Just promoted to Nurse Manager.


I am so excited about this new challenge! I have worked on the floor I was promoted on for 11 years. I am a little nervous about the transition from peer to boss especially since a few of them were close friends. I will work on the floor as charge RN some of the time. I am so excited yet apprehensive. I would love to hear advice, tips or experiences of others in my same position. Thanks!


1,753 Posts

Specializes in Surgical, quality,management. Has 12 years experience.

wow! Congratulations. I have just gone through the same process.

Set some time up with your manager what goals they want you to achieve. How can they help you achieve them, mentorship for you to adjust into your new role. Then reorganize your office to suit you. I threw out some much junk that the previous manager kept - 3 year old BLS and no lift assessment these are annual!!

Set up your own processes to suit you. I changed they way that sick leave certificates was dealt with, annual appraisals, re started ward meetings devolved responsibility for certain portfolios to my assistant managers - gave them office days and I take the floor some days. It develops them and gives me a chance to still have clinical time.

I sent all my assistant managers an email thanking them for their support, my plans for the ward, asked them for their ideas. Set up a suggestion box for all staff to drop in suggestions - no promises made but each one investigated and costed. (It has mainly been adding dressings to stock, reorganizing the store room, defining ancillary staff job descriptions, getting pet therapy started ).

As came in after months of uncertainty I had to deal with some big issues - underperforming staff who had slipped through the cracks, sloppy documentation increase in falls. A certain group off staff dislike me but they are the ones that are resistive to all change.

With friends I spoke to them and said that they cannot use their friendship with me to get things that other staff would not. That if I had to discipline them it is as their boss not their friend.

Develop relationships with other managers, ask them for advice I spoke to 4 and picked bits from each to implement. My "next door neighbour" nurse unit is in a different division so he has a very different Pt profile to mine but the same staff issues as eveyone. I utilize an extremely experienced NUM in the division as she knows everyone in the hospital. A newer NUM in the division who has gone through the same transition. My former manger from a secondment I did at the beginning of the year for 6 months.

Please feel free to PM me to vent. I know that there are massive differences as I work for a public hospital in Australia.

Also try to leave on time. Most stuff can be left to the next day. If you do take work home set a fixed time to work on it then leave it aside. Use your electronic diary in your work email account I block out 30 min for lunch, 2 reminders to drink water.

In the last 10 min I do what I term a brain dump whatever that is spinning through my head gets written down on a piece of paper for follow up the next day. This reduces the amount of time I think about work at home.

Develop your social life with "normal people" now that you work Monday to Friday. Have time for exercise.


365 Posts

Specializes in geriatrics, IV, Nurse management. Has 7 years experience.

Amazing! I learned so much from your posting. I was recently promoted to a manager position and was struggling to catch up. I worked long hours everyday to catch up because the staff were frustrated with the changes. I really need to start booking my time to leave in my calender and those reminders for breaks/drinking water.


55 Posts

Thank you for the tips! Great advice!


1,753 Posts

Specializes in Surgical, quality,management. Has 12 years experience.

You burning out is not going to hep anyone. Eating, drinking and leaving at a reasonable time is essential for a work life balance.

I am still dealing with attitude from one of my assistant managers as she manipulated the previous manager and now does not get away with it.

A wise person said to me pick which battles you want to win because you may not win them all. I picked the one that was upsetting the staff most first, now that is done (resigned' rather than work on her problems). I am onto the next one.

Orca, ADN, ASN, RN

2,066 Posts

Specializes in Hospice, corrections, psychiatry, rehab, LTC. Has 28 years experience.

As far as working a lot of extra hours - there are very few things that are such dire emergencies that they cannot wait until the next work day. I have a colleague who has been a DON for longer than I have (going on eight years for me) and she still hasn't figured this out. I have always had the ability to check the job at the door, and I suggest the same to anyone who is capable of doing it. Employees will find you if there is an emergency. Don't spend your off-duty time fretting about things at work. All it does is increase your stress level unnecessarily. It is important to make time for yourself. Not doing so does not make you a better or more effective manager, just a more likely candidate for burnout.

The advice about picking your battles is sound. You will not win all of them, and you have to decide which ones are worth going to the wall over and which ones should be abandoned at an earlier stage because either they are unwinnable or the tradeoff is not worth it. Also consider the consequences of doing nothing - especially regarding personnel issues. In most cases you will need to intervene, it is simply a matter of deciding the nature of the intervention. If it appears to be a problem it probably is, and odds are that it will only worsen if left alone.

Fixing a personnel problem is both rewarding and liberating. You gain the satisfaction of resolving something that has been a problem, and you lose the stress of a negative situation continuing. Too many managers - especially new ones - let a fear of conflict or a fear of not being liked dissuade them from doing what is necessary. Not all of your decisions will be popular, but if your staff sees the general direction you are heading and you share reasons with them as much as possible, they will respect your decisions. Also solicit staff input on policy changes as much as is practical, and implement the good ideas. It helps with staff buy-in, which you will need as you go along.

It is tough going into managment in the same place where you were once line staff. As you mentioned, there are relationships that you developed with the people you worked with that are now fundamentally changed. I am glad that I went to a different facility when I moved into upper management so that I didn't have that to deal with.

Best of luck. We are here for you if you have questions or issues that you are not sure about.


55 Posts

Thank you Orca for the great advice and support. I planned to talk to staff at our staff meeting next month to talk about how they would like to see me in this role, their expectations, their concerns etc and address all of them. I planned to tell them that while I am not changing as a person, my role and responsibilities are changing, and that I plan to keep them informed and involved in the decision making as much as possible. That my job now is to support, advocate and back them up but if they do something to jeopardize pt care or safety then I will talk to them. I want to show my support yet set limits I guess as diplomatically as I can. I am hoping to ease into this role as smoothly as possible. I definitely need to let go of pleasing everybody. I have a feeling I will struggle the most with that.

Specializes in ICU, CM, Geriatrics, Management. Has 17 years experience.

Some good advice above.