What does a Head Nurse do?

Learn all about Head Nurse duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Head Nurse.

Photo of Brenna Goyette
Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

A head nurse is responsible for the overall clinical care of patients in a hospital or other healthcare facility. They may also be responsible for supervising other nurses and support staff, as well as coordinating patient care with doctors and other members of the healthcare team.

Head Nurse job duties include:

  • Supervise and delegate tasks to nursing staff
  • Ensure that nursing staff are providing high-quality patient care
  • Evaluate the performance of nursing staff and provide feedback
  • Serve as a resource to nursing staff on clinical issues
  • Develop and implement nursing policies and procedures
  • Collaborate with other members of the healthcare team to ensure coordinated and comprehensive patient care
  • Monitor patients' progress and response to treatment
  • Identify potential problems and intervene to prevent or resolve them
  • Keep abreast of developments in nursing care and incorporate them into practice
  • Provide leadership and support to nursing staff

Head Nurse Job Requirements

A head nurse is a registered nurse who has advanced training and experience in nursing. They may have a bachelor's or master's degree in nursing, and they must be licensed by the state in which they practice. Head nurses typically have at least five years of experience working in a hospital or other healthcare setting.

Head Nurse Skills

  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Organization
  • Critical thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Delegation
  • Supervision
  • Time management
  • Documentation
  • Patient advocacy
  • Patient education
  • Collaboration

Related: Top Head Nurse Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Head Nurse

There are many ways to become a head nurse. Some people are promoted from within their organization, while others may need to seek out new opportunities. Regardless of how you become a head nurse, there are certain qualities that will help you succeed in this role.

First and foremost, you will need to be an excellent nurse. This means being able to provide high-quality patient care and being knowledgeable about all aspects of nursing. You will also need to be a good leader. This means being able to motivate and inspire your team, as well as being able to effectively manage and delegate tasks.

If you have these qualities, then becoming a head nurse is definitely something you should pursue. There are many benefits to this role, including the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of your patients and the chance to lead and shape the future of your nursing team.

Related: Head Nurse Resume Example

Related: Head Nurse Interview Questions (With Example Answers)