Managers-Do You Miss Being a Clinician/Bedside?


Hi, so I will be starting an assistant nurse manager position at the end of the Summer, and as it gets closer to the time, I'm reflecting one the fact that I won't be a clinical nurse anymore.  I'm wondering how other current RNs in leadership/management positions felt when they first transitioned, and how they feel now in regards to not being a clinician.  

This will be my first management role, so I know I have a lot to learn as I begin.  From prior experience with my own managers, I do know that some participate in clinical care in various ways (I've had nurse managers help place IVs, round with the team and/or charge nurse, handle the code cart during emergencies, help with ADLs, etc.), so I'm curious what others think/have experienced in their own careers.  I'm also pondering picking up a per diem position once I settle into the new job and routine, and wondering if I would do a per diem CVICU RN job (my current role, though I'm going into CV stepdown as an assistant manager with a future goal of being a nurse manager of a CVICU hopefully) or a per diem supervisor job.

Thanks for any thoughts!

FolksBtrippin, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Community, Nurse Manager. Has 6 years experience. 2,070 Posts

I'm in the same boat. Going into a management position tomorrow. 

Wondering if I'll like it, and feeling some kind of nostalgia. ? 



Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 25 years experience. 20,961 Posts

I did. I guess what I missed most was not having 24/7 accountability and dealing with working the floor for call-outs, yet still being required to keep up with my own work.

It turned into 60 hours or more a week (we had a computer and could work from home but let me tell ya, it's a trap)!

I hope it works out better for you than me. I appreciate being back with my patients and when my shift is over, I am done. No worries after I clock out.

Tweety, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 30 years experience. 32,312 Posts

Good luck.  You will still have contact with patients and people so you might not miss it that much.  

Ten years ago, I took a management job in the admission/transfer center and immediately missed patient contact and hated it and six months later I was back on the floor but only because the minimum amount of time to transfer was six months.

But it was something I needed to learn about myself, that I'm most happy at the bedside. 

The decision to go into management can always be undone.  I worked with a RN that did just that, she was a unit manager and after a couple of years went back to the floor.  Others thrive in their new role and move on up.  

You won't know until you do it.

All the best.

Edited by Tweety


Specializes in Oncology, ID, Hepatology, Occy Health. Has 36 years experience. 527 Posts

Echo the thoughts above being also an ex-manager who went back to clinical rôles and loves being back with patients.

Everyone is different. Management wasn't for me but it was a valuable experience to have under my belt. If you don't try it you'll  forever be thinking what it might have been like. You may find you flourish and that you've really found your niche. Whether you do or you don't, either way it will be a very valuable experience. 

Good luck!



34 Posts

Thank you all for the thoughts/experiences!  Yes I guess I will see if it's really for me once I step into the role.  I have also known a few people that were in management for some time then became clinical RNs again or finished NP school and now practice as NPs.  Also, fortunately at my hospital system there's absolutely no expectation for managers/assistant managers to work the floor when short (plus do manager work at the same time).  I know that at another hospital in my city where I had interviewed for an assistant manager position, they did mention that once in awhile if short, the assistant manager might have to serve as charge nurse, but I don't think it's common in my area for management to work the floor ever.   I have seen them help out with various clinical tasks though, but never take a patient assignment.

Thanks again!

mtmkjr, BSN

380 Posts

I took a supervisor position in January. It has been a major adjustment!

The first thing I miss is the camaraderie among my coworkers. I have stepped out of that circle and into another. Thankfully the management team is great, but it's a different world.

I do miss patient care. I miss the structure and being done at the end of the day. In my new position I'm playing whack-a-mole and never finish my to-do list. At the same time I love that the job is so interesting. There is so much behind the scenes.  

I miss being able to pass difficult situations to someone else but at the same time I love the challenge and I have learned an incredible amount in the short time I've been doing this.

I miss the hours, working extra or not working extra if I don't want to. It's unpredictable now. Although I should be working 4 days a week, it doesn't always work out that way. I spent the day trying to staff tomorrow's day shift and was unsuccessful so now I'll be getting up at 4:30 and taking patients. (That only happens every few months)

My kids are grown. I don't feel like I am needed at home like I was in the past. It's funny I've become the workaholic, as my husband starts to talk about retirement LOL.

I don't think I would go back to bedside. Overall it's a change I'm glad I made.

Edited by mtmkjr