of staff nurses.
Nurse managers are almost always registered nurses (with at least a bachelor’s degree) or in some cases even nurse practitioners or other advanced practice nurses. Most employers prefer head nurse candidates to have at least five years of nursing experience.
Note that all RNs, including nurse managers, must have a current Nursing Registration with the AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioners Agency) in order to work directly with patients.
Responsibilities of a Nurse Manager
A nurse manager is typically responsible for a unit / department of a hospital, nursing home or community health care facility, and supervises nursing staff to provide safe, cost effective nursing care. A head nurse is also typically responsible for managing the quality, clinical standards and professional development of nurses under her supervision.
The primary responsibilities of nurse managers include: