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How to be a great Clinical Nurse Manager

By Three Q PERMS on 24 May 2016

Clinical Nurse Managers play an essential role in the working environment for nurses. A good Clinical Nurse Manager has the ability to create a positive and enthusiastic work environment but also the ability to create a negative work environment. Here are a few qualities that ensure an encouraging place to work.


Respect staff as professionals

Nothing is worse than being treated like a child in the work-place. A manager who disrespects her staff, especially in front of others, loses staff respect in return. Clinical Nurse Managers should refrain from micromanagement; nurses are professionals who can think for themselves. Restraining or limiting nurses because of a lack of trust is deadly to the relationship between staff and manager.

Set standards and a clear professional example. 
Nurses are expected to behave professionally, and the same holds true for managers. A Clinical Nurse Manager needs to be professional in her appearance, language, and behaviour, just as a staff nurse must be. Coming to work dishevelled or inappropriately dressed, using improper language, or failing to follow standards for attendance or behaviour are a few examples of the do-what-I-say-and-not-what-I-do double standard. What goes for the nurse must go for the manager. 

Be an effective decision maker, as well as a conflict and crisis manager.
The nursing staff expects their manager to make intelligent decisions when conflicts and problems arise. For example, managers should expect employees to attempt to resolve conflicts among them-selves. However, as a Clinical Nurse Manager, you need to realise that you may be asked to assist when a serious problem arises on the unit. The Nurse Manager is looked to for leadership and support. If the manager responds by disappearing, crying, or exploding, the staff will have diminished resources for handling problems.

Motivate and empower staff
Change is a necessary part of business, even the business of health care. As a Clinical Nurse Manager, you need to find ways to motivate and involve staff. If you display a hopeless, cynical, or dispassionate attitude, so will the staff nurses. The effective Clinical  Nurse Manager is involved with the nursing staff on all levels, welcomes their input, and works with them to ensure excellence, create autonomy, and increase job satisfaction and opportunities for advancement. 

Be available and accessible to staff
Admittedly, meetings and other managerial responsibilities are important, but the nursing staff needs to know that their manager is available when needed. Acknowledging and incorporating staff suggestions, whenever possible, is also important to nurses.

Be a great communicator
Effective communication is one of the most important tools for a leader or manager. Information should be conveyed in a clear manner. Staff should be informed of expectations and upcoming changes (not reprimanded after they've unknowingly done it wrong), be given timely and accurate information and updates, be listened to, and receive positive feedback. One of the most frequent complaints from nurses is that their managers only talk to them when they are in trouble. The nursing profession has a reputation for "eating its young," and breaking this cycle can begin with positive interactions from their Nurse Manager. 




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