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Nursing Management - Careers in Nursing

Management roles are an integral part of the modern healthcare landscape, including Matron, Director of Nursing, Service Director, Nurse Manager, and Charge Nurse.
Written on 4/30/14

Managerial and administrative roles are an integral part of the modern healthcare landscape. As nurses make their way into management roles, they can expect a wide variety of challenges - dependent on their position and level of responsibility.

If you are planning a career in nursing, read our guide to some of the nurse manager jobs you may encounter as you move up the professional ladder.


Matrons are responsible for overseeing the nurses in their hospital ward and ensuring patients receive optimal care at all times. They are also responsible for maintaining their working environment, preventing infections, improving cleanliness, facilitating treatments and acting as leaders for junior nurses. Matrons may work outside the hospital setting - travelling out into the community to work with young, elderly or less-mobile patients. To become a matron, candidates must first be registered nurses (which involves completing an undergraduate nursing degree) and have around three to five years experience as a staff nurse on the wards. A matron can expect a salary of over £30,000.

Director of Nursing

Responsible for an entire hospital facility, the director of nursing job description involves significant administrative responsibility and an ability to communicate effectively across every level of a professional healthcare environment, Focusing on small details and larger issues simultaneously, directors of nursing liaise between nurses and physicians, monitor budgets and implement management strategies. Like other management positions, directors must be registered nurses with an undergraduate degree - and will also have demonstrated a track record of professional success. Directors of nursing can command salaries over £60,000 to £75,000.

Service Director

Working within larger healthcare organizations, service directors take responsibility for  a particular service within their facility - such as surgery, accident and emergency or paediatrics - and manage the nurses working within it. Like a director of nursing, a service director must be a capable administrator - dealing with resources and budgets on a daily basis while communicating with other departments within the hospital. Service directors work in a wide range of environments and, in their capacity as managers, must be able to adapt to the specific challenges of each. Registered nurses can apply to become service directors, but candidates are expected to have several years of clinical experience. Salaries for service directors can rise above £65,000.

Nurse Manager

Nurse managers perform an active, hands-on role within a hospital, with a direct responsibility to their nursing colleagues and charge nurses. Nurse managers work to recruit and retain other nurses, collaborate with doctors to maintain standards of patient care and carefully manage finances and budgets. Versatility and flexibility are important traits for any nurse manager - the position requires employees to be able to handle a diversity of challenges and situations on a day-to-day basis. Registered nurses can apply to become nurse managers after gaining years of professional clinical experience - and can expect salaries of £25,000 to £35,000.

Charge Nurse

Charge nurses, also known as 'Ward Sisters', work on hospital wards, assessing patients and directly planning, implementing and evaluating their care. Reporting to nurse managers, they are also responsible for directly supervising nursing staff in a line management role - dealing with budgets and resources within a defined clinical environment. Anyone applying for a charge nurse position should hold a degree in nursing, hold (or be working towards) a management qualification - and hold leadership or clinical educator qualifications. A charge nurse can expect a salary rising to around £30,000.

Click here to see our Nurse Management Vacancies.