Charge Nurse Role

  1. I have a question regarding the role of a charge. Since I am new to the profession I am unclear of this.

    I had a patient ask me if the charge nurse is my boss. I had said no, assuming my boss is the nurse manager. Later a coworker had told me that the charge nurse is my boss. She is in charge of me. I had always thought that the charge nurse is in charge of the unit - where patients are assigned, who is assigned to which patients, days off, etc. I understand they should be in the charge role-making unit decisions and whatnot. But do they pull rank when your job is on the line?

    Thanks for the clarification!
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   VA nurse 2003
    I also am new to the profession. In our institution, rather than looking at the charge nurse as being my boss, I think of her more as being my support person. We do have some power hungry people who really seem to get a rush from the title, but for the most part, those who are "charge" are the ones that I trust to give me nswers to any questions I might have. It is their responsibility to "run" the floor and make the assignments, but they are also there to help out when there is a problem.
  4. by   altomga
    Quote from VA nurse 2003
    I also am new to the profession. In our institution, rather than looking at the charge nurse as being my boss, I think of her more as being my support person. We do have some power hungry people who really seem to get a rush from the title, but for the most part, those who are "charge" are the ones that I trust to give me nswers to any questions I might have. It is their responsibility to "run" the floor and make the assignments, but they are also there to help out when there is a problem.

    At my facility the charge nurse is the supervisor of the unit...that includes making staffing assignments, patient assignments, assisting staff when needed, answering questions, enforcing policy and procedures, etc....It is not all it is cracked up to be!!! The best thing for you to remember is that yes the charge is your supervisor, but there IS A CHAIN OF COMMAND....follow the chain if you have problems, issues!
  5. by   rn-jane
    I have been a charge nurse for about 3 years. I look at my role as supervising the unit, supporting my staff nurses and handling any crisis that is happening with the patients, families or staff. I feel my staff looks at me for guidance and to run interference with there is a problem on the unit or with mgmt while my manager is absent.
  6. by   RNKPCE
    Where I work the charge nurse is rotated to all those trained, there is no rhyme or reason for who is in charge when or how often. I never feel like I am anybody's boss when I am in charge. I am just in charge of rooming patients, figuring out how much staff is needed next shift, and I am the person other units call when they want to send us patients. I am also the person others turn to when they have problems with their patients or complaints. I have responsibility those 8 hours but not much authority. Our unit has a nurse manager that does little if any clinical, she handles all personnel issues and major problems, she and her secretary do the schedules etc, she does the budget, and has to deal with the big wigs in management.
  7. by   Tweety
    I primarily view myself as the same way rn-jane does. I am my manager's representative when she isn't there. When there is "disciplinary action" to be done, i.e. write-ups, etc., I'm expected by my manager to do those. I do the night shift's evaluations. Many of my peers do look at me as their "boss" because there is no other "boss" there at that time, so unlike batmik above, I have responsibility and authority. I don't always like being boss though and would rather take care of patients. Seem no matter where I go, I fall into this role, as if it's a gift I have.

    So it can get down to semantics. Depends on what you describe a boss as.
  8. by   Mike RGN
    It seems that the role of Charge Nurse in the UK is different.

    The Charge Nurse/Ward Manager is the senior Nurse in the Ward/department and is responsible for all issues to do with the unit including hiring and firing, budgets etc. They have to follow Hospital policies etc eg the disinplinary procedure.
    They are part of a chain of command

    Hospital Board
    Chief Executive
    Directorate Manager
    Ward Manager/Charge Nurse
    Junior Sister
    RN
    Nursing Auxillary

    The are other chains within the Hospital such as the Medical staff which runs

    Hospital Board
    Chief Executive
    Medical Director
    Consultant/Specialist reg
    Registrar
    Senior House Officer
    House officer

    The Hopital board comprises of the Chief Executive,Directorate Managers and Medical director. In addition the is also a number of laypeople on the board

    It all sounds confusing but I sure one day it will work!!!!!

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