Responsibilities of a Nurse Supervisor

Sep 28, 2019

A nurse supervisor is responsible for managing a team of registered nurses. They must handle scheduling, ensure all codes are met, and assign nurses to take care of patients. In addition to holding an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing, they must also be registered nurses (RNs).

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 (2018-2028) 18% for all medical and health services managers*
Median Salary (2019) $93,293 for all nursing supervisors**

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

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 indicate that nurse supervisors earned a median salary of $93,293 in September 2019. Employment prospects in this field are favorable, with a 18% increase in growth expected over the 2018-2028 decade, according to the BLS.

A nurse supervisor must be prepared to work under stress, and may sometimes be required to handle difficult circumstances, such as communicating with family members about a relative in care. There are various settings where a nurse supervisor may be employed including hospitals, physicians' offices, and residential care facilities. Nursing supervisors need an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing and a valid nursing license.

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