Charge or Night Nurse: To be or not to be

  1. I just graduated from a PNP program with no previous RN experience. I am choosing to work as an rn for a while simply because I want some experience and I really enjoy thw work. I have an opportunity to work at a long-term care facility as a night-shift rn (7p-7a)(3d/wk) or a full-time day time position (8h qd) as a charge nurse. As a new nurse would it really be prudent to start right off the bat as a charge nurse? I know I would learn a lot but friends have told me how stressful working charge can be. This floor has 45-60 patients with trachs, on vents, paralyzed, with wounds, tb, etc... so it is a combination of acute care and long-term care. Any advice? Personal experience making similar decisions as a new nurse?

    (Side note: If I work the night shift I might pick up a day or two at a local pediatric clinic).
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    I'd strongly recommend against taking on charge duties as a new nurse. The learning curve for an experienced nurse taking on the charge role is pretty steep... it would be like Mount Everest for someone with no experience. You need to be able to do the job and know the nuances of it before you can supervise someone else doing it. How would you make assignments if you don't know the complexities of a specific procedure or disease process? What do you know about trachs or vents? Have you ever seen autonomic dysreflexia? I'd really suggest getting your feet wet with bedisde care for a couple of years and then think about being in charge.
  4. by   eymilin
    Thanks a lot for your response. I have talked to several people after posting this today and definitely feel like it would be climbing Everest, and them some. Human Resources is going to get a call tomorrow with a request to put me down as night shift nurse only.
  5. by   sabrn2006
    Good luck in your new job. I think getting some experience first is a great idea. :spin:
  6. by   gt4everpn
    well i'm a new grad (pn) and i work nights,so i'm the charge, but i work in ltc and the nights are mostly quiet except for a resient acting up, but that's about it! your unit seems very intense, trachs, vents etc... you made the right decision to get some more experience first, good luck, have fun!!

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