Why Nurses Make Good Project Managers


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Project management is a skill that’s needed in any business and crosses all sectors. The healthcare industry is not immune to needing effective project management to keep projects on scope, schedule, and budget.


What is project management?


The official definition of project management as defined by The Project Management Institute (PMI) is “a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.” Project management as a profession was formalized in the 1950’s and is based on processes of the PMBOK Guide (A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge).


A career in project management is often accidental, meaning someone was assigned to lead a project without formal project management training. Nurses are often asked to lead initiatives within their place of employment. If you’ve been in this situation, you by definition, were a project manager.


During the time of your project, you probably asked a lot of questions before you got started. You may have assigned responsibilities, developed a timeline, and imagined what the project would look like when it’s done. If you’ve planned out a project, you’ve already been engaging in the formal phases of project management. The formal phases of project management include; 1. Initiation, 2. Planning, 3. Executing, 4. Monitoring and Controlling, and 5. Closing.


Nurses make great project managers since we are already used to following processes to care for our patients. The Nursing Process also has five steps that we implement on a daily basis; 1. Assess, 2. Diagnose, 3. Plan, 4. Intervene, and 5. Evaluate. In addition to knowing how to work within processes, nurses have experience with responsibility, leadership, supervision, and management. These are all qualities that effective project managers have.


Transitioning to a career in project management can be daunting to a nurse since we’re conditioned to think that we can’t do anything outside of nursing. But I should let you know that it’s completely possible to make a transition. Whether you want to work for a company or branch out on your own, it can be done.


As I said earlier, many project managers are accidental project managers. This is good news for nurses who want to get into this line of work. Why would nurses want to switch to project management? The profession has many positive aspects to consider.


  • You don’t have to be certified unlike nursing

  • You can work for an employer or on your own

  • Many project managers work from home

  • The average U.S. salary is $137,769

  • You can work in any industry as a project manager


If you’re interested in a course that will help you transition to a project manager that goes through A-Z of how to run a project management business, check out the course “How to Project Manage Any Course.” This course is presented by Arielle Hale, a project launch manager who made 6 figures in her project management business while traveling the world with her son. I’ve taken the course and I’ve learned so much practical, real-world stuff that wasn’t taught when I was studying for my CAPM certification. With her course, I’ve gained enough knowledge to hone down my niche and focus on launching my own project management business.


Still have more questions about project management? Stay tuned for more in the nurse to project manager blog series. And as always you can reach out to me via my Facebook group for nurse career changers.

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