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Do You Miss Being a Clinician?

Management   (125 Views | 1 Replies)
by CVVH CVVH Member

1,198 Profile Views; 16 Posts

I'm finishing my MSN in management/administration this year, and I'm curious to know if there are any nurse managers/nurse executives that miss being clinicians? I know that leadership/management is the direction I'd like to take my career, but part of me is wondering if I'll miss being a direct care clinician (depending on the day the answer is yes or no, haha).  As a nurse leader, do you maintain some sort of clinical practice?  Or is there no time for that?  

I've read previous posters mentioning that sometimes they'll be pulled into staffing or stay after their "shift" to help out, and while I've seen our nurse managers/assistant managers help out here and there, they aren't expected to do that, and will never take a patient assignment (at the hospitals I work at the charge typically will not have patients unless we're short, and we have float pools/per diems, and will ask staff to come in for OT if needed, so leaders don't have to be pulled into the staffing mix as it seems to be the case at other institutions or in the past).

So I'm wondering, how do you maintain clinical relevance as a nurse manager/executive?  Is this something all leaders end up facing at some point or another?  Sometimes I wonder if I should do CNS, but there are limited opportunities for that in my area, and although I like being a clinician, I also lean more towards management/leadership, which is why I'm doing that degree currently.  Thanks! 

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SummerGarden has 12 years experience as a ADN, BSN, RN and specializes in ED, Acute Care, Front-line Management.

3,040 Posts; 36,955 Profile Views

To answer your question, nurse leaders and nurse managers who do not touch patients apply nursing skills in a different way compared with a bedside nurse every single day.  In fact, nurse leaders and nurse managers who do not touch patients keep their knowledge relevant the same way a bedside nurse does, they continue to grow their knowledge, continue to learn about their teams, continue to learn about their patients, and continue to learn about equipment and supplies needed to safely care for patients on a nursing unit or within a healthcare facility.   You will gain a better understanding of what I am writing when you start studying in your MSN program. 

By the way, if you want to continue to keep up bedside skills (because loss of them may be your real fear right now), you can work an entry-level management position part-time and pick up a per diem position bedside because it is doable.  However, if you grow in your understanding of how business and nursing works and are able to show you can perform as a manager effectively,  you may move up the food chain and may no longer have time for the per diem job.  On the other hand, losing a bedside position will not reflect on your abilities to understand the job of the nursing staff who work under your direction.  Clinical skills at the bedside are way different then the skills you need to relate or gain respect from your direct reports.  Good luck!

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