Charge Nurse responsibilities?

  1. 0
    If you have a charge nurse or team leader, does he or she take any patients? Do you think they should take the same load as every other nurse?
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  3. 17 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    I think that ideally, whoever is "charge" for the shift should have a decreased patient load so he/she can be available to place and assign new admits, problem-solve with other departments, ensure that tasks get done (like crash cart checks etc), be available to assist others, and generally keep track of what's going on.

    In my real world, the charge takes the same assignment as everyone else and about all they have time to do is place admits. Sigh.....
  5. 0
    In our facility, we have a clinical coordinator on each unit from 7a-3p M-F. On our floor, she is also the charge nurse for these hours. We work on a staffing grid. If our census is such that we can have her free without a team, then that is our preference. If not, then she has the same number of pts, and we all have to pull a little closer together to get things done. Evenings and nights...the charge USUALLY has patients. Occassionally (sp?) census and staffing will allow for a CN without pts from 3-11p.
  6. 0
    Our charge nurse almost never has patients. She is responsible for placing admits, making assignments for the next shift, and I am sure a much longer list than that of duties which I am unaware of, besides being available to help any and all of the nurses when needed and often does a good part of histories, etc. on admissions who come up soon after the shift has started. She also has to do all kinds of chart audits and things, I think. A lot of paperwork. A rough job I wouldn't want- people complaining from upper management, and staff nurses complaining to you from the other end. Most of them seem to balance things out pretty well, though, despite all the gossipers' talk to the contrary... of course I've only been there a few months, so I can't say for absolute certain but they're almost invariably helpful for me.
  7. 0
    Our charge nurses almost ALWAYS take a patient load, although a smaller one. Day shift charge nurse will usually take a small load of preferably easier patients and then assign other patients, do various paperwork, help with admits, etc. etc.. Now on NIGHT shift, the charge nurse generally takes the same number of patients, but probably won't take the first admit or anything.
    I have, quite frankly, found the night shift charge nurse designation to be mostly meaningless around here.
  8. 0
    I am one of the charge nurses on my unit. I work days 7a-7p and DO NOT take pts. I work for cardiac surgery stepdown for a very big teaching hospital. I handle bedflow, staff assignments, help out the nursing staff, enter orders, assist the docs with procedures, worry if the OR is going to scream at me b/c they have no bed in the unit..b/c CVICU needs to transfer a pt to me to free up a bed for them..so I have to quickly discharge a pt from the floor in order to keep the OR/surgeons happy. Then there is handling customer service issues...the list goes on. I very rarely sit down. It is almost impossible to take on pts as well. Now, I have been in charge and had to take pts (very rare) b/c there was not a relief for an 8hr shift...so I take pts for 4 hrs. If we are short nurses..my nurse manager takes charge..and at times our clinical coordinators will as well.
    Night shift is a different--the charge nurse has a full pt assignment, however she/he is not responsible for the things the day charge nurse is responsible for. I have placed all the pts and our unit is full. There are no discharges..no families no contend with, no docs/orders to worry about, no fresh postops.
    I hope I haven't rambled too much!! Let me hear an "AMEN" from you other charge nurses out there!!!
  9. 1
    A charge should never take patients except in rare emergency cases. There are too many things on their plate and taking even a partial load is unsafe and inefficient.
    nrsang97 likes this.
  10. 0
    1. Take 1 or no patients.
    2. Get Charge to Charge unit report.
    3. Make assignments.
    4. Schedule breaks/Admission roster.
    5. Round on every patient's room. Checking patients status, looking at monitor,
    IV sites, Tube feeds, Vents...Basically a mini assesment for each patient in the
    unit.
    6. Confer with Nurse Manager/CNS for floor report.
    7. Enter orders/Answer phones/Watch central monitor console.
    8. Be a family liaison.
    9. Send secretary on break/other staff on break if other nurses that's
    suppose to cover is too busy.
    10. Help with admission.
    11. Help physically transfer patients if needed.
    12. Help go to CT scans/MRI if the primary nurse is busy with other patient.
    13. Assesment of ALL the patients on the unit to determine which patients
    meets the criteria for transfer, and present it during attending/fellow
    rounds.
    14. Be a resource for staff nurses.
    15. Participate in patient rounds with medical staff, students, dietitian, social
    workers, case manager, primary nurse...for ALL the patients in the unit.
    16. Be the one to mostly help with turning and changing patients in the unit.
    17. Attend hospital bed allocation daily meeting.
    18. Respond to Code Blues if the staff nurse you assigned is busy.
    19. CHECK ALL THE PATIENTS LAB IN THE UNIT...and remind staff nurse if
    there's panic values.
    20. Double check ALL charts to make sure all orders are signed/carried out.
    21. Decubitus checks/skin assesments for High risk patients.
    22. Tons of other QI.
    23. Keep peace between the staff in the unit(sometimes the hardest thing to
    do).
    24. Last hour round again and make sure the staff doesn't need help with
    anymore baths or turning.
    25. Figure out to staff your own unit by calling agencies/other staff for OT
    if someone calls in. All the while making sure the OT is spread equally.
    26. Sometimes be a preceptor for a new staff nurse while being in charge.
    27. Pick up the other patient from the primary nurse if their other
    patient becomes unstable and watch the patient until the nurse
    is able to pick up her patient again.

    XXXXX I think that's it.....ALL for an extra 1.00 dollar per hour XXXXX

    Oh yesss let's not forget, be the unit gofer. Oh and care for your one patient...The wonderful world of charge nursing.
    Last edit by hrtprncss on Dec 9, '05
  11. 0
    I work nights and sometimes the only nurse on the unit with 2 techs with 10 to 18 patients, this is in behavioral health on the adolescent unit. We always have male security and usually 2-4 other males in the hospital. And I don't even get any extra pay. I do all the admits, discharges, chart checks, MARS, pass meds, and draw labs......
  12. 0
    Quote from hrtprncss
    1. Take 1 or no patients.
    2. Get Charge to Charge unit report.
    3. Make assignments.
    4. Schedule breaks/Admission roster.
    5. Round on every patient's room. Checking patients status, looking at monitor,
    IV sites, Tube feeds, Vents...Basically a mini assesment for each patient in the
    unit.
    6. Confer with Nurse Manager/CNS for floor report.
    7. Enter orders/Answer phones/Watch central monitor console.
    8. Be a family liaison.
    9. Send secretary on break/other staff on break if other nurses that's
    suppose to cover is too busy.
    10. Help with admission.
    11. Help physically transfer patients if needed.
    12. Help go to CT scans/MRI if the primary nurse is busy with other patient.
    13. Assesment of ALL the patients on the unit to determine which patients
    meets the criteria for transfer, and present it during attending/fellow
    rounds.
    14. Be a resource for staff nurses.
    15. Participate in patient rounds with medical staff, students, dietitian, social
    workers, case manager, primary nurse...for ALL the patients in the unit.
    16. Be the one to mostly help with turning and changing patients in the unit.
    17. Attend hospital bed allocation daily meeting.
    18. Respond to Code Blues if the staff nurse you assigned is busy.
    19. CHECK ALL THE PATIENTS LAB IN THE UNIT...and remind staff nurse if
    there's panic values.
    20. Double check ALL charts to make sure all orders are signed/carried out.
    21. Decubitus checks/skin assesments for High risk patients.
    22. Tons of other QI.
    23. Keep peace between the staff in the unit(sometimes the hardest thing to
    do).
    24. Last hour round again and make sure the staff doesn't need help with
    anymore baths or turning.
    25. Figure out to staff your own unit by calling agencies/other staff for OT
    if someone calls in. All the while making sure the OT is spread equally.
    26. Sometimes be a preceptor for a new staff nurse while being in charge.
    27. Pick up the other patient from the primary nurse if their other
    patient becomes unstable and watch the patient until the nurse
    is able to pick up her patient again.

    XXXXX I think that's it.....ALL for an extra 1.00 dollar per hour XXXXX

    Oh yesss let's not forget, be the unit gofer. Oh and care for your one patient...The wonderful world of charge nursing.

    I'm on a medical floor, and I would be really happy if a charge nurse did many of these things when she (we're all females) didn't have patients!


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