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What Does a Nursing Supervisor Do?

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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 01 October 2014
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A nursing supervisor monitors, controls and organizes employees and procedures at a hospital, a clinic or other health care setting. A nursing supervisor job description typically includes duties that assure that the facility she or he supervises is adhering to all of the policies, guidelines and protocols necessary to meet the organization’s quality assurance standards. Such expectations include the hiring, evaluating and, when necessary, the promotion and firing of key staff.

A nurse supervisor is also expected to be particularly adept at record keeping and the continuous monitoring of the work site, relevant paperwork and all personnel under her or his management. Most supervisors are also responsible for drafting and maintaining strict budgets to make sure the facility’s supply inventory is always well-equipped while spending reasonable amounts for supplies and necessary operating equipment. All of these responsibilities are expected of a supervisor while, at the same time, she or he must also routinely oversee patient care.

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While a nursing supervisor may not perform hands-on nursing care for patients, supervisors are ultimately responsible for making sure patients are receiving the best care possible from nurses, aides and other staff members under the nursing supervisor’s management. In this capacity, nursing supervisors must regularly meet with staff members and, occasionally, also meet with patients and their families to address concerns, as well as avoid and resolve conflicts. It is also up to the nursing supervisor to communicate the institution’s policies to all staff members and assure that they understand what is expected of them, and that everyone is adhering to all policies and regulations.

As well as being able to effectively manage all aspects of the organization's operation, a nursing supervisor is also relied upon to assist the facility with public relations matters. In doing so, she or he may be called upon to represent the health care facility at community meetings or in other public settings. It is therefore important for nursing supervisors to be strong communicators who get along well with others.

As a skilled professional, a supervisor is expected to be trained and experienced in most of these duties prior to applying for a supervisory position. A nursing supervisor may receive an average annual salary of $55,000 US Dollars (USD) with some more experienced and specialized nursing supervisor salaries being closer to $100,000 USD per year. Salaries vary according to job specifications and the job’s location.

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