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How to Become a Nursing Supervisor?


The demand for qualified nurses is growing in almost every part of the country. As the field expands, so too does the need for highly trained leadership. Nursing supervisors fill an essential leadership role in hospitals, clinics, and private healthcare organizations. Those exploring how to become a nursing supervisor will find a valuable position with varied responsibilities, from training to providing clinical feedback. These high-level professionals ensure that their unit is running efficiently and effectively to provide the highest quality care to their patients.


Nursing supervisors often begin their careers as registered nurses. Upon completing the necessary steps to become a nursing supervisor, they are able to blend nursing expertise with superior judgment, communication and management skills, and leadership knowledge.


Nursing supervisors take on new challenges, flex their interpersonal skills, offer feedback and coaching to their team, and use their knowledge to make clinical decisions. They ensure that the care provided is top-notch, while also helping other nurses succeed.

What Does a Nursing Supervisor Do?

Becoming a nursing supervisor typically means moving out of a direct care role and shifting one’s duties toward administration. This managerial role is essential for every unit at a hospital to run smoothly.

As the leaders of their team, nursing supervisors work with others in their area of care. They ensure that each member understands clinical tasks and responsibilities, and they provide critical feedback for other nurses, share their professional knowledge, arrange trainings, and support their team as issues arise. Day-to-day tasks often include:


  • Creating schedules. Nursing supervisors schedule and assign nurses to specific patients and tasks and follow up on work results to ensure the highest quality of care.
  • Planning treatment for patients. Individuals in this role interact with patients as well as other nurses to plan and implement a course of treatment. They assist in measuring the outcomes of specific treatments and adjust as necessary to ensure the wellbeing of those in their care.
  • Budget development and oversight. Nursing supervisors are not only in charge of human resources and quality of care, but are also often responsible for their unit’s financials. They monitor expenditures, create budgets, and make changes as necessary.
  • Supervising the work of others. One of the most important tasks assumed by nursing supervisors is selecting, training, coaching, and advising others on their team. They make sure everyone adheres to organizational policies and completes their work successfully.

Steps for Becoming a Nursing Supervisor

While each hospital has its own qualifications for nursing supervisors, there are some standard steps. Nursing supervisors are responsible for the health and wellbeing of patients, as well as for managing a team of nurses. They make sure that patients are well cared for, and that the work environment is positive for everyone on their floor. They learn these high-level management skills through both practice and training.


Before taking on the role of a nursing supervisor, many find it necessary to complete several degrees and significant on-the-job training. Through this process, nursing supervisors gain in-depth knowledge of administrative and managerial practices and best practices in healthcare, and learn vital organizational and problem-solving skills.


To become a nursing supervisor, students often complete the following steps:

Become a Registered Nurse

A career as a nursing supervisor involves intimate knowledge of the ins and outs of healthcare and the role of the nurse in providing patient care. A nursing supervisor manages, coaches, and provides support for a team of other nurses, so it is important that as an aspiring nurse supervisor you begin your career as a practicing nurse. Generally, to become a registered nurse, you must pass state examinations to obtain a license. While it is not necessary to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing to become a registered nurse, it will provide strong foundational skills on path toward becoming a nursing supervisor.

Gain Clinical Nursing Experience

Before stepping into a leadership role, most nurses spend at least three to five years practicing. Having years of clinical experience as a nurse before taking on a nursing supervisor role allows for greater perspective on the responsibilities fulfilled by the team. This is also an opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge of daily tasks, concerns, and problems that often arise.

Earn a Master’s Degree

At a minimum, most employers require a Bachelor of Science in Nursing paired with experience in the field to become a nursing supervisor. However, many employers require that potential nursing supervisors also hold a master’s degree, such as an online Master of Science in Nursing. Advanced study prepares nurses for the increasingly complex demands of executive leadership in healthcare. Studying at the master’s level also offers students the potential to further understand how to deliver quality care to a wide variety of patients, as well as how to navigate the administrative side of this position.

Nursing Supervisor Salaries

Nursing supervisors’ salaries vary by region, experience, and other factors. Medical and health services managers, a category of professionals that includes nursing supervisors, earned a median salary of $98,350 in 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).


As healthcare in the U.S. becomes more complex, nursing supervisors must navigate new demands and challenges. The average salary of nursing supervisors reflects the significant education, training, and continued development required in this position. It is important to note that it is difficult to obtain a nursing supervisor position with only a bachelor’s degree; at minimum, you must have a bachelor’s degree and several years of experience, if not also a master’s degree.

Future Growth of Nursing Supervisor Positions

The healthcare industry is expanding and evolving throughout the country. In fact, according to the BLS, the number of positions for medical and health service managers is growing by about 20% between 2016 and 2026, much more than the 7% national average for all jobs.


This upturn in the need for extensively trained, high-level healthcare providers is largely the result of an aging population, technological advancements, and a rise in personalized medicine. It is the responsibility of nursing supervisors to juggle healthcare policy, practical nursing applications, new technology, problem-solving, and human resource skills every day.

Explore the Path to an Advanced Nursing Career

Are you excited by the opportunity to meet evolving demands, ensure patients’ wellbeing, and guide nursing professionals through the evolution of healthcare? As a nursing supervisor, you could have the ability to make a positive impact on staff and patients alike. If you’re ready to step up into this dynamic nursing leadership position, Maryville University’s online Master of Science in Nursing can provide you with the skills you need to rise to the challenge.


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