How Do I Get into Nursing Management?

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  • Written By: Judith Smith Sullivan
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 28 November 2019
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As positions which require leadership and seniority, nursing management jobs are typically held by individuals with a great deal of experience. In order to become a nurse manager, you typically need many years of experience as well as a college degree. In many cases, medical offices and institutions want nurse managers to have a graduate degree.

Experience and education alone do not make an individual qualified to be in nursing management. The individual must also have the personality and emotional stamina to manage subordinates. In many cases, emergency situations will arise which require quick thinking and immediate decisions. The nurse manager is often in charge of these decisions, so he or she must be able to act with conviction.

A nurse supervisor must also be able to work well with others as someone in a position of authority. The supervisor is typically responsible for human resources, including interviewing, hiring, training, and termination. Scheduling and delegating tasks is another major part of the job, as well as budgeting resources and monies. The nurse supervisor is usually accountable to a higher authority in the department.


At the very minimum, a nursing supervisor is required to have an associate's, or two-year degree, in nursing, including a registered nurse (RN) license from the government. In addition, he or she usually must have three years experience as a nurse with some degree of supervisory work. More commonly, a nurse supervisor has a bachelor's or master's degree and five to ten years of experience as a nurse with supervisory duties.

In nursing management, you will probably have to complete all the major duties of a nurse while on the job. There are many instances in which you will have to fill in for someone else, train a new employee, or provide hands-on care for patients. You should not enter nursing management until you have enough experience to be comfortable in all nursing situations.

If you have the educational requirements, experience, and the personality for the job, you can apply for nursing management positions. You can find jobs listed through career websites, professional organizations, or local newspapers. Most institutions require an application listing past employment and a resume which includes your contact information, education, and experience. In many cases, three to five references from your supervisors and colleagues are also required.

You may apply for several jobs before you are interviewed for a position. In order to do your best, practice answering common interview questions in front of the mirror. If you are unsure, ask your current work supervisor what might be included as part of the interview or research nurse management interviews online or at your local library. Remember to wear professional attire and practice appropriate grooming for your interview.

Do not be discouraged if you are turned down for several jobs, but keep applying. If you do not receive any calls for interviews after ten or 12 applications, review your resume, application, experience, and education. You may find that you actually need a few more years of experience, or perhaps an additional degree to become a competitive applicant.


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