charge responsibility? - page 2

by gentle 1,489 Views | 14 Comments

hey guys, I need a bit of advice. No one on our med surgical unit wants the responsibility of being charge nurse. And honestly neither do I. Today, i volunteered to go in for an extra-shift. (Keep in mind, that i... Read More


  1. 0
    We have the kind of climate where people yell. Often the charge nurses.

    In my world, a "charge nurse whore" would be someone who likes to be "in CHARGE" because she likes bossing people around and thinks that being put in that role entitles her to do just that. (IMO, bossing staff around is NOT what the role of Charge was created for.)

    I really think that the climate of people yelling and bossing others around when they are stressed or because they feel like they are entitled to behave like that - changes only with leadership from the manager. Who is the Boss, after all. These people who yell at others and control the climate in the workplace with their yelling, are NOT "the boss". Bu the real person to tell them that has to be the manager.

    In my workplace, I think it's happened BECAUSE the manager has let these people become the controllers, because the manager has not provided involvement and true leadership of her own.

    If someone like the OP doesn't want to be in charge in this climate, it's understandable. But it'd be ideal if someone in that situation could tell the manager all of what bothers them about this unhealthy power dynamic and reinforces that they don't want to get yelled at in a professional workplace. If the manager won't act to change things, you can go higher up the chain, etc.
  2. 0
    Try offering some solutions:

    What are the criteria needed to be designated charge?
    Here, it is at least a year's experience, and several shifts of orientation, plus the passing of the charge nurse competency (one page thing of your duties and that you know enough of the policies etc, for admission, who to call for what, blah blah blah)

    Have charge duty assigned on the work schedule, so the burden gets spread amoung those capable of doing it. Everyone should know ahead of time when thier turn is. Consistently calling in sick on those days should be a matter of discipline. Being called in to cover a sick call should automatically excuse you from charge duties, charge starts at the beginning of the shift!

    Approach the manager about abusive behaviors experienced by the charges, keep a log by date and time, and by whom. Names that consistently come up should be referred to their bosses, the DON or the Medical Director. You all need to come together on this one.

    Have a list of designated duties (a charge nurse job description).
    No patient load.
    Who calls the doctors.
    Who makes the assignments for the day, and for the admissions.
    Demonstrate the importance of what you do in order to negotiate a higher differential.

    Check with your BON, as to whether or not you can be disciplined for refusing charge duties. No nurse is to be required to accept an assignment for which she feels unprepared or uncomfortable with. Since you and others have already been functioning in this role, you may not be able to refuse. If everyone refuses, they might get the point.
  3. 0
    Quote from TrudyRN
    What in the world is a charge nurse whore????? :angryfire
    Well, thus far it has been defined by only one individual: to be wanted to fill the team leader position when no one else can or will. Some individuals, who actually want the position, have been denied the position.

    Does that make sense? I'm trying to say, some of my colleagues feel used.


    Quote from pebbles
    If someone like the OP doesn't want to be in charge in this climate, it's understandable. But it'd be ideal if someone in that situation could tell the manager all of what bothers them about this unhealthy power dynamic and reinforces that they don't want to get yelled at in a professional workplace. If the manager won't act to change things, you can go higher up the chain, etc.
    I do have a buddy who wants to do exactly this--go and speak to our manager together. The key is can we do this calmly and also offer solutions or ideas how to make the situation better? At this point in time, I don't think we can go together calmly. However, I think that we will be able to do so, if I talk to her and explain why we need to stay calm and what our boundaries should be.


    Which now brings me to JBudd's advice.

    Quote from JBudd
    Try offering some solutions:

    What are the criteria needed to be designated charge?
    Here, it is at least a year's experience, and several shifts of orientation, plus the passing of the charge nurse competency (one page thing of your duties and that you know enough of the policies etc, for admission, who to call for what, blah blah blah)

    Have charge duty assigned on the work schedule, so the burden gets spread amoung those capable of doing it. Everyone should know ahead of time when thier turn is. Consistently calling in sick on those days should be a matter of discipline. Being called in to cover a sick call should automatically excuse you from charge duties, charge starts at the beginning of the shift!

    Have a list of designated duties (a charge nurse job description).
    No patient load.
    Who calls the doctors.
    Who makes the assignments for the day, and for the admissions.
    Demonstrate the importance of what you do in order to negotiate a higher differential.

    Check with your BON, as to whether or not you can be disciplined for refusing charge duties. No nurse is to be required to accept an assignment for which she feels unprepared or uncomfortable with. Since you and others have already been functioning in this role, you may not be able to refuse. If everyone refuses, they might get the point.

    Thank you. I like and appreciate your advice.

    1). I do not know of any criteria for this particular assignment. My collegues have told me that there isn't one.

    2). I am partly to blame, for accepting that particular shift. The two other people assigned were legitimately sick. The entire staff is aware of their situations. I agree with you, though. I don't think that I should have been given the position so late in the shift. This is something I will keep in mind to discuss with NM.

    3). Last I heard, individuals hired into the CN position were given a 4-5% increase over their base pay. Those of us, who have been standing in as CN, have not been offered anything more than what was previously mentioned. This is another problem, I think.

    Last, but not least, the yelling thing. Some time back, I was involved in a situation where there was alot of yelling at work. I did my share of LOUD ventilation too. Something inside of me just shut down/stopped after that experience. It was kinda bad for everyone concerned. The whole mess was handled by my NM, whoever that was at the time, and the other nurses, I think. We've all forgiven each other and everything but, I still don't want the raised voice experience anymore.

    Heck now that I look back, we were both at fault.

    I'm fine now of course.

    I apologize that my posts are sooo long but, I need to vent. It helps me to write down what I am thinking and read other nurses' advice.

    I am going to cut and paste everyone's ideas into windows and think about them over a few days to maybe even a week. Then I'll take the best ideas and share them with my buddy(ies).

    BTW, work today was fine. I wasn't CN. :spin:
  4. 0
    I agree that there is a much deeper problem if so many people hate being charge. We never have that problem on any of the floors that I have worked on. Maybe too much is expected of them and the nurse manager needs to step in and change the expectations. Usually on my unit, I check the telemetry strips, check orders and cosign, notifying the primary care nurse if there are any stats, call MD's if the primary nurse is busy, make assignments, help pass meds for any nurse who is getting behind. things like that. It's a 30 bed unit.
  5. 0
    Hello everyone,

    Sorry it has taken so long for me to update everyone. Well, I believed the saga for me had come to an end. No more charge duties . Yeah, I was definitely dancing . Well, at least for a while anyway.

    You see, we opened up a new wing. Please picture my dancing figure up there being run over by a truck. Needless to say, members have moved to the new wing and they were the fill in charge nurse types.

    Soooo, what happened? we are back to the same situation. As yet another nurse is preparing to bail off the charge nurse bus. Our manager has decided to start pulling from our other halls to fill in the missing people. And guess what? We are happy.

    We like our buddies coming to visit and so far so good. Does this mean, I will eventually have to pull charge duties in the future? Yes, probably so. But, I suppose I will survive the experience. As such, I am learning what I can now by watching the charge nurse and listening to what is going on. I'll probably never do it as well as my buddies; and I certainly won't like it. But sometimes, we all have to take a turn. At least that was what one of our very annoyed buddies said when finding out that everyone was running from the responsibility.

    And ya know, my buddy is right, whether, I like it or not. Thanks for all the advice. I'm still saving it.


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