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Nurse manager

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Summary of occupation

​Nurse managers oversee nursing care on a ward or unit in public or private hospitals, aged or palliative care homes, or other healthcare facilities. They supervise nursing staff to ensure nurses provide safe and effective nursing care to patients. They also oversee the continuous professional training and development of nurses to meet clinical standards.

Nurse managers are responsible for the smooth running of their ward, making sure that the ward is adequately staffed and well stocked with medical supplies, including medications and equipment.

ANZSCO description: Manages a health service unit or sub-unit of a hospital, aged care or community health care facility, supervises nursing staff and financial resources to enable the provision of safe, cost effective nursing care within a specified field or for a particular unit, and monitors quality, clinical standards and professional development of nurses. Registration or licensing is required.
Alternative names: Charge Nurse, Nurse Supervisor, Nurse Unit Manager
Specialisations:
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A nurse manager needs:

  • advanced knowledge and experience in nursing
  • to assume responsibility and provide leadership
  • to be able to solve problems and make decisions
  • discretion and respect for patient confidentiality
  • the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • excellent communication skills to liaise with other professionals and provide clear information to patients.
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Working conditions

​Nurse managers usually work regular office hours, but may be required to do shift work including weekends and public holidays, and their working times may be irregular depending on the size of the unit they supervise. They may also need to be able to provide training and organise and attend meetings with staff and upper management.

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Salary details

​On average, nurse managers can expect to earn between $1 999 and $2 129 per week ($103 943 and $110 723 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a nurse manager develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

​Nurse managers regularly use computers to maintain staff records and coordinate patient care, provide reports to upper management, help to create staff rosters, and allocate resources in the nursing care unit they supervise. They may also use computers and other resources to keep up to date with current advances in nursing, consult government legislation and policies, and access professional development and training for staff.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a nurse manager you must first become a qualified registered nurse. You must also gain sufficient practical experience as a nurse in the area you wish to work in, and usually need to complete postgraduate study in nursing and management.

Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant bachelor degree courses in nursing, and postgraduate courses in nursing and management. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

To work as a nurse in Western Australia, you must obtain professional registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, and hold a current Working with Children Check issued by the Working with Children Screening Unit of the Department of Community Services.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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