Help with being forced to charge...

  1. I am a new nurse. I graduated in December 2003 and received my license in Feb 2004. I am a LPN. I work in a small town hospital in GA where us LPN's do the primary care. I work 7p-7a. My problem:

    A couple of the girls I graduated with also work with me on the same shift. We are all new and recently we have been approached about charge nursing on night shift. Recently we had a couple of RN's quit.. and they have yet to find replacements.

    First of all, none of us desire to do this b/c we are all new and not secure with making decisions and being responsible for the decisions we may be asked to make. Also, I swear we were told we as LPN's could only take the charge nurse position in Nursing homes??

    Please help! I need to know what we can use for our defense, other than we are not comfortable in that position, which should be defense enough in my opinion!
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  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   missmercy
    Quote from athensgrrl
    I am a new nurse. I graduated in December 2003 and received my license in Feb 2004. I am a LPN. I work in a small town hospital in GA where us LPN's do the primary care. I work 7p-7a. My problem:

    A couple of the girls I graduated with also work with me on the same shift. We are all new and recently we have been approached about charge nursing on night shift. Recently we had a couple of RN's quit.. and they have yet to find replacements.

    First of all, none of us desire to do this b/c we are all new and not secure with making decisions and being responsible for the decisions we may be asked to make. Also, I swear we were told we as LPN's could only take the charge nurse position in Nursing homes??

    Please help! I need to know what we can use for our defense, other than we are not comfortable in that position, which should be defense enough in my opinion!
    I would get ahold of a copy of your state's nurse practice act -- see what kids of roles and tasks they include within your "Scope of practice" I know that nursing homes (LTC in general) tend to have different rules that apply then acute care -- not sure exactly what the differences are though.

    What concerns me even more than the legality of it (is legality even a word?!) is that it doesn't sound like your institution is listening to your concerns! If you are uncomfortable (not just nervous) about being thrown into a role that you feel is either inappropriate for your licensure or skill level and have voiced those concerns: your institution should 1) check with the BON to find out what the standard is and 2) offer you additional training ie: shadow a charge on another floor or shift to learn the additional responsibilities, or provide an inservice on delegation, time management, prioitizing and or team building......

    I applaud you for questioning things that you are not sure of! It sounds like you are a fabulous addition to the nursing profession! Find out what your scope of practice is -- stay within it and be FANTASTIC!!!! Best wishes! Let us know how things play out.
  4. by   Nurse Ratched
    Agree with Missmercy - here LPN's charge in ECF's but not on hospital units (certainly not because I haven't seen my share of excellently qualified LPN's, but because it a nurse practice act thing.)

    Check into it a bit further. And good for you for standing up for yourself and what seems inappropriate bullying on the part of your management.
  5. by   RN34TX
    Quote from athensgrrl
    I am a new nurse. I graduated in December 2003 and received my license in Feb 2004. I am a LPN. I work in a small town hospital in GA where us LPN's do the primary care. I work 7p-7a. My problem:

    A couple of the girls I graduated with also work with me on the same shift. We are all new and recently we have been approached about charge nursing on night shift. Recently we had a couple of RN's quit.. and they have yet to find replacements.

    First of all, none of us desire to do this b/c we are all new and not secure with making decisions and being responsible for the decisions we may be asked to make. Also, I swear we were told we as LPN's could only take the charge nurse position in Nursing homes??

    Please help! I need to know what we can use for our defense, other than we are not comfortable in that position, which should be defense enough in my opinion!
    Miss Mercy gave great advice. I too graduated in Dec. 2003 as an RN and I still feel that I am not ready to charge and have made that clear to my manager. I had years of LVN experience prior which my previous manager felt qualified me to charge as a new RN but I said "No way."
    A charge nurse needs to be an experienced knowledgeable (spelling?) resource person for the staff to go to for questions and guidance. Some of course, feel that they are there only to answer the phone and make out assignments but that's not what they were intended for.
    Checking with the GA nurse practice act regarding LPN's in charge positions (and be sure to point out to them that you would be doing this in the acute care setting, it could make a big difference).
    But even if they say it is allowable by state guidelines, ask yourself if you are ready to be in this role at your stage of your career. There are many things in the nurse practice act that I am "allowed" to do, but not all of them are things that I have been appropriately trained to do. Nursing school does not cover everything there is to know about nursing. We all worked too hard to get our licenses to just jump in and take on things that we may not be ready to do until we grow more into our roles.
    RN or LPN, it's probably not appropriate to put someone that new to the profession in a leadership role. But management doesn't always see it that way, they just want coverage for the floor. It's up to you to protect yourself.
  6. by   MandyInMS
    WE are all..reguardless of title..entitled to refuse to accept that which we are NOT comfortable with..to accept responsibility is just that...being responsible...I know it's hard to say NO sometimes, but stand your ground..best wishes (((hugzzz)))
  7. by   athensgrrl
    I forgot to post a follow-up, we had a meeting. The DON said she doesn't know why it was said that we would charge, b/c she wouldn't ask that of us being new nurses and all.... perhaps she should talk with the ADON who sent the email saying we would be charging.. hehe! So blah blah blah... it's settled. I don't work there anymore... not b/c of problems, I moved out of state!

    Just to let ya know...

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