Types of Jobs in Nurse Management

The growing need for people in the health care industry increases daily and some of the hardest jobs to fill are jobs in management. To work in nursing management takes strong leadership skills and the ability to make decisions that, at times, will govern other nursing organizations. Working within nursing management you must be able to plan, direct, control and lead your staff. Most people employed as nurse managers are individuals who started as registered nurses (RNs) and then moved up through the hierarchy.

Different Roles with Nurse Management

Listed below are four different levels within the nurse management system. Usually an RN will start at one of the bottom positions and over time and with experience be able to move up higher within the nurse management system.

  • Change Nurse: A change nurse oversees the immediate functions of a specific unit. They manage the unit’s day to day operations and ensure quality care is being given to all patients. While some change nurses are permanent, some are part of a team and are referred to as shift supervisors.
  • Nurse Manager: A nurse manager is a nurse that manages a unit on all levels and will typically report back to a service director. Not only do they oversee all day-to-day operations but are also responsible for budgets and staffing issues as well.
  • Service Director: A service director will usually oversee an entire facility and have other nurse mangers reporting to them regarding the larger organization as a whole. In some cases the facility is so large that a director might just oversee a specific practice such as surgery, women’s health or ICU and work with a team of other directors overseeing other areas.
  • Assistant Director of Nursing (ADON): An ADON is there to always assist and back up the head director when he or she is not available or absent for any reason.
  • Director of Nursing (DON): A DON is one who oversees that proper care is given to all individuals at their health care facility and usually reports to the CEO or COO of the company. This position is considered the senior position within nursing management and is often accompanied by executive tiles like Vice-Present of Nursing or Chief Nurse Executive. All DONs are required to be part of the professional association called The American Organization of Nurse Executives.

Education and Expected Salary

For any of the roles within the nurse management system you must be at least a registered and licensed RN. To be a certified RN you must first earn your degree and get a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or a BSN. This degree takes approximately four years to complete and includes both hands-on practice and a classroom education to graduate. Once you have your BSN you can take the national test to become a RN. Once you have become an RN and are working in a facility you should express your desire to be part of the management team and start gaining as much experience as you can. Of course taking continuous education classes in both nursing and management can help give you an advantage over other RNs that also might want to be involved in nursing management.

Salary will vary greatly depending how high up the management ladder you climb. Starting out as an RN and being a change nurse you can expect to earn approximately $50,000 annually. The DON at the same hospital would expect to make approximately $100,000+ annually. There are many things that will influence a yearly salary within nursing management. Not only does the state in which you work factor into the equation but the resources of the facility, years of experience and education or specialized certificates all come into play. One thing is for sure, the more years experience you have and the more committed you are to delivering quality care and learning as much as possible, the more potential you have to earn more money.


Learn More: Director of Nursing Jobs