Nurse management is a popular career path among RNs desiring a leadership role in the thriving field of healthcare. Nurse managers have the important responsibility of overseeing nursing departments and staff. They are also responsible for ensuring a high quality of patient care in their healthcare facility. But how do you get on this path towards a career in nurse management? Whether you are just finishing your nursing degree, or have several years of nursing experience behind you, there are a few steps one must take to become a nurse manager. Below, Goodwin outlines how to become a nurse manager in Connecticut.
- Build a foundation with the proper education and certification:
Advancement in most fields requires a certain level of education. There is no exception in the nursing field. As a foundation, aspiring nurse managers need to first complete an accredited nursing program – either an Associate Degree program (ADN) or a Bachelor’s in Nursing (BSN) program. Both degree paths will help lay the framework for you to have a successful career as a Registered Nurse, and help you understand what it means to provide high quality patient care.
Upon graduation, nurses then have to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) exam to become a licensed Registered Nurse in the state of Connecticut. From there, it’s all about truly immersing yourself as an RN and gaining years of experience as a nurse.
To become a nurse manager, the typical next step would be to receive an advanced degree in the field. Since leadership is a key characteristic for nurse managers, it is highly recommended that nurses pursue a Master’s in Nursing degree (MSN). MSN degrees are common among nurse managers today, and many employers actually require this level of degree. It’s no wonder why. MSN programs not only touch on advanced nursing practices, but also on topics such as leadership, communication, and ethics in the healthcare field. This is extremely important in preparing future nurse managers to take on both the patient care and business side of nursing.
Depending on the specific nurse manager role and healthcare facility, some nurses may be required to obtain additional certification. One possible certification is a Nurse Manager and Leader Certification (CNML). This certification is specifically for nurse leaders in a nurse management position.
- Obtain the right nurse management opportunity:
Once you know how to become a nurse manager and have completed all the requirements, the next step is the job search. Sometimes, nurses are promoted and hired from within their current medical facility. However, this is not always the case and nurses sometimes need to look for outside opportunities in order to advance into a nurse management role.
What’s the next stop in finding a job and becoming a nurse manager, after a master’s degree? A good place to start would be the career services department at your educational institution. Most career services departments, such as the one at Goodwin College, will assist with the job search process by helping updates resumes, providing interview tips, connecting students (past and present) with networking opportunities, and alerting students regarding any new job opportunities that arise.
In addition to leveraging career services, there are a few things you can do on your own, as well. This includes monitoring different nursing job boards and applying to new positions that arise in a timely manner. Also, networking and exposing yourself to different people in the field is extremely important. There are many great nursing associations in Connecticut, and it could be worthwhile to join them and attend their events to meet fellow nursing and medical professionals who may eventually be able to connect you with a nurse management position.
- Continue learning and refining your nursing and leadership skills:
Once you know how to become a nurse manager and secure a nurse manager position, it’s important to keep up with new nursing trends and research through continuing education. Since the field of healthcare is always changing and new policies and laws are being passed frequently, nurse managers need to stay abreast of these changes and updates so they can be the best leaders possible. It is also important to continue honing your leadership skills in nursing over time.
One way to do this is by joining related nursing or healthcare associations and attending their conferences where you can be exposed to many thoughtful speakers and presentations that could cover many beneficial topics related to your position, your healthcare facility and the industry.
Another option is to follow and read relevant nursing, leadership, and healthcare publications. Sometimes, stepping away from your “desk” to attend an event or conference is not easy for busy nurse managers. Therefore, this is a great way to stay involved and educated on important topics that can provide relevant insights on patient care, healthcare policies and new nursing standards.
While everyone’s path to nurse management may look different, the steps involved are generally universal. Education, experience and certification are essential to landing an advanced nursing position.
Still wondering how to become a nurse manager? Get in touch with Goodwin College’s MSN advisors today, and they can walk you through the process and provide more details about obtaining an affordable and flexible MSN degree at Goodwin. Call 800-889-3282 today or visit us online to learn more.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.