Imagine having a hoard of children to nurture and take care of, each of them from a different background and each having their own skills and failures. It can be incredibly difficult to deal with all of these kids at the same time, while trying to make sure everything goes smoothly and no one feels left out or singled out. Being a nurse manager can be a very similar feeling. You have a group of nurses to manage, and they all come with their own rewards and challenges, but you must ensure that all the work meets a specific standard.
A nurse manager oversees a nursing unit within a hospital and is responsible for its daily operations. They are in charge of all RN's, LPN's, patient care assistants, unit secretaries, and any other staff assigned to the unit. A nurse manager still makes contact with the patients, but spends the major of their time dealing with administrative and administrative tasks. A nurse manager is in charge of creating the shift schedule, hiring nursing staff, devising and coordinating trainings, completing employee evaluations, offering professional development options, and developing new policies and procedures. Nurse managers are also in charge of the budget and have to track monthly expenses. They are responsible for making sure all the equipment and supplies deemed necessary are purchased. But their most common activity is problem solving, for nurses, for family or patient concerns, for hospital committees reviewing the unit.
Due to the fact that nurse managers are dealing with not only their own work issues, but have a hand in almost everyone else's, there is a strong tender for burnout. They often tend to work longer hours than scheduled, trying to assist everyone who needs help, and have been known to take their work home with them. And unfortunately, a nurse manager's behavior affects the rest of the staff. If a nurse manager is overstressed and tired, that vibe will rub off on the nurses who might find it affecting their patient care. The easiest way to a healthy and content patient is to have a happy staff and a happy manager.
To be a good nurse manager, you need to not only see your nurseries as a group to manage, but as individuals that need to be nurtured or talked to separately. You need to be an excellent communicator, who can both listen, sift through opinions and complaints for the real story, and deliver decisions with precision and authority. You need to remember that your choices and decisions are extremely for the good of the unit and the patients, and that sometimes people just need to deal with the situation as is. In the same vein, as the person involved in all aspects of the running unit, you need to listen to all the issues, but then leave them behind at the end of the day. Taking work home with you, mentally or physically, will only cause more stress for you, and probably will not get the work done any faster. Take care of yourself so you can take care of your nurses, who will then take better care of the patients. What are your strategies for maintaining a better work-life balance?