Being Charge

  1. I feel bad now, but I shouldn't. How could I have better responded to my LPN's the other night. I assigned a patient to one of them and she immediately yelled at me asking why she was getting the patient. I said to her, "Because it is your group's turn and we each have six patients." It wasn't good enough for her.
    The other LPN made a snide remark about a float nurse passing my meds. It was earlier in the shift and we each had eight or nine patients and were one nurse short. The float nurse was told they didn't have to take a group by supervisor and told me they would pass meds and do admits. He just happened to start with my meds since they were the first rooms. I just blew that remark off.
    Later, the same LPN told me she was leaving the floor to get a bite to eat and that she had paged a doc 30 minutes prior. I was running, running and asked her to give a quick report to one of us who wasn't so busy because I didn't have time to talk to her doc if he called. Or, I said, take your phone. She about lost her temper and walked away and didn't go eat after all. She's pregnant, but that's not my fault, is it?
    I hate being charge!!! It seems like I can't ever do anything right and work myself to death and few of the others are ever happy. The times that I have taken on extra to appease their fussing, they were later sitting around all caught up and I continued to run crazy! I'm ready to quit my hospital, but I know it won't be better anywhere else. I'm ready to quit nursing, simply because I'm so sick of the co-workers crap!
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  2. 24 Comments

  3. by   Disablednurse
    In the future, divide the patients between the other nurses and only take 2 or 3 patients yourself. That way you will be able to cover them when they go to eat and if something happens you will be free to cover it. Do not give them something to argue with you about.
  4. by   longforseaair
    I would love to take fewer patients but we are not allowed to do that. And supposedly, all charge means in our unit is making bed assignments, but it always eats a lot or time because the staff expects us to do all the problem solving, helping the newbies, and orienting the agency nurses.
    If I took fewer patients, they would call the house supervisor or write me up and I would be in trouble.
    And, since they were already mad because they felt like I was being unfair, I imagine it would make things worse.
    But, I agree with you, I feel that the charge nurse should have a smaller patient load. At some of the other area hospitals, the charge nurse takes no patients. And we are a busy heart floor.
    It's very tiring to get no respect, esp. at a chore that I don't want anyway.
  5. by   askater11
    At our facility the manager has E-mailed us and told us charge nurse takes less patients.

    I think you should talk to your manager. Explain to her the circumstance as you have to us. Tell her you don't want her to talk to this other nurse at this time but you'd like some ideas how to relieve so much stress on yourself...or else she might reassure you how well you are doing.

    You know there's always going to be one or two nurses angry....and they tend to vent at who's around them. Since you're in charge and must communicate with all the nurses...you might be treated as a scapegoat.
  6. by   teeituptom
    Howdy ya;ll

    Ive been there, probably at least 80 percent of my nursing time has been in a charge or associated administrative position. And I can say with out any doubt in my mind that I will never do it again under any circumstances. Been there done it and done it,
    and Nevermore
  7. by   Agnus
    Originally posted by bbqchick
    I would love to take fewer patients but we are not allowed to do that. And supposedly, all charge means in our unit is making bed assignments, but it always eats a lot or time because the staff expects us to do all the problem solving, helping the newbies, and orienting the agency nurses.
    If I took fewer patients, they would call the house supervisor or write me up and I would be in trouble.
    And, since they were already mad because they felt like I was being unfair, I imagine it would make things worse.
    But, I agree with you, I feel that the charge nurse should have a smaller patient load. At some of the other area hospitals, the charge nurse takes no patients. And we are a busy heart floor.
    It's very tiring to get no respect, esp. at a chore that I don't want anyway.
    As charge and as the RN it IS your job to ADVOCATE. You are in charge. Take charge. You are allowing your LPNs to bully you. First you must advocate for your staff in explaining that you will be takeing fewer patients so that you can problem solve and orient new and agency staff, and so you can relieve your staff for breaks.

    Being Charge is more than making out assignments. You do not get called charge nor the token charge pay to make out assignment sheets.
    Part of doing assignments is insuring that the assignments work.

    If you do not deal with your supervisor yourself you are correct in believing that your staff will.
    Yes you are caught between a rock and a hard place. EVERYONE in a management or supervisory position is.

    You know better than anyone what will and will not work. If you refuse to address this as it should be you will be taken advantage of by both staff and management.
    :kiss :kiss
    I know I sound very harsh. I have been there and I care. The reality of being charge is harsh. You have what it take to do this and I do not thing you believe that.

    Those nurse who have a hard time in this position are pleasers. They feel they must make nice. Keep your friendships for your personal life. It is not you job to please your staff. They may get mad. That is their decision. Right now they are getting mad as a way to manipulate you, because they found this works.

    This is a very tough job. It is not easy and is not just doing assignments. If it were you would not be writing this. It requires you to use some different skills than those you use as a bedside nurse. You need to step out of your comfort zone and as a professional discuss it with your supervisor. Policies, routines, job discriptions can all be rewritten if necessary. The way that happens is if you, the person who is closest to the problem, approach this in a proactive manner. You can do this. It is solvable. It takes courage and you have it. Take a stand. Or be stood upon.
    Last edit by Agnus on May 5, '03
  8. by   ShortFuse_LPN
    Very well said askater!!

    I allowed myself to be pushed around when I first started working charge. Until I realized that not only was it not fair to me but the nurses and CNAs that didn't bully where being left with more of a workload. I think that once I realized that it was unfair to the others, it was easier for me to stand up to the bullies.
  9. by   nimbex
    Does you facility offer any charge classes, anything like conflict resolution classes?

    Because you have the clinical skills to supervise, doesn't mean that supervisory skills are automatic.... it's SOOOOO tough!!!. Sometimes management forgets that nurses need training like the above to succeed in difficult situations.

    Because while in charge you have so many more responsibilities, you MUST delegate more. Be comfortable in that, taking on more, because it's "easier" than dealing with these people is almost hiding from the problem. I know you can do it!!!!!!!!

    Wish you well, we all deal with people like this, let us know what happens.
  10. by   altomga
    At my facility we are "floating" unless there is a call out and no one will cover the hole. I work nights and am also considered the management at that time. Making assigments is the easy part. I have to make pt movements happen, follow-up with nurses, CNA's, secretaries, etc when something goes wrong or has to be confronted. I consider myself an extra hand to the staff. I will pass meds, start IV's, do admission's, transport pt's off the floor for x-rays, CT's, etc, whatever I can to make sure the staff's night goes smoothly and they get out on time. I will intervene with the MD's when the nurse themself is not comfortable confronting them yet. I will help the secretary by taking off orders, stuffing charts, putting names on the doors, etc. When we are short a CNA I will do the vitals, etc. I enforce policies. Our staff has a had time remembering to put on isolation gowns (for contact pt's), but as soon as I walk into their area they jump out of the room and apologize or say I was just shutting the IV pump up. I remind them that it doesn't matter they are to wear their gown. There more things that I must do, but if you know what they are. Being charge is not all it's cracked up to be all the time.

    I don't make myself to be a "great" charge nurse, but I do what I can. Do I make people mad.....OH GOSH YES....If I know it is because they were in the wrong, or if there were legitimate reasons I had to do something I will explain it to that person, if they are still mad, well I can't help it.

    You will make people mad when in charge. They will not understand the reason why you did what you did.

    Somethings will be able to be ingnored. Other things you will have to confront face on. You are the charge and the staff should respect that position. You will have to have the "B"s to do the hard stuff to.

    Take any classess for leadership skills, conflict-resolution, etc...they should help some

    Good luck!!
  11. by   Chaya
    bbqchick:
    I hear you. When I have to do charge, my feeling is "Just shoot me now"! The long and short of it is you CANNOT possibly do charge without at least one, and usually more, people getting pissed off at you. That being understood, take a deep breath and trust your good judgement to do whatever is best for the unit overall.
  12. by   P_RN
    A suggestion. The prior shift makes the oncoming shift's assignment? Day shift ANM/Chg makes the evening and night AND the next day's assignments.

    And try grouping your rooms so people don't fall all over each other going from room to room. 1-10 sounds a lot better than you have 17A ,17B 24, 28A, 14, 01, 03, 09, 21A 21B. doesn't it?

    If you have a discharge, you WILL get an admission in that room. It works out in the end.

    Put a dry marker board for the nurse to write who s/he called and about whom. If they have to leave or aren't able to take then call they MUST leave you a report as to why they called.

    And I'd rather have a root canal than be in charge, but hey you only have 32 teeth.....
  13. by   sjoe
    bbq writes: "I would love to take fewer patients but we are not allowed to do that."

    So you are a charge nurse, but are not "allowed" to decide on your own patient assignments?

    Here's a quote from Bob Schieffer's "This Just In:"

    page 125--'The first requirement for being a successful manager is to make sure, first, that you have the authority to carry out your responsibilities and, second, that your people know what's expected of them.'

    If these requirements are not being met, your are putting yourself in a lose-lose situation.

    Remember:
  14. by   redshiloh
    You don't have to take that kind of garbage! Can you write up the screamer for insubordination?
    I remember what a psy MD told me as a supervisor"what is fair to one person won't be fair to another"
    So make the assignments and refer the complainers to the NM

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