accepted supervisor position, need resources

by VivaRN Member


I recently accepted a supervisor position because it was the one that was open of two positions I've had my eye on for a long time. While this job is not directly clinical it deals with evaluation of a large-scale clinical program.

One position is supervisor (myself), one is not. I will also supervise one other employee who I've heard through the grapevine has some insubordination issues.

I'm a bit younger (28) and while I'm experienced clinically I've never been in a managerial role as part of my job. I've coordinated things as a volunteer and as part of my professional organization, but I need some resources to prepare me for this new role. How do I learn to be a good manager?

Any advice is appreciated!

Thanks in advance.


103 Posts

I think no matter how much you read or prepare, you learn the most by making mistakes. My first year was hell. I had to fire two people, discipline others, and everyone hated me. I was on the verge of quitting multiple times. But I persevered and am glad I did, I really love my job now -

I had a lot of support from my director and fellow managers which was awesome. I would encourage you to get with your Nurse Retention coordinator and ask if there is an experienced manager that you can meet with regularly and develop a mentoring relationship.

And post on these forums - this is a great resource for you too!


1 Article; 520 Posts

Thanks so much for replying, I want so much to do well and step into my role with confidence. Mentoring is a great idea. I will follow up on that! Do you have any advice for how I should approach the employees as their new manager? You said your first year was rough - is there anything you know now that you wished you had known (or that someone had told you!) then?


587 Posts

a sense of humor helps. Look back on experiences you had as the subordinate and draw from them. Don't worry about not knowing the right paperwork or proceedure if someone asks you. There's always someone, somewhere working that shift who does, just ask while you do rounds. Carry a notebook and write down concerns, supply needs, equipment,maint probs, SW needs, problem familys or pts, employee comments..try to touch base with lots of different people to get a feel for the "mood of the day." "issue of the day"

Otherwise trust your gut and get phone numbers of other managers, supervisors you can call for back-up, and to bounce problems off of.

Most importantly, if you have to replace call in's. Go over your phone list with the scheduling person or other supervisors for the people most likely to say yes, note which shifts. check frequently when talking to staff who wants extra hours, have them e-mail or text you when avail. If you're in a pinch ask other staff working if they know someone who would want to come in to work for the shift needed, esp if it's an immediate need. They often have friends who will come in to help them out.

Edited by nola1202
more to say


1 Article; 520 Posts

Just wanted to update this thread to say that I am loving my job! Oddly enough I have always been someone who I felt had more anxiety than others, mostly around wanting to be sure I did the right thing. It made me a good clinician but it wasn't always a pleasant way to feel.

This is not something I would have expected at all (as I very much fell into this role), but management so far has been a great fit. When I see a problem, while I have the responsibility I also have the power - hey, it is my JOB - to get people together to solve it.

I would have thought the increased responsibility would be more stressful (and in the moment, it can be), but I really like having more control over my environment. I don't feel anxious at all like I used to. I like that I have the power to be a good boss, direct the work-flow and give people a break when they need one. It helps that my boss is excellent as well... maybe I am finally in a good work environment!

Just had to share my happiness with you ~ thanks and please add your insights!


199 Posts

I'm so happy to hear that VivaRN! I recently accepted a supervisor position as well -- I start on February 2nd. I'm really looking forward to it! I'm so glad to hear you enjoy your role!


1 Article; 520 Posts

Congratulations Amanda.RN! I am excited to see how it goes and I'm sure you will do very well!


199 Posts

VivaRN, if you're looking for a good read, these are books that have been recommended to me & I found them helpful:

Communicate with Confidence by Dianna Booher

How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Stop Workplace Drama by Marlene Chism

Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson (and multiple other authors)

...just thought I'd share. :) Take care!


Specializes in Pediatric, adult medical, lt. Has 22 years experience. 28 Posts

Something that also might help is to read up on how to deal with different personality types. There are many good books out on this subject. If you can identify a persons type of personality it helps you understand what they need from you to feel supported and valued which in turn makes them likely to be more productive. It also will help you learn how to steer them without the "because I said so" attitude, and can teach you how to set clear boundaries and expectations in a way they will understand.


1 Article; 520 Posts

Thanks SappyRN and Amanda.RN for these great suggestions!

RN beekeeper

4 Posts

Just signed up (again) after a long absence. I don't know if you are checking this thread but "Hardwiring Excellence" by Quint Studor is a must read.


60 Posts

great news guys! congrats to all!

I am in the same boat- 5 years clinical exp and want to go up the clinical ladder- but lack of experience is keeping me back?

did u all have orientations?