The role of a nurse manager

Written by sandy keefe
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A nurse manager, formerly called a head nurse, is responsible for the clinical and administrative functions of a particular nursing unit, such as a paediatric floor or an intensive care unit (ICU).


The nurse manager is responsible for the quality, cost-effectiveness and safety of patient care on his unit. In order to do this, he needs to recruit professional nurses, engage them in decision-making about their daily practice and monitor patient outcomes.


The primary function of a nurse manager is to ensure optimal patient outcomes on her unit. A good nurse manager wears many hats as an expert clinician, a mentor and support for her staff and a tireless advocate for patients and families.


A seasoned nurse manager has a strong foundation in clinical practice, excellent people skills, commendable negotiating abilities, sound fiscal strategies and a great sense of humour.


A nurse manager is considered part of middle management because he supervises direct care providers and reports to a nursing administrator.

A Voice

Whenever organizational decisions are being made that impact her nursing unit, the nurse manager is at the table to represent the best interests of her staff and patients.

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