Forced to be in charge before I'm ready. - page 2

Hello friends, I've been working in my psych unit for all of 5 months. I've been a nurse for a year and a half, and this is my first hospital position. Despite my protesting to my manager that I... Read More

  1. by   nursiepauline
    I too had an issue with being put in charge on a night shift, a week after getting my pin.
    I was called and asked to do a night shift as they were "short staffed" I agreed, then the bank nurse that was on with me was sent to A&E at midnight leaving me the only trained on a 36 bedded ward.
    Of course I complained as I didnt feel compedent or confident being left with this amount of responsibility, but like you say "what is the choice?" I was in a dangerous situation either way. I could not walk out "as I had a duty to care" but if I stayed and something went wrong Id be infront of the NMC. seems I was in danger of losing my pin either way. I had to suffer the shift as It appeared to be the only way out, I feel for you.
  2. by   elkpark
    I started my career in psychiatric nursing (long ago), and was rotating charge responsibilities with the other nurses, on 2nd shift, a few months into the job. It was a basic expectation of all the RNs who worked on the unit. Although I started out being pretty preoccupied with the idea that I was not qualified and someone had made a terrible mistake leaving me in charge, I did have support and resources available to me if needed and it all worked out fine over time.

    I agree with llg and some of the other posters that, if you wait until you feel comfortable about this, that will never happen. It's human nature. You just have to suck it up and do it, and the "feeling comfortable" part will come later.

    Best wishes!
  3. by   RNperdiem
    It sounds as if you are not getting out of being in charge.
    Resistance is futile now.
    Take a deep breath and make the mental switch to the next step.
    What do you need to know to know, what are your responsibilities and resources?
  4. by   tokmom
    What does your role as a CN really entail? Do you take patients? I have been a CN at my previous hospital. It was more of a title though. Everyone had a buttload of pt's and did their own calling of the MD etc.. IMO, it should be done that way. Why put a middleman in between the attending nurse and MD? Anyway, my role then was to the one yelled at by some ****** off MD. That was about it. No orientation with that role at that particular hospital.

    My current role is full time charge on a med/surg unit. I don't take pt's but I do admits, d/c's and education, plus put out fired everywhere. Here are some tips:

    1)If you take pt's, then you can't be everywhere all the time. It's impossible. Let the other nurses make their own calls, and handle the little fires you don't really need to know about.

    2)CN's don't know everything. I'm never afraid to tell someone I have no clue about XYZ. I will look up the common PnP though so I have them readily available or find the answer I need to find.

    3) Don't feel you have to police every nurse you work with. I kid you not, I job share with another FT CN and she drives the nurses nutty on the floor. Constantly in their business to the point they have difficulty functioning. The CN thinks if nurse Betty gives to much pain med, that her license will be gone along with nurse Betty. This causes undo stress for her. Let the other nurses do their jobs

    4)Delegate when you can to other team members. Many times we take on all these duties because we are in charge! I have finally learned to delegate some of it off onto others that have the time. I shouldn't be running around ragged when nurse Suzy is sitting on her arse at the desk.

    5) Talk to your manager and ask for a day of orientation. Pick the brains of others on how they do the job. Once you do it a few times you might start to enjoy it.

    Keep Calm and Carry On!
  5. by   IdrilRN
    I was in charge this weekend for my first time. It was with out warning. Our hospital is expanding so there are a lot of new staff, nurses and mental health workers alike.
    I have a lot going on in my outside life and didn't think I could take that additional stress at work.
    Well all worked out for the best. It was a weekend, so there was no treatment team meeting, no doctors, or social workers, which made it easier. I called the nursing supervisor after report to let her know I'd never done charge (at this place before) and might be needy. She was wonderful. I was scared at first, but I made it through. I was responsible for 15 patients, and the work of 7 MHW's No psych emergencies, no medical emergencies, and I put one of the MHW's in her place early on as she thinks she can take over.

    I had been oriented by following the charge for two days. The person hired for the charge position for our new unit, trained by following a charge nurse for 3 days, and then just being the charge nurse, with the trainer following her, and offering guidance and support as needed. She is now in charge and doing just fine.
    Saturday, was great, and then Sunday was a walk in the park.
    Sorry I couldn't give you the condensed version, but overall I didn't want to do it as I was scared, but now that I've done it it wasn't so bad.

    On a side note..... I think it's very interesting that on the weekend when the docs or social workers are not there, the patients aren't so needy. Although, need some education that the on call doc isn't for routine matters.

    Best of luck to you.
  6. by   Dazglue
    Depends on what being charge nurse means. I became charge nurse for the first time about 3 months after graduation. We alternate. We also take on a full pt load, but our charge nurses only do admission assesments, talk with families if their is a complaints, handles call outs, check fridge temps, and see who all has a foley. Our PCC's handle everything else so after a couple of shifts I was fine with it.
  7. by   CapeCodMermaid
    I had been an RN for less than a month. My first day at my first hospital job. I was informed that since I was the RN, I would be in charge. My protestations about being new were ignored and I was the charge nurse without any orientation. No one died and all was good.
  8. by   OCNRN63
    Quote from cherubhipster
    oh! That 3 years is including nursing school. I guess I shouldn't count that?

    Orientation- two days shadowing another charge. That's it.
    I've never heard of nursing school counting as experience, but things have changed. I've seen posts where people use their clinical rotations as experience.
  9. by   merlee
    Many years ago, I had a class on the balloon pump, and was reassured that I would have 2-3 shifts of hands-on orientation before I would be 'allowed' to do this on my own.

    THE NEXT NIGHT, I came into work and was the only in-house RN in the unit. Yup, you guessed it, they could not assign the balloon pump patient to an agency nurse. Oh, and by the way, I was in charge, too!!! Spent the entire night with my heart racing, scared to death.

    I survived, and the patient made it through the night.

    You will be fine.