After registered nurses have gained experience in direct patient care, they may be ready to move into a leadership position. But RNs with only an associate degree may face roadblocks as employers typically require nurses to have at least a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) for management jobs.
What Is a Nurse Manager?
Nurse managers oversee, guide and lead nursing staff to ensure that they provide quality care to patients. In addition, nurse managers communicate with both staff and upper management to convey and promote organizational goals. They also may supervise other healthcare personnel such as:
- Ancillary staff – diagnostic, therapeutic, custodial
- Assistive personnel – nurse aides, orderlies, assistants, attendants or technicians
- Office staff
- Social workers
What Are the Responsibilities of a Nurse Manager?
A nurse manager oversees, monitors and maintains the operation of a unit within a medical facility. Responsibilities may include:
- Acting as a liaison between nursing staff and interdisciplinary team members
- Evaluating performance of nurses
- Encouraging professional development
- Handling or preventing disruptive or volatile situations
- Monitoring the daily operations of a unit
- Maintaining the unit budget and submitting financial reports
- Planning and organizing the delivery of patient care
- Recruiting and retaining nurses
Why Is a BSN a Requirement for Nurse Manager Jobs?
Not all employers expect RNs to have a BSN for the position of nurse manager. However, most prefer to hire nurse managers with a bachelor’s degree.
This is especially true for hospitals seeking Magnet status from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). As of 2013, the ANCC updated its requirement regarding the preparation level of nurse managers employed by hospitals applying for Magnet status. Now 100 percent of nurse managers must hold a BSN or graduate degree when they submit an application. Here are other reasons why nurse managers may need a BSN:
- In a 2010 report, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), known as the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) since 2015, recommended increasing the proportion of BSN-prepared nurses in the workforce to 80 percent by 2020.
- Research connects BSN-prepared nurses with better patient outcomes. The studies include An Increase in the Number of Nurses With Baccalaureate Degrees Is Linked To Lower Rates of Postsurgery Mortality, Educational Levels of Hospital Nurses and Surgical Patient Mortality, Effects of Hospital Care Environment on Patient Mortality and Nurse Outcomes and Baccalaureate Education in Nursing and Patient Outcomes.
- Employers know that it is easier to complete a BSN program today than it was in the past. Many nursing schools offer online RN to BSN programs that allow nurses to continue working while earning their degree.
If you want to become a nurse manager, you may be able to achieve your aim by earning a baccalaureate degree. A BSN program prepares RNs for the rigors associated with governing an entire nursing unit while safeguarding the health and welfare of patients. BSN-prepared nurses possess leadership and communication skills vital to motivating staff and upholding the standards of the nursing practice. Online RN to BSN programs are ideal for busy nurses who want to further their education and advance in their career.
Learn more about the Nevada State College online RN to BSN program.