charge responsibility?

  1. 0
    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 notified them of my availability at 0800 this morning and shift change starts at 7am.)

    I walk through the door and voila, I have been assigned as the charge nurse. The regular charge nurses were out sick or with family issues. The problem is that this happens rather frequently on our unit. We are a small hospital but tend to stay very very busy. As a result, we feel the effects of any missing staff members.

    i really don't want to do this very often and don't know why we don't have a different back-up plan. (well, i mean other than, the last one who gets there in the morning is stuck with charge. )

    also, we aren't being compensated well for our forced participation in this particular assisgnment. I.E. we only receive a bit over $10 for a full day of insanity.

    Does anyone have an idea how I might speak to my supervisors about my own personal discomfort with being the charge nurse?

    Some of the other nurses are very upset and verbalize feelings of being used--i.e. they are not good enough as charge nurses except as a last resort.

    thank you in advance.
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  3. 14 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    Dear gentle,
    Is there alot of responsibility that goes with the charge? In my facility, mind you we are a smaller hospital, and my unit is only a 10 bed CCU, there really isn't much to the job, just make assignments and assign beds if we get a patient. Everyone knows what has to be done, and somehow, it just gets done.
    But if you are uncomfortable, set up a formal meeting with your supervisior and explain to her that you are uncomfortable taking the charge position, especially if you get to work late. Tell her your concerns, why you are uncomfortable, and just let her know that you don't want to do it. Period. Don't be rude, but you must be firm. Give her valid reasons, not just "so-and-so doesn't like me and she won't listen to what I ask her to do".
    Best of luck, I hope that things work out the way you need them to. Keep us posted!!
    :angel2:'s RN
  5. 0
    Dear Gentle,
    I feel your pain!!! I use to sit charge on my old floor, now I refuse. ( I have only been in charge 2 times in 4 yrs) On my unit the charge nurse is responsable for all 34 Pt's. We make all the Dr. calls, look at all the rhythme strips, and basically handle ALL the problems. Oh yea, and make the assment for next shift and call for staffing.(this list goes on)
    Please set up a time to talk with your manger and voice your concerns, And tell her that you are uneasy doing this job.
    Your floor should have a charge nurse in place at the start of the shift. When you come in over 1 hour into the shift it is impossible to dig yourself out of that hole
    Good Luck
  6. 0
    We have this problem on my unit too - nobody wants to do charge.

    IMO, it's not something you should have a choice about. But it IS something you should be trained and oriented for. I think if everybody who has worked there beyond a certain length of time gets oriented to the charge role, the load gets shared more evenly and it's less of a big freaking hassle.

    If nobody wants to do charge, it's up to your manager to take the leadership, find out why and change the culture.

    If you don't feel comfortable doing charge, explain to your manager why and ask for proper training for the job. That might help you feel better about the whole thing. I think if being in "CHARGE" is made out to be a "big deal", it gets to be a scarier animal than it really is.
  7. 0
    In our ER you may be designated the team leader or charge nurese ( or whatever you fancy being called) Usually it's a well seasoned RN asn or bsn, but really someone who knows how the er really works and very astute to pt care as far as er care. They take no pt's per say but will chip in with iv's mixing/hanging drugs. They are notified everytime a urgent/emergent pt is admitted to er, they try not to get bogged down into deep pt care cause they have to be available throughout the er and the fast track side too. They also arange for transporting pt to and out of the er to other hospitals, but in all in a buckett they just make sure the er shift is ran smotthly so the unit manager wont have to deal with anything when he gets to work in the morn so he can sit in his office and play games on the computer all day. I'm very fortunate to work in the er with a couple of real good team leaders, they'er very smart from yrs of tried and true exp. and education, and they are not the type of charge nurses that just sit in the office and play on the computers and are awol half the shift or come up mia during a code or something. There are few things better than coming into work and looking on the assignment board and seeing a good team leader name on there..
  8. 0
    If no one wants to be Charge then there is a much more important issue here. There is a reason that no one wants to be charge. That is what should be addressed. Not all hospitals. not all units have this problem. Usually their are people who want it, even prefer it.

    So you have much more going on that is stated here.
  9. 0
    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for your feed back. Luckily today, one of the other ladies was charge. but even at that I showed up to work early to decline the offer in case it was made. (Okay, so I'm avoiding this experience.)

    Pebbles, I quite agree. If I have to be the team leader, then I think we should all take a turn. Unfortunately, this is not the case. And quite honestly, I do think my manager would be agreeable to me taking the position.

    Meanwhile, my other colleagues are either feeling like the "charge nurse whore" or "I only do this because no one else will do it."

    I personally cannot handle all the yelling/stress that goes on. The one thing I have noticed is that our charge nurse catches the yelling from all departments and doctors and on occasion our nurse manager. My thought is no thanks. Apparently, some of my colleagues think the same thing, hence our problem.

    But alas, Agnus, I do believe you are correct. It seems a bit more issues are present than I thought. It's hard to see when you are in the middle of something.

    We have many seasoned nurses. As I recall previous conversations, many of my colleagues and myself just prefer bedside nursing.

    Hmmm, well, we can't all walk in and say that we hate the role of charge etc. and I can't very well do that myself -- or can I? How to word this one. Maybe it will come to me later.

    Thanks everyone for your feedback, I have been successfully avoiding this issue for a long long time. I wonder what else it is that they want from me and my colleagues?

    Oh well, I need to go to bed. off to work tomorrow also.

    p.s. sorry if this is so spacey. i'm tired.


    And then there is the pay issue. The people who are consistently asked to step in as charge are only paid a bit over $10 in addition to their base pay for the whole shift.
  10. 0
    Quote from 12hrnites
    Dear Gentle,
    I feel your pain!!! I use to sit charge on my old floor, now I refuse. ( I have only been in charge 2 times in 4 yrs) On my unit the charge nurse is responsable for all 34 Pt's. We make all the Dr. calls, look at all the rhythme strips, and basically handle ALL the problems. Oh yea, and make the assment for next shift and call for staffing.(this list goes on)
    Please set up a time to talk with your manger and voice your concerns, And tell her that you are uneasy doing this job.
    Your floor should have a charge nurse in place at the start of the shift. When you come in over 1 hour into the shift it is impossible to dig yourself out of that hole
    Good Luck

    Hmm, after reading your post, I should just be glad I didn't work with you. That sounds like abuse to me. There is no way one person could possibly handle all the stuff they threw at you. I'm sorry you had to go through that experience.

    We have someone who does the staffing and everyone tries to make their own Dr. phone calls when possible. But yes, I do think we are responsible for all 32 patients, 10 staff members, and everyone else who comes up to our unit. And yes, we are expected to handle problems that come up and solve them, as well as make the bed assignments, breaks, patient assignments, order notation, double check unit secretary for order entry and perform all re-entry/corrections . . . etc.

    Hmm, I think perhaps you guys have it much more rough than we do.
  11. 0
    Ive done Charge nursing for 80 percent of my career
    I dont do it anymore
    prefer plain old pt care
  12. 0
    [quote=gentle;2254290]Hi everyone,


    Meanwhile, my other colleagues are either feeling like the "charge nurse whore" or "I only do this because no one else will do it."

    I personally cannot handle all the yelling/stress that goes on. The one thing I have noticed is that our charge nurse catches the yelling from all departments and doctors and on occasion our nurse manager. [quote]



    What in the world is a charge nurse whore????? :angryfire

    And no one should be yelling at anyone. It is the responsibility of the one being yelled at to hold up her hand, like a stop sign, and say, very courteously but firmly, "I cannot allow you to yell at me. When you are calmer and can treat me with dignity and common courtesy, we can try again to talk. In the meantime, I will be ..." whatever you need to do. It will be uncomfortable for you the first time you do it, especially if you feel that the person can hurt you. Let me assure you, though, that the person will more likely develop some respect for you and some insight into what an arse he or she is being. You can assert yourself, Gentle. You must assert yourself and advocate for yourself so you gain some self-respect and some respect from the others.

    You can also try humor. "Mary" or "Dr. Smith, you are going to blow a gasket if you keep getting so angry. I will be glad to help if you will calm down so I don't have to worry about you winding up as my patient." See which approach feels better and seems to fit the situation better.

    Then you can deal with the CN issue. Get an orientation to it, do not take anywhere a full assignment along with charge responsibilities, and learn it and do it. :spin:
    Last edit by TrudyRN on Jun 17, '07


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