Oklahoma City University Online Nursing Blog
Transform Your Future: How to Become a Nurse Manager

Transform Your Future: How to Become a Nurse Manager


Nursing is an exciting and highly satisfying career. You help patients when they are at their most vulnerable, putting them and their families at ease. Hands-on caring for others helps you make a real difference to people and to the world.

As hard as nursing can be, it’s an extremely well-respected profession. A Gallup poll on professional ethics has ranked nursing as the most trusted profession for over 20 years.1 As a nurse, you make a difference every day by helping patients through difficult times. And the opportunity to work together with the whole nursing staff and care team brings camaraderie to every day on the job.

However, the day may come when you start wondering about how to advance in your nursing career. One of the best aspects of this field is the number of opportunities you have to move in a different direction, yet stay connected to the job you love. Have you considered working as a nurse manager? You still have the opportunity to work with patients in a clinical setting, and you also get to represent your team to your organization’s management.

Moving into a management position has other benefits, too. These jobs can offer a more regular schedule, ability to work remotely in some positions, and a better work/life balance. As you approach life changes such as marriage, having a family, or needing a job with reduced physical demands, becoming a nurse manager could fulfill your needs.

Find out what you need to do to take that next step up the career ladder to nurse manager.

What is a nurse manager?

Nurse managers are the bridge between the nursing team and upper management, usually reporting to a supervising nurse leader, director of nursing or similar higher role. One unit or team is usually managed by someone in this role.

As people who work with staff nurses every day, nurse managers are responsible for:

  • Supervising a team of nurses to ensure they deliver proper and consistent care
  • Providing support to the nursing team by using their accumulated clinical knowledge and experience in medical and crisis management
  • Developing and implementing nursing policies and procedures
  • Working with patients and families to address their concerns
  • Monitoring their nursing team to ensure they are in compliance with rules and regulations regarding patient care2

As a nurse manager, you are also the keeper of the culture for your team. Drawing on your own experience as a nurse, you will develop ways to motivate your team to do their best every day. Creating a culture that includes safety, optimal patient care, and mutual support will enhance the work environment for both staff and clients. As is common with any manager role, nurse managers are responsible for hiring, training, mentoring, and conducting performance assessments for their staff. And “soft skills” such as effective oral and written communication are essential to meeting all of these job requirements.3

How to become a nurse manager

For the most part, nurse manager candidates find jobs more easily and at higher compensation if they earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), followed by a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a Nursing Leadership Specialization.

Advantages of getting a bachelor of science in nursing

  • A BSN helps you offer more knowledge, expertise and confidence to your patients and organization
  • More than 28% of hospitals and health care organizations require new hires to hold BSN degrees, and 72% express a strong preference for nurses with BSNs4
  • Of new BSN graduates, 95% received a job offer within six months of program completion4

Advantages of getting a master of science in nursing

  • Learn new skills that are highly sought after in management positions:
    • Project management
    • Team management
    • Communications
    • Finance and budgeting
  • Of new MSN graduates, 93% received a job offer within six months of program completion4
  • Choosing a specialization like leadership develops specific skills to help you succeed as your nurse manager career grows

Income Opportunities for Nurse Managers

Your on-the-job experience plus additional education can seriously boost your earning potential. With each level of education achieved, the opportunity for pay advancement and job outlook improves.

Registered nurse with BSN5

  • $77,600 median pay per year
  • Job growth outlook of 6% by 2031

Nurse Manager with BSN or above6

  • $101,340 median pay per year
  • Job growth outlook of 28% by 2031

The job growth outlook numbers are particularly impressive for nurse managers. As more nurses from the baby boom generation retire and health care organizations realize the need for highly educated nurses and hands-on managers, your career outlook soars.

To advance in nursing, strengthen your credentials

Oklahoma City University (OCU) makes it easy to fit schooling for an advanced nursing degree into your already full schedule. Whether you’re working in a clinic, a hospital, or another setting, you’re likely coordinating your at-home responsibilities, social life and more around long shifts. Fortunately, attending nursing school online has become a viable and respected option for pursuing a higher degree, building new skills and taking your career to the next level.

Oklahoma City University’s Kramer School of Nursing online nursing degree programs equip students with the knowledge and experience they need to advance their health care careers. These online courses offer the flexibility to fit the schedules and needs of working nurses. Learning is asynchronous, meaning there are no set login times for classes, and you can learn at your own pace, taking the time you need to complete your courses.

Kramer School of Nursing is fully accredited by ACEN and the Higher Learning Commission, offering a robust curriculum designed by nursing professionals. All faculty are committed to each individual student’s success, creating a vibrant learning environment where nurses can advance their careers with the support of a robust community.

For more information about our online nursing programs, speak to an Admissions Outreach Advisor today.

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Even when you know that nursing school is a good investment for your career progression, covering tuition can still feel like a hurdle. Read on to get some tips on how to find and apply for scholarships and what resources are available at Oklahoma City University.
January 26, 2023
Enhancing diversity in nursing is especially critical for establishing quality healthcare for all patient populations. Find out why diversity in nursing is so important and learn about research that supports the fact that a more diverse nurse staff is likely to be able to provide better professional nursing care.
By Pamela Stokes, MHCA, DNP, RN, January 06, 2023
Dr. Pamela Stokes knows, “Nursing is never boring.” Read about our business development leader’s journey through nursing from clinical roles to administration and consulting. Learn why Dr. Stokes believes advanced nursing education opened doors for her own career and how it can help yours as well.

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