Norwegian municipal health care has large public service offerings, funded by tax revenues; however, the current Norwegian welfare model is not perceived as sustainable and future-oriented. First-line nurse managers in Norwegian municipal health care are challenged by changes due to major political and government-initiated reforms requiring expanded utilization of home nursing. The aim of this theoretical study was to describe challenges the first-line nurse managers in a Nordic welfare country have encountered on the basis of government-initiated reforms and to describe strategies to maintain their responsibilities in nursing care. First-line nurse managers' competence, clinical presence, and support from superiors were identified as prerequisites to maintain sight of the patients in leadership when reforms are implemented. The strategies first-line nurse managers in Norwegian municipal health care use to implement multiple reforms, regulations, and new acts require solid competencies in nursing, leadership, and administration. Competence in nursing enables focus on the patient while leading the staff. Supports from superiors and formal leadership networks are described as prerequisites for managing the challenges posed by change and to persist in leadership positions.