Introduction: In most situations, the terms nurse manager and nurse leader are used interchangeably although they do not have the same meaning. The demanding role of a chief nurse in health care settings has undergone several changes, while some terms like “chief nurse”, “nurse manager”, “nurse leader” are often not distinguished enough and lead to misconceptions.
Aim: To explore and scrutinize the clear definition of “nurse manager” and “nurse leader” and explore the role of these key positions in nursing.
Results: Manager and leader differ in the point of view, the goals and the implemented actions. Managers aim to maximize the efficiency by organizing employers, but leaders aim mainly to influence and inspire employers. Nurse managers try to manage desired objectives of the health organization through technical and interpersonal activities. Their role includes activities like planning, organizing, staffing, controlling. In contrast, leaders focus on empowering others, as well as motivating, inspiring, and influencing others. All nurses are leaders and managers at some grade but an effective leader may not excel at management, and a manager may not be an effective leader.
Conclusions: Leadership and management are two linked terms with different meanings, which are often not distinguished enough. Literature supports that the ideal chief combines both managerial and leadership skills and has specific attributes.
Key-words: administration, health care, leader, manager, nursing