Career Resource: RN vs Nurse Leader vs Nurse Manager

Written by Madison School of Healthcare On Friday, 29 December 2017. Posted in Healthcare Insights, Nursing

Career Resource: RN vs Nurse Leader vs Nurse Manager

When it comes to variety, nursing has it covered. Career opportunities are broad and expansive. According to some reports, there are over 100 nurse specialties! Understanding a few of the basic differences between key nurse positions can help you plan your career. To make it easier, we've broken down the differences between being a registered nurse (RN), nurse leader, and nurse manager below. We hope it's a helpful career resource for nurses like you!

What Does an RN Do?

RNs are a central part of a patient's care team. They treat and educate patients, and assist doctors in ensuring patients get better, stay healthy, and have a great experience. These nurses' duties can include anything related to assessing health needs, developing and implementing care plans, and keeping clinical records. While RN's have two choices in education and training, an associate degree or a bachelor's degree in nursing, more and more employers are requiring a bachelor's degree for new nurse hires. This push for more education is prompting many RNs to enroll in RN-BSN programs.

What Does a Nurse Leader Do?

Nurse leaders can be found at every level of nursing. These are the people who earn the respect and trust of their team through effective communication, stellar interpersonal skills, and their ability to influence others for the good of patients and the care team. There is no specific degree needed to be a nurse leader. But, a commitment to continuous learning about the best practices in patient care can help. Plus, asserting yourself as a leader in your team may help pave the way for future promotions or career advancements.

What Does a Nurse Manager Do?

This role used to be called a head nurse, but today is more commonly referred to as nurse manager or nurse director. A nurse manager is in charge of a team of nurses and oversees everything to make sure everyone has what they need to provide excellent patient care. Nurse managers have varying responsibilities, often acting as the hub of the nursing wheel. They oversee personnel, including supporting professional practice and employee engagement, manage budgets, and ensure organizational goals are being met. To become a nurse manager, nurses need a bachelor's degree, though some employers may require a master's.

Ready to take the next step in your nursing career? Learn more about the Madison School of Healthcare RN-BSN program.

About the Author

Madison School of Healthcare

Our community comes first – explore our student- and alumni-contributed content to get the inside look at online learning, healthcare careers, and beyond. We share real perspectives from healthcare students, professionals, and industry experts to keep you up to date on the healthcare space and set you up for success in your career.