Responsibilities of a Nurse Supervisor

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a nurse supervisor. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

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Essential Information

Nurse supervisors take on many tasks. In addition to overseeing patients, they also direct a staff of nurses. They are in charge of hiring, scheduling and making sure their nursing unit is running smoothly. To become a nurse supervisor, candidates must complete a nursing program and pass an exam to obtain licensure.

Required Education Diploma, associate's degree or bachelor's degree in nursing
Other Requirements RN license
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022) 23% for all medical and health services managers*
Median Salary (2014)$84,633**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Salary.com

Nurse Supervisor Job Responsibilities

A nurse supervisor manages all of the registered nurses on their team. They may also interact with patients, but they are mainly in charge of making sure the entire operation is running smoothly and everything is up to code. If something goes wrong, the nurse supervisor is responsible for taking action. It is up to them to make sure their team is properly trained and that everything is running correctly.

A nurse supervisor's duties include scheduling hours and assigning nurses to particular patients. They must also evaluate their team to ensure they are giving the best care possible to their patients. Supervisors may be involved in hiring nursing staff.

Being a nurse supervisor can be a highly stressful and time-consuming job. Nurses are usually on-call 24 hours a day and deal with a plethora of issues. Nurse supervisors must be able to work efficiently and quickly under pressure and know how to keep their patients and staff calm and under control. They must also be able to deal with difficult situations, handling blood and other bodily fluids and comforting people in pain. Nurses are also capable communicators and often have to talk to family members and inform them about medical procedures and doctor's instructions.

Nurse supervisors may work their way into the position after years of experience, whether it's in a doctor's office or in a hospital. They have typically worked in various situations and know how to handle them accordingly.

Education and Career Requirements for Nurse Supervisors

Becoming a head nurse requires years of schooling and experience. All nurses must complete a nursing education program and pass licensure exams administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Successful completion of licensing exams demonstrates that an individual has acquired the skills and knowledge to become a registered nurse.

Some individuals may choose to earn a 4-year degree in a related field, such as kinesiology, before they enter a nursing education program. Others may initially pursue a bachelor's degree in nursing. Nurses must complete a clinical internship program and receive hours of on-the-job training before becoming a licensed nurse.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information for Nurse Supervisors

Nurse supervisors can be categorized as medical and health services managers. Figures from Salary.com indicate that nurse supervisors earned a median salary of $84,633 in December 2014. Employment prospects in this field are favorable, with a 23% increase in growth expected over the 2012-2022 decade, according to the BLS.

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