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Ward Manager - Surgery

Leadership & Management
Career Pathway

Career Directions

  • Clinical Practice
  • Management

Area of Practice

  • Adult Nursing


  • Hospital Care

Job/Role Summary

  • Responsibility for a 23-bed general surgical ward with two post-operative high-dependency beds.
  • Ongoing management and development of nursing services within the prescribed resource allocations ensuring that provision is to a standard which meets all contractual, professional and statutory specifications
  • Performance management
  • Quality monitoring, taking into account cost-effectiveness
  • Identifying development needs and encouragement of a learning evidence-based environment
  • Support of the Trust business plan and in particular Priorities For Action targets each financial year
  • Risk management and safety of the ward environment
  • Participation in recruitment and selection procedures of staff
  • Promotion of an environment of equality of opportunity and mutual respect
  • Acting up as hospital duty officer for two hospital sites approximately 4-5 shifts per month and for one full month per year


Specific qualifications and experience required

Essential Criteria: 5 years' post-registration experience at grade E Management of IV therapies course Desirable Criteria: Management qualification


Career Milestones

After registering I worked in a variety of specialties mainly concentrating in surgery where I enjoyed the pace of turnover and the challenges of wound care. The experience I gained in the first few years post-registration was a good general base from which to choose a specialty. I settled in a male surgical ward gaining an E grade post after two years. I spent a number of years working in surgery developing skills and experience, acting up regularly during the absence of the ward manager. This gave me insight into the job I am currently in and an idea of development needs for the role. I also had the opportunity to participate in a number of projects, some looking at innovation for my ward and others looking at auditing standards of care within the management unit I worked for, which helped feed my enthusiasm for driving forward standards of patient care delivery. This gave me experience in participating in and managing projects which helped future vision. I learned a lot about the value of managing change correctly during that time.


What attracted you to this job?

Ability to change things. Challenge of building a team. Diversity of role. Interface between management and clinical practice. Career progression. Salary increase


Enjoyable aspects of the job/role

  • Management of a team and all the challenges/ privileges that people management brings
  • Increasingly working within the wider team of Allied Health Professionals
  • Being able to influence development of staff and best practice to make the pathway of care for patients a better one
  • Diversity of the job: No two days are the same.


Important success factors

Thinking through my leadership/ management style in a structured way through a business management course and ongoing education and development challenges Having a mentor during my first year that was clinically experienced and skilled in mentoring. We met on a weekly basis at first talking through pertinent issues reflecting on how I had dealt with them and how I might have handled them differently. I learned a lot through this activity. The team I work with. They are an exemplary group of people who work well towards a common goal. Their support is crucial.


Advice for those considering the type of job/role?

You should try to find out about the culture of the organisation and decide whether or not that culture would facilitate any further career progression you intend. Ask for a period of work shadowing or acting up into the position you aspire to. Take on an innovative role within your ward or offer to manage a project of change. Develop good clinical skills in the area you wish to manage. You may even wish to consider a formal education course in that specialty.


Key skills that can be gained within this job/role?

  • I feel I have learned to prioritise and work efficiently as time is always limited in any working day
  • I have gained an insight into the world of management and been encouraged to learn problem-solving skills
  • I have looked at models of change and developed competence in the area of being a change agent
  • I have been encouraged to develop my 'people' skills and become more reflective of my day-to-day practice


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