The stresses and pressures endured by Nurse Managers are more acute in the healthcare sector than in any other industry. Few industries are under such close scrutiny and the Nurse Manager is held accountable for every action that takes place in her unit. While a good nurse is promoted based on her expertise and achievements as a nurse, a Nurse Manager’s success is dependent not only on her own abilities and knowledge as a nurse and manager, but also on the performance of the nurses in her department.

This explains why it is essential for a Nurse Manager to develop her management and leadership skills to effectively influence the delivery of excellent healthcare services from her nurses. Here are some key qualities that every good Nurse Manager should possess:

Clinical Expertise

Nurses look to their Nurse Manager for her clinical expertise when they encounter a problem. The Nurse Manager should be able to demonstrate how to dress a complex wound or manage an emergency situation, as well as provide recommendations for managing specific situations. She should also keep herself informed on the most updated nursing guidelines through readings, formal education and clinical practise to retain and hone her nursing skills.


A Nurse Manager’s department and her healthcare workers are a reflection of herself. When she makes honest and ethical behaviour a fundamental value in her department, her team will follow suit. By emphasizing these standards and displaying them herself, she has a higher chance of changing the work environment into an open and friendly workplace with great teamwork.

Effective Communication

Being able to succinctly explain what should be achieved is essential to everyone working towards the same goal. Talking to the nursing staff on a daily basis and making herself accessible to discuss departmental issues is imperative in enabling the nursing staff to trust and depend on the Nurse Manager. This open communication also motivates them to work harder under her leadership and guidance.

Leading By Example

Leading by example may sound like a worn-out cliché but there is no greater motivation to nurses than seeing their Nurse Manager down in the trenches working alongside them. If the Nurse Manager expects her team to work hard and produce quality care for their patients, she needs to lead by example. By proving her commitment to the patients in her department, she will earn the respect of her staff and instill that same commitment in them.

Positive Attitude

Keeping the healthcare team positive could be as simple as providing encouraging words, a word of appreciation, support or a listening ear. If the nurses are happy and motivated, they may not mind as much staying that extra hour to help out a patient, or devoting extra hours to work on departmental improvement projects and other work activities.

Customized Approach

Everybody is different. Every employee will have a different culture, language, educational background, personality and sense of values. This affects how each of them process and interpret information that is given to them. While some are open to constructive feedback, others may take it personally and become defensive. Some respond well under pressure, others may have difficulty coping.

An effective Nurse Manager is able to customize her approach based on the individual nurse. Her ability to do this will play a major role in her ability to get the best work out of her nurses and other healthcare workers in her department.