Nurse Shift Supervisor: Job Description and Education Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a nurse shift 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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A nurse shift supervisor must have a bachelor's degree in nursing and a registered nursing license. Some states may require additional certification for nursing shift supervisors. Employers may prefer individuals with a master's degree and training in management may be an asset.

Essential Information

A nurse shift supervisor is a registered nurse who has both clinical and administrative duties. Shift managers oversee the nursing staff as well as handle department administration during a scheduled period. A bachelor's degree in nursing, licensure and experience are common requirements for this position.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in nursing
Other Requirements Licensure requirements vary by state; specific medical certifications may be required by employer; 3-5 years of experience may be needed
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 18% for all medical and health service managers
Mean Salary (2018)* $99,730 for all medical and health services managers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Nurse Shift Supervisor Job Description

A nurse shift supervisor manages the nursing staff and patient care for the duration of an assigned work period, such as a night shift. He or she is responsible for planning and directing department operations. Duties include clinical and administrative tasks that are focused on providing high quality patient care while also adhering to the mission and goals of the medical facility.

A nurse shift supervisor's duties might include organizing patient files, administering medication, filling positions for absent staff, handling patient complaints and monitoring employee job performance. Supervisor duties are balanced between patient care and managing the department during the shift.

Education Requirements

A bachelor's degree in nursing is a typical education requirement for a nurse shift supervisor, according to a sampling of job ads from December 2014. Some employers might prefer candidates with a master's degree in nursing. Nursing education programs prepare students to become licensed registered nurses, but an individual may also take courses in management to train for a shift supervisor position.

Career Requirements

Generally, current licensure as a registered nurse is a requirement for a nurse supervisor position. Successful completion of the National Council Licensure Examination is mandatory to become a registered nurse. Additional licensing requirements vary by state.

Employers may also request that applicants possess certifications in specific medical processes. Advanced Cardiac Life Support, CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and Basic Life Support are all common employment requirements for a nurse shift supervisor.

It's helpful for nurse supervisors to have communication, computer, interpersonal, team building and leadership skills, which are often developed while on the job. According to the December 2014 advertisements on, candidates for the position were expected to have 3-5 years of management or nursing experience.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted demand for medical and health services managers, like nursing shift supervisors, to rise as much faster than the national average through 2028. According to the BLS, medical and health services managers, who work in general and surgical hospitals earned an average salary of $122,460 in 2018, but these figures represent a broad range of specializations. For comparison, registered nurses who work in work in general and surgical hospitals earned an average salary of $77,730 in 2015, according to the BLS.

Nursing shift supervisor oversees the nursing staff and patient care within their units. They may perform administrative tasks, address patient complaints, evaluate staff performance and administer medications to patients. They are also usually required to be trained in Advanced Cardiac Life Support, CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and Basic Life Support.

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