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How to Become a Successful Nurse Manager

If you recently became a nurse manager, congratulations! Organizations often promote excellent nurses to this role. However, if you don’t have formal management training, you may feel apprehensive.

Don’t worry. You can do this. Here are five tips to help you succeed regardless of your experience.

Expect a Learning Curve

Before you jump into your leadership position, ask for a one- to two-week transition period. Use this time to watch, take notes and learn. Check out different shifts, find out how the unit functions and observe patients and staff in real time. Even if you have worked within this department before, you still need to gain an overall perspective.

Request Regular Feedback

As you make the changeover, plan to work closely with your supervisor or director. Start by setting up an official meeting and asking, “What exactly do you expect in the first 30 days?” Write these goals down and schedule a follow-up to review your progress and set new benchmarks. Repeat this process again at 60 and at 90 days. Especially early on, ongoing feedback will allow you to correct course more quickly versus waiting around for an annual performance review. Although some organizations already have these programs in place, in other cases, you will have to initiate feedback meetings on your own.

Find a Mentor

Connecting with someone who’s “been there, done that” can be extremely beneficial. The right mentor will provide guidance, insight and advice. If you can’t think of someone appropriate within your organization, reach out to other local hospitals and clinics.

Consider Additional Training

If your previous experience is primarily clinical, you may feel overwhelmed by some aspects of your job such as budgeting, patient safety and personnel decisions. Depending upon your interest, you can further your training in several ways. College degrees include a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) or a Master of Business Administration (MBA). If returning to school isn’t an option, you can take an exam to earn professional certifications like Certified in Executive Nursing Practice (CENP) and Certified Nurse Manager and Leader (CNML). Both certifications also require on-the-job experience.

Support Your Team

Finally, even though management positions are associated with privilege, perks and power, you have taken on a more significant role. You are a leader. Bestselling author and leadership coach, Christine Comaford, expresses this idea best, “Stepping up to be a leader isn’t about getting anything for yourself. It’s about service. The more influential you become, the more you are putting yourself at the service of your team.” Be there for the nurses who work under you. Clear roadblocks and support them so they can do their best work.

Are You Looking to Add Talented Nurses to Your Team?

Aventure’s Medical Division can assist you in meeting all your staffing needs. We place full-time, short-term and contract nurses throughout Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. Let us help you build a top nursing team today!

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