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Leading the Pack: Strategies for a New Nurse Manager

Nurse managers typically have achieved success as registered nurses before being promoted to the role of nurse manager. The job brings with it greater responsibility, but also the potential for higher pay and career advancement. Succeeding as a new manager may require different skills than working on the floor. Here are some tips to help new nurse managers.

Strategies for New Nurse Managers

  • Connect with your staff. It is imperative that your staff feel comfortable approaching you with questions or concerns. Set up regular staff meetings where you can give your team a forum to make suggestions and have productive discussions.
  • Maintain constant communication. There are few things more frustrating or disheartening to employees than an "information blackout" that leads to them hearing about a situation that affects them via the grapevine or local newspaper. Being as forthcoming as possible and honest in all situations is your best strategy for keeping the lines of communication open, fostering mutual respect, and being an effective nurse manager.
  • Reward a job well done. Setting clear goals and expectations and recognizing your team when they have exceeded your expectations is a necessary part of fostering team work and pride among staff.
  • Be consistent. Hold each staff members to the same standard, and follow policies and procedures precisely in every situation.
  • Trust your team. A good nurse manager delegates effectively and does not "micro-supervise" when a task has been assigned. Have confidence in the ability of your staff because if they suspect you are unsure of their abilities they will be reluctant to take on challenges or come to you for guidance.
  • Allow for growth. Giving your staff the opportunity to participate in training programs and personal development courses shows them you value them as clinicians and individuals. Encourage team members to pursue opportunities that align with their strengths.
  • Lead by example. If you expect your staff to be on the unit fifteen minutes before the start of a shift, then you need to arrive 30 minutes before. Maintaining a calm and positive demeanor, even when stress is rising, sets the tone for the entire unit.

Nurse managers rise to the position thanks to dedication, hard work, and leadership skills. Those same qualities can help new nurse managers navigate this challenging, but essential health care role.

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