By 2030, it is expected that one million registered nurses will leave the workforce in the United States. Nurses with advanced leadership and management abilities will be required to provide excellent care to patients throughout the country in the coming years.

 Nurse leaders and managers are highly competent nursing professionals who are dedicated to providing high-quality healthcare to their patients and patient's families. In this post, we will explore the tasks and responsibilities of nurse leaders and nurse managers, as well as the necessary traits and characteristics of nurses in leadership positions, as well as the many leadership styles that nurses might employ.


The most significant distinction between nurse leaders and nurse managers

A nurse leader is directly involved with patients and their care time, whereas a nurse manager is involved in the day-to-day operations of a nursing unit or department. Even though both roles need management and leadership abilities, their job descriptions and primary tasks are distinct. 

Providing high-quality treatment in an efficient and meaningful manner is the goal of both nurse leaders and managers. The difference is that nurse leaders are more hands-on when it comes to focusing on patient care, whereas nurse managers work behind the scenes to ensure that the hospital runs smoothly. The job descriptions for each role are outlined below in further detail.


What Does It Mean to Be a Nursing Leader?

A nurse leader is responsible for supervising a team of nurses, making decisions, and coordinating patient-care activities on their behalf. They possess significant clinical expertise and are committed to improving the health outcomes of their patients.

Some of the most important tasks of a nurse leader are as follows:


  • Keeping abreast with the most recent developments in healthcare research
  • Working to minimize the average length of patient hospital stays as well as the rate of readmission.
  • Minimizing healthcare expenditures by increasing the efficiency of the system
  • Assuring that team members have the information and resources they require to provide high-quality care
  • Diagnostic tests are ordered and reviewed by the physician.
  • Developing treatment strategies to improve the quality of care and the outcomes of patients
  • Providing treatment to patients on an individual basis
  • Patient advocacy and education are two important aspects of our work.
  • Bringing the turnover rate of registered nurses down is a priority.


Nurse managers must be able to communicate effectively with their teams and assign responsibilities efficiently. Because they are in intimate contact with patients, empathy and compassion are essential. Additionally, excellent problem-solving and critical thinking abilities are required of effective nurse leaders.


What is the role of a nurse manager, and how does one go about it?

Nurse managers are generally not involved in direct patient care; rather, they are responsible for overseeing daily operations and supervising staff members in their departments. Because nurse managers are frequently in charge of budgeting, working knowledge of business management is required for the role.


The following are the primary tasks of a nurse manager:


  • Taking charge of the day-to-day activities
  • Supervising and training team members is a major responsibility.
  • Work with a variety of stakeholders to provide the best possible service while staying within budget constraints
  • Patient-provider interactions that are becoming increasingly difficult to manage
  • Creating and maintaining a financial plan
  • Managing insurance and other reimbursements is a big responsibility.
  • Evaluating and monitoring electronic health record systems
  • Nursing personnel is hired and evaluated.
  • Working in collaboration with other managers to achieve the best possible patient outcomes


Nurse managers must be able to handle many competing objectives while also communicating effectively and collaborating with a variety of stakeholders. The employees who report to them should be task-oriented persons who are also capable of advocating for and serving as mentors for the staff members who work under them.


Nurses in leadership positions must possess certain characteristics.

Nursing leadership and management positions require a high level of dedication as well as an in-depth understanding of the industry. Cultivating essential management and leadership characteristics can be beneficial for both nurse managers and nurse leaders. Nursing professionals, particularly those in advanced positions, have a direct effect on the outcomes of their patients. Nurses who want to be successful in this area should aim to be the most effective leaders and managers they can be.

Both nurse leaders and nurse managers should be knowledgeable in the following areas:

  • Working with employees to keep them informed and motivated
  • Thinking in a creative and analytical manner
  • Developing new processes is an ongoing process.
  • Delegating responsibilities
  • Empathizing with and caring for people
  • Making decisions is a difficult task.
  • Providing guidance and instruction to others
  • Identifying and conquering challenges and tough situations

July 19, 2021

Natasha Osei

Passionate Nurse Practitioner | People person

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