charge nurses

  1. The first hospital I worked at the charge nurse was a perm, full time position. She rarely took pt's unless needed and was responsible for holding down the floor. She was a resource if needed. The hospital that I am at now uses the regular nursing staff as "resource nurse" They are counted in staffing and take the same amount of patients which can be anywhere from 8-10 tele med surg patients. I find it difficult to go and seek out the resource nurse for advice or help when they are usually extremely busy of their own. The nurses keep saying that the hospital would never pay for a full time charge nurse position. Just curious how other hospitals handle this issue.
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   donmurray
    Such positions are the norm across the UK. Charge Nurse/ Ward Manager is the usual title. The gender specific "Sister" is being phased out.
  4. by   shannonRN
    on my floor if days is adequately staffed, then charge doesn't take patients. and usually when they take patients it is all of the discharges for the day. on evenings it all depends on who is in charge. when i am in charge i try to take 1-2 patients less than the rest, so i can be a resource to them. some will take a full load, while some may only take 1-2 patients. on midnights charge takes the same load as everyone else.

    i think it would be wonderful if the charge could just be a resource for all of the staff...help with turning patients, passing meds, answering call lights, talking to docs...but with the nursing shortage, i don't think that will be a reality. i will keep my fingers crossed just in case!
  5. by   dazedandconfused
    I am the chare nurse on my unit. I have always had patients, no matter what census was. There were times that I would have a light assignment, butr those days are long gone. If we have 4 nurses for our unit on days we are very lucky. I still am the resource for nurses, nsg students, sec., and med students.
  6. by   hapeewendy
    at our place, which by no means should be the benchmark of proper staff utilization ...
    the charge RN on days does not have patients he/she deals with orders, floor issues , admin stuff etc, on evenings ideally the charge RN does not have a pt assignment either , but will be given some patients if we are short staffed
    and of course, the nights get the shaft again
    the charge nurse on nights has a full team of patients plus has the desingation of being "in charge"
  7. by   CEN35
    ummmmmmm....yeah! tonight, i was charge, helped the medic cover thru-care, room 4 and 3 hallway patients and triage! excellent eh?

    me
  8. by   prn nurse
    In my hospital, days = no patients= 7a-7p

    7p-7a, charge usually takes 1-2 patients...

    If you need a second opinion, a little input or advice, don't worry about asking the charge nurse or another nurse.
    Even though they look busy, it only takes a couple minutes to ask a question and for the charge to formulate a response.

    An experienced nurse can assist you with a problem without upsetting her routine.

    I can assure you that the charge would much prefer you interupt her routine and ask for her opinion than to proceed and then ........................ later have to sort things out. Especially if an error was made.

    #1 rule of all charge nurses: It is EASIER to prevent a
    problem/ error than it is to try and undo the damage.
    Please ask questions !
  9. by   cmggriff
    Wow Rick where can I go to such excellent working conditions?
    Gary
  10. by   Anaclaire
    I left the floor where I worked because of the same charge nurse situation where the charge nurse was a regular nurse with as many patients as everyone else and also had to do all the charge responsibilities. I simply got sick and tired of it. By the way, this was at a 630 bed hospital in Georgia.

    I went to an ICU where the charge nurse didn't take patients of her own except in a real pinch for only a short while. It was simply a pleasure to work there. Lots of us "old timers" would rotate as charge nurse... there wasn't one or two specific ones for each shift... It was great! I love intensive care nursing!!!
  11. by   bellehill
    At my hospital charge nurse is just like any other nurse. Many times I have been charge, had my own patient load and been orienting a new nurse. Not a good situation...I am leaving in a month. :spin:
  12. by   Scavenger'sWife
    My hospital used to have perm charge nurses, and then dropped it for some reason. (Money? Nurse shortage?) Then on my med-surg-tele floor, we started a "float" nurse who works 11A - 11P. She has no patient load, helps with all things other nusres need assist w, does the admits then turns them over to the assigned nurse, etc. Now the staffing is reconsidering a perm charge nurse position. I was approached about the job, and said I wanted to see the job descrip 1st. Will they drop the "float"? Sounds like the same job to me. I worked the float for awhile and liked it a lot.

    Currently the "in-charge" RN takes full pt load. It can be a nightmare at times. The other day I was in-charge, orienting a new NA,an LPN, and 13 patients. For this I got paid $3.00 more an hour.
  13. by   Love-A-Nurse
    at the last hospital i worked, the day charge nurse was full-time and did not take a patient load,(she has taken one when staffing was short). on the other two shifts, the staff rns took turns being charge, however, they also took a full pull patient load along with all the other responsibles that a charge has.
  14. by   Agnus
    I'm with you PRNNURSE on this one. As charge I take patients and am still a resource. PLEASE PLEASE come to me with your questions comments concerns feed back or your needs for feed back or to just bounce something off me. Like you said much easier to prevent a problem.
    A few weeks ago an RT overstepped his bounds and gave a psyco family member some informationa about a CBC report then the RT came to me and said I should clean up his mess. (KILL)

    If your charge nurse cannnot handle her job as resource for you she needs to delegate more and speak up. However, we get very good at juggling multi tasks very quickly as charge. Don't underestimate what she can handle. True some days are worse than others but that is why we all try to support each other.

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