Due to the high demand for health-care workers, more people are venturing into health care services. Today, health care experts such as nurses and care takers enjoy higher compensation and more job opportunities compared to professionals in other industries. Hospitals are not the only institutions to employ these professionals. Some venture into private nursing services, particularly to rich patients.
The chief nurse supervises and coordinates nursing activities in a medical facility. He assigns duties, coordinates nursing services, and conducts evaluations of all nursing activities ensuring patient care, staff relations, and efficiency of service.
Duties and Responsibilities
The chief nurse is an administrative position at a hospital or any medical center. Registered nurses advance to this position after proving great responsibility and providing excellent service. Generally, a chief nurse is responsible for mentoring and supervising the entire nursing staff.
It is also the duty of a chief nurse to ensure his unit’s compliance with the standard practices and consistency of procedures across the various clinical settings. He leads the nursing and health care professional staffs to ensure highly reliable quality care service in a cost effective manner.
Other tasks include managing the operations of his unit and developing strategies to improve the quality of patient care. The chief nurse also gets involved in the inspection of rooms and wards for cleanliness and comfort. He is also in charge of the preparation and maintenance of patients’ clinical records.
It is the chief nurse who creates and maintains a nursing environment that is based on exceptional clinical services and education.
The chief nurse is accountable for assuring that his unit provides exceptional health care service to the patients. To become a chief nurse, candidates must complete a Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree in nursing, qualify for a valid license as a registered nurse, and have nursing work experience of at least three to five years.
Most prestigious medical employers require a Master’s degree in Nursing and a minimum of 10 to 15 years of experience in providing nursing care. Others may also require an additional degree related to management.
Skills and Training
A chief nurse must possess strong communication skills, patience, and self-confidence. This trait is critical to work effectively with clinical and administrative staff. He should have the makings of a leader and display strong leadership skills and commitment to service improvement in all departments.
The ideal chief nurse should have a sense of urgency and presence of mind to act on emergency situations and resolve them rationally. He should be knowledgeable in his profession and must be familiar with every aspect of health care in various departments.
Work Conditions and Salary
Chief nurses are always on call 24/7. The schedule can include weekends and holidays, according to patients’ needs.
The salary may depend upon the applicant’s experience, size of the health care facility, skills and expertise, and the location. The average yearly pay of a chief nurse ranges from $80,000 to $200,000. He also receives benefits, which includes medical insurance, dental insurance, retirement plans and packages, and others.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/