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
  • Chaplains
  • Office staff
  • Social workers
  • Pharmacists

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
  • Scheduling

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:

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.


NCBI: Educational Levels of Hospital Nurses and Surgical Patient Mortality

NCBI: Effects of Hospital Care Environment on Patient Mortality and Nurse Outcomes

NCBI: Baccalaureate Education in Nursing and Patient Outcomes

National Academy of Medicine: The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health – Report Recommendations

American Nurses Credentialing Center: Magnet Recognition Program – Eligibility Requirements Is the ADN Being Phased Out?

NCBI: An Increase in the Number of Nurses With Baccalaureate Degrees Is Linked to Lower Rates of Postsurgery Mortality

American Nurse Today: Move up to the Role of Nurse Manager What Is a Nurse Manager?

Emerging RN Leader: Why Nurse Managers Need a BSN Nurse Manager Vs. Nurse Leader: What’s the Difference?