Types of Nurses: The Ultimate Guide to Nursing Levels and Its Hierarchy
Types of Nurses - Levels of Nurse
The employment rate of RNs (registered nurses) will grow 7% between 2019 and 2029, as per opinions from industry experts, no other field of occupation is going to be witnessed such tremendous growth. Hence, a registered nurse must learn about the nursing hierarchy (types of nurses or nursing levels), if they want to scale up the career ladder. Whether you have recently joined this profession after completing your nursing degree or have worked in this field for a few years, you may benefit from the following information.

Staff Nurse

This is a generalized description. It is used in order to refer to any registered nurse who works in a healthcare facility. The staff nurse works side by side other members of the healthcare team in order to treat the patients and to manage the health conditions of the patients of all age groups. The responsibilities of the staff nurse are determined by the employer.They are supposed to have the following skills.
  • Interpersonal and communication skills
  • Knowledge on the field of specialization
  • Knowledge regarding the scope of nursing practice that is defined by the state board of nursing

Charge Nurse

Charge nurses control a particular shift of ‘staff nurses’ within a medical facility alongside performing the patient-care duties of a staff nurse. However, a charge nurse performs a variety of tasks. They act as a liaison between staff nurses, other nursing supervisors and other members of the hospital administration.They are supposed to perform the following tasks.
  • Supervising the managerial and administrative tasks
    • Coordinating the schedule of staff nurse
    • Covering call-ins
    • Managing a team of staff nurses
    • Ensuring everybody under his/her supervision complies with the hospital policies
A charge nurse is also supposed to work as patient advocates and is supposed to have the following skills.
  • Leadership, communication and organizational skills
  • Experienced in nursing
  • Empathetic, composed and confident personality

Assistant Nurse Manager

Assistant Nurse Managers make sure that all nursing operations run smoothly within a healthcare facility and each department. To work as an Assistant Nurse Manager, it is essential to have at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing alongside having at least five years of experience in clinical nurse.They are expected to perform the following tasks in general.
  • Provide administrative support for the nursing manager as well as the nursing department.
  • Oversee the daily operations of their units.
  • Ensure every patient is receiving adequate care.
The details of their daily tasks are as follows.
  • Providing assistance with patient care
  • Communicating important information to the doctors
  • Communicating with all healthcare professionals of a facility
  • Relaying important information regarding treatment and care to the patients
  • Assisting the nursing staff with sorting out various issues (behavioural problems of individual employees, the interpersonal conflict between staff etc.)
  • Resolving patient complaints
An Assistant Nursing Manager may be in charge of training and educating the nursing staff. They must –
  • Find out areas for training and coordinating the regular training program for nursing staff
  • Conduct orientations
  • Manage staff meetings
  • Meet with the staff educators and administrators
  • Gather feedback on training
  • Coordinate the programs associated with Preceptorship and Internship

Nurse Manager

The primary duty of a Nurse Manager is to manage and supervise the work of the nursing staff within a healthcare facility. They may have other advanced degrees in nursing alongside having the experience of clinical nursing.It is also possible for a nurse who has enrolled in a master’s level program to apply for the position of Nurse Manager. However, a Nurse Manager with a master’s degree will earn more than a manager who has recently enrolled in a master’s degree program. It is also helpful for a nurse manager to complete an MBA if he/she wants to ascend on the career-graph.A Nurse Manager has the following responsibilities.
  • Determining schedules for employees
  • Submitting annual performance reviews
  • Assist a healthcare facility with the development of various policies within a unit and managing the budget of each unit
  • Interviewing/hiring new nurses
  • Working with new employees
  • Maintaining liaison between the employees and hospital administration
  • Collaborating with the medical staff
  • Managing disciplinary action
  • Attending administrative meetings
  • Executing the mission of a healthcare facility and serving on various committees

Additional Read:

How to Become a Certified Nurse Midwife

Nursing Director

A Nursing Director may be known as a Director of Nursing, Director of Nursing Services (DONS) or Director of Patient Care Services (DOPCS).An aspiring candidate for the position of Nursing Director is supposed to have the following qualification or qualities.
  • Master’s degree in nursing or other advanced degrees in this field
  • Specializing in the work of a department (mental health, emergency room, oncology etc.)
  • Experience in clinical nursing
  • Experience in executing administrative tasks
A nursing director is supposed to execute the following duties.
  • Working with patients, healthcare providers and other members of the staff within a healthcare setting
  • Managing the budget
  • Supervising clinical services within a department
  • Reporting to the Chief Nursing Officer

Chief Nursing Officer

The designation of a Chief Nursing Officer or Chief Nursing Executive is the highest position for a nursing professional. A CNO directly reports to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who holds the topmost position within an organization. The primary responsibility of a CNO is to develop strategic plans for administrative tasks and to guide a healthcare facility in the right direction.A CNO is supposed to have the following qualifications and qualities.
  • years of experience in clinical nursing
  • Record of excellent performance in nursing and administrative field
  • Master’s degree in nursing or higher qualifications


A Registered Nurse has many options available in order to scale up their career graph. However, it depends upon a nurse’s educational qualification, interests and the level of work experience. Registered nurses have the opportunity to work in different healthcare settings, such as hospitals, private practices, ambulatory surgery centres, clinics, and assisted living facilities to name a few. With the increase in demand for Registered Nurses in the coming years, the opportunities for experienced nurses is limitless.