Charge Nurse Position = Required?

  1. As a very new nursing student there are LOTS of things that I'm still trying to understand about the real world of nursing, so I'm just trying to understand something about this position. Several threads I've read have involved new nurses in the role of Charge and (from my perspective) has them floundering. One post I read said you shouldn't charge if you'd had less than a year of nursing experience (sounds logical to me). My question being, is Charge nurse a position that is required of all nurses (like each nurse taking a turn at the responsibility) or is this a position that can be turned down? If indeed you HAVE to take a rotation as charge nurse what is the minimum experience a PRUDENT person would say a nurse needed to have before attempting such a postition? I ask because I recognize that employers are often NOT prudent and just want positions filled at the expense of others. Thanks for anyone's input who cares to reply.

    Just gotta say I love this site. Where else would I go to get my silly questions answered? :icon_hug:
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   Katnip
    It depends on the unit. I've seen nurses made charge a few months out of school and then others have to have a year or more experience first.

    Again, depending on the unit you may or may not be required to have a stint at charge, but most I've seen the position is voluntary and a handful rotate the job.
  4. by   MIA-RN1
    From what I can tell from where I work, and I've only been there almost 6 months, the charge nurse position begins around a year after you start. You get oriented into it, trained in it, and have support for a while until you can do it. That would be the perfect way. In reality, I have a sneaky suspicion that people orient to charge sometimes before the year is up. I am pretty sure that there are both permanent and rotating charge nurses but it seems that almost everyone who has been there longer than me (most everyone!) has been taking turns at charge. I am not 100% sure tho. And I don't want to ask lol.
  5. by   WOLFE
    Where I am..one year under your belt and because it is a tele step down with open heart and trauma one needs to be certified in all the "classes" for the mix of cases we see and also have tele and acls. Training occurs under a senior member..usually asst mngr...then when you are in charge (we all rotate)...it is with senior nurse there as back up...we have been doing it this way and it works...we don't just throw them out to the wolves with no senoir members for guidance...and we all ask questions..doesn't matter how long you have been doing it...I personally find that having been in charge has helped...you be surprised what you learn.
  6. by   berniemcr
    I have been working for 7 months at a child/adolescent crisis unit. I heard talk of my having to learn "charge" but nothing was done. At report one night it was casuually said and B--(me) will be charge from 9-11:30. I questioned this decision and ultimately refused. I was told "I would never sk you without training you" (She didn't ask she just announced it.

    This appears to be coming up again this coming Friday ( I have never heard anything about orientation to charge since then)as there will only be 2 nurses on the floor and the other person is there for 5 1/2 months. By the way there is presently 20 patients (many very acute--behavior wise and we are supposed to be holding at that--we can bed 28) Nothing has been said yet but I will once again refuse and he is scared to death. This unit has a lot of decisions, restraints, seclusions and a very acute population at this time of year. Two employees wound up with broken bones and 1 concussion over the past weekend. I agree they will do what fits them best, but I will not put my job or license on the line when I am not trained to a position. Charge nurses on this unit make a lot of decisions. Anyone else experience this?

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