Job Descriptions of a Nurse Supervisor

by Brenda Scottsdale

    While some nurse supervisors or managers are in charge of an entire facility, others manage a single unit, outpatient clinic or medical practice group. They must be familiar with laws and regulations, and those who work in clinical arenas have to know what duties are expected of a nurse. While their duties vary by type of employer, most work to promote health care efficiency and quality, ensuring that all nurses follow the rules. Many manage patient fees and billing, create work schedules, represent their facility at community meetings and communicate with other medical staffers and department heads.

    A nursing home administrator is an executive who manages the staff, admissions, finances and program functions of an entire nursing home facility or even a chain of facilities. In addition to having a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s degree in a management-related field, such as public health administration, most nursing home administrators are required by the state to have a specific license to administer a nursing home. While licensing requirements vary by state, most require candidates to pass an examination, showing documents that verify their education and work experience. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a median annual income of $91,440 for managers such as nursing home administrators as of May 2010. The bureau projects that these jobs will grow 22 percent between 2010 to 2020 compared to all other occupations.

    Clinical nurse managers run a specific department in a clinical practice area in which they specialize, such as emergency medicine. They are quality control experts, using tools such as active supervision and spot audits of their nursing staff. In addition to a bachelor’s degree in nursing and an active license as a registered nurse, a clinical nurse manager must hold a master’s degree in health services, public health, long-term care administration or business administration. The BLS does not report specific salary data or job growth projections for clinical nurse managers, but they do indicate that salary depends on the size of the facility in which the manager works.

    Health information managers use information technology to make sure patient records remain private and secure. They follow rules laid out by the government, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, to ensure databases are complete, accurate and accessible only to authorized personnel. A health information manager typically has a master’s degree in information management, health care administration or a related field and might come from a nursing background, although not every health information manager is a nurse. Health information managers are included in the medical and health services managers category by the BLS, which reports a median annual income for this group of $84,270 as of May 2010 and a projected job growth of 22 percent.

    Assistant administrators help facility administrators by handling the day-to-day tasks in a variety of departments such as nursing, surgery and health information. They manage personnel, finance, operations and admissions. At a minimum, they have bachelor’s degrees in allied health administration, although many have their master’s degrees in business or health care management. Assistant administrators who deal with non-health care issues, such as finances, human resources and payroll, typically do not have nursing degrees. The BLS does not report specific data for assistant administrators.

    About the Author

    Brenda Scottsdale is a licensed psychologist, a six sigma master black belt and a certified aerobics instructor. She has been writing professionally for more than 15 years in scientific journals, including the "Journal of Criminal Justice and Behavior" and various websites.

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