ICU Charge Nurse with Assignment, What do you think??

  1. I asked this question in response to another "charge nurse" thread, but would like to get more replies and opinions. I wonder how many of you who work in ICU require your charge nurse to take a patient assignment (all or most of the time)??

    This is the biggest bone of contention on the unit I work in. I wonder if we are doing something that is unusual or is this commonly done in other ICU's as well?? Our facility allows the decision regarding charge nurse & pt.assignment to be made by the NM. From what I understand our unit is the only one of the 4 adult ICU's that consistently has a charge nurse with an assignment. Actually, if I understand correctly the other 3 ICU's always have a free charge. Needless to say this goes over like a lead balloon in our unit. Our charge has a patient assignment 90% of the time, on both day/night shifts.

    But the bottom line question is: Does your ICU require the charge to take an assignment? What do you think about a charge taking an assignment in an ICU setting?

    Thanks for the input
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  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   rfmages
    I work in an Open Heart ICU and our charge nurses always take an assignment. I dont think it deters the other duties that we have at all, charge is a little bit of extra work for a very little extra pay, but you know I think it is reasonable that the charge person takes an assignment.
  4. by   steelydanfan
    Quote from rfmages
    I work in an Open Heart ICU and our charge nurses always take an assignment. I dont think it deters the other duties that we have at all, charge is a little bit of extra work for a very little extra pay, but you know I think it is reasonable that the charge person takes an assignment.
    Our charge nurses are expected to work the desk, doing orders, telephones, etc. We don't have unit clerks or monitor techs. So, in order to be available to help and troubleshoot, plan staffing and triage, they can't take an assignment, unless a critical admit comes through
    an no one is open for admit.
    I would think that the immediate duty of a charge nurse is to act as resource, and troubleshooter, so I'm not sure she can be free to do that with a pt. load. But it depends on the job desciption at the particular hospital.
  5. by   GatorRN
    I think it depends on the size of the unit and the type of ICU. The MICU I worked in had 27 rooms, some of which were private and others that had 2 pts per room. Our charge very rarely took an assignment.

    She had her hands full with being the resource person, room assignments, phones, red lining orders, etc... She was also the person who responded to all codes, throughout the entire hospital, along with another ICU RN.
  6. by   LilRedRN1973
    Our charge never takes a patient assignment. We actually have 2 ICU's that are split up by about a 2-minute walk from one part of the hospital to the other. In once ICU, we keep all our Trauma patients and have a mix of surgical/medical/neuro. In the other ICU, there are no trauma patients, but instead a mix of surgical/medical/neuro patients. If the charge were to take patients, it would make it very difficult to see how the other unit was doing without leaving their patients for an extended period of time. In the 3 years I've been here, I've never seen charge take an assignment.

    Melanie = )
  7. by   gscott
    Quote from RNnTraining1973
    Our charge never takes a patient assignment. We actually have 2 ICU's that are split up by about a 2-minute walk from one part of the hospital to the other. In once ICU, we keep all our Trauma patients and have a mix of surgical/medical/neuro. In the other ICU, there are no trauma patients, but instead a mix of surgical/medical/neuro patients. If the charge were to take patients, it would make it very difficult to see how the other unit was doing without leaving their patients for an extended period of time. In the 3 years I've been here, I've never seen charge take an assignment.

    Melanie = )
    Hi Melanie,
    I know this is an old thread but the issue keeps coming up. Our system sounds very similar to yours. What sizes are the ICU's you have?

    Thanks,
    Gayle

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