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How to move into nursing management

This article appears in: Balance work, life and study, Nursing and Midwifery
Hospital management meeting

Feel like you’ve earned your nursing stripes? Ready to take on new challenges at work? Had enough of night shifts? Moving into a nurse manager role may be your calling.

“The first few years of your nursing career are really formative and important,” says Dr Haakan, Associate Professor of Nursing at CDU. “You work all hours of the day and night – because patients are sick 24/7 – and gain exposure to a wide range of medical conditions, patient interactions and professional pressures.”

“If you’re ready for a change, moving into a nursing management position can be one opportunity to broaden your skillset, play a bigger part in providing better care, and spend less time working nights.”

So, what study and skills are necessary to achieve this? The answer is three-prong.

Develop your management skills

“Good managers are those who are able to communicate well with others and be good role models,” says Dr Haakan. “Being a good communicator in the world of nursing means you don’t just demand things from your team; you also teach them and respect their opinion.

For registered nurses looking to move into leadership roles, Dr Haakan says that knowledge about management principles is important.

You need the understand why patients and colleagues act the way they do, and why they may think differently to you.

“For example, if you understand why they don’t like change, then you’ll likely have fewer issues on your ward, because you’ll be better equipped to deal with their concerns,” says Dr Haakan.

Demonstrate nursing leadership

Nurse in hospital hallway

Working in a leadership role in nursing, isn’t just about managing staff and practicing emotional intelligence. Research has shown that nursing leadership is crucial for improving quality of care and the sustainability of healthcare.

It’s important to master your nursing skills.

"As a leader, your team will look to you to set an example and to learn new ways of working, so focus on building your skillset, knowledge and confidence,” says Dr Haakan.

Invest in a postgrad nursing course

A postgraduate nursing course can help to bridge any gaps in your knowledge and skills, says Dr Haakan.

Plus, it could boost your salary, with census data predicting the annual income for nurses with a postgrad qualification will increase to $111,235 by 2022.

There are a wide range of postgraduate nursing qualifications available, that can take as little as six months to complete.

"These days, postgrad nursing qualifications are pretty flexible – many can be done online and part-time,” he says.

“If you’re specifically looking to build your leadership skills, a postgraduate qualification in health services management or clinical facilitation is worth considering. It will teach you management and evaluation principles, leadership skills and development, and give you the skills to interact with people and lead change,” says Dr Haakan.

A postgrad qualification in health services management or clinical facilitation will enable you to move into higher positions which usually work office hours and fewer night shifts.

To top that off, a clinical leadership qualification will also make you attractive to rural and overseas employers. It will literally open up world of opportunities and give you the chance make a difference for yourself and the healthcare system on the whole.

Get ready to step into your new role. Explore flexible, online postgraduate nursing qualifications at CDU.

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