One year in...time to charge?

  1. A little background on me: I graduated last May, passed boards and started working in July and finished orientation at the end of September.

    My manager (new to the unit and hospital started in April) pulled me into her office last week and told me that she wants me to orient to charge by Christmas. Something in my gut tells me its too soon but the charge nurses on the unit are confident in my ability (or so they tell me!). The idea of it freaks me out but I don't want to seem as though I'm not a team player. We don't see many codes on my unit (I work peds) and just recently took and passed PALS. I feel like I definitely need more experience under my belt before I take this on...

    Any advice or opinions out there for me?
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   anne74
    There's no harm in starting the orientation process and learning more about it. Maybe once you gather more information you'll realize you can do it. Or, if during the orientation it seems too overwhelming, just tell them you don't feel comfortable yet and want more time. Just because you start the orientation process doesn't mean you're locked into being the next charge nurse.
  4. by   vamedic4
    Farmgrrl,
    You are the one who knows yourself best. I have worked in peds for 12 years and have seen situations like the one you describe.

    Bottom line...as the charge nurse, you are responsible for the nurses on your unit as well as the children. It's not just the care of the children you will have to deal with...staffing issues, parent issues, and other things will test your abilities and your knowledge.

    It certainly doesn't hurt to "orient" to charge, but make it known if you do not feel comfortable at any stage of the game.

    Until then, get yourself some great experience and enjoy working with the little one's.

    vamedic4
  5. by   neetnik461
    I don't think the one year time frame is that unusual. In my unit they begin orienting the new staff to charge after one year including new grads (and we are an ICU). I will be leaving my current position for a new position just a couple of weeks shy of the one year mark, but during the interview for the new job (LTACH/rehab) I was told that within a couple of months they would orient me to charge.

    So, I guess there is no getting out of it! I feel nervous about the idea too, but I know it is an important part of my growth as a nurse.
  6. by   FarmgrrlRN
    Well, I worked my first shift orienting to charge. It wasn't too bad, opened my eyes to what all of the responsibilities are! Of course, it helped that we had a secretary all night long...hopefully on my next shift there will be no secretary so I can learn how to admit pts on the computer, etc before i'm released on my own!
  7. by   justavolunteer
    I'm not a nurse, I'm 'justavolunteer' (on a pt unit). At my last volunteer spot, everybody had do start the charge nurse rotation after 6 months there. The new person was usually paired with an experienced nurse at least 2 or 3 times. Even after that, they could ask for help & someone would guide them.
    Most of the time, charge nurse isn't a real big deal (easy for me to say, I know). It's the days where there's a whole bunch of discharges & new admissions that drive the charge nurse batty. She will be constantly called to assign a new pt. bed & decide which nurse will take the new pt. Even on those days, other nurses often would try to help out. There have been days where I spend a lot of time as a volunteer helping the charge nurse by running errands, taking things to her pts, etc. on really busy days. Usually, unless everyone on a unit hates you (not likely), other nurses will be willing to help you. Good luck!
  8. by   llg
    Some units like you to begin being in charge while you are not the "senior person" on for your shift so that you can learn role and begin to help out with those responsibilities while still having resources available on your shift should you need them. That's a good way to grow. During a routine shift, you will need little help and learn to function independently in the Charge Role. But when you need help, there are still nurse on your unit who have plenty of experience to help you out.

    If you wait to be "fully ready" to be in charge, you may find that most of the nurses on your shift have less experience than you and can't be of much help when you need it.

    Sometimes, new nurses need a little push to move up to the next step. That can be a good thing ... as long as there are people nearby who can back you up as needed.

    llg
  9. by   dragonflyRN
    Less than a year with my hospital, I am in charge often. I used to hate it. I tried to please everyone....but it does not work that way. No matter what. someone willl complain about their assignment. I am over that. If they put me in charge, I do my best to look after all the patient's...until i take an assignment. Then my patient's come first, charge second.
  10. by   Tweety
    If supervision thinks you're ready for charge, more than likely you are. Most people resist the idea and think they aren't ready, and do a great job when put in charge.

    I was scared and nervous and felt incompetent when I was put in charge six months, now with lots of experience, I see that's the experience of most people when they are first put in charge, no matter how long they have been a nurse.

    Do it! Good luck.
  11. by   slou!
    Sorry to kind of interupt the thread with a question, but can someone explain to me what a charge nurse is? Sorry, just a lowly pre-nursing student with a thousand questions here
  12. by   debizrn
    Hi as I say in most of replies remember safety first. Can you safely be in charge of a pediatric unit....if no take the opportunity to orient to the position to show that you are willing to grow but in return explain that you don't feel you are quite ready to take on the responsibility and set up a plan with your supervisor where you both are in agreement to a time limit, never say no just say not yet but willing to get there....this will make you more professional and your supervisor will appreciate your honesty. Debi:spin:
  13. by   tddowney
    Quote from FarmgrrlRN
    A little background on me: I graduated last May, passed boards and started working in July and finished orientation at the end of September.

    My manager (new to the unit and hospital started in April) pulled me into her office last week and told me that she wants me to orient to charge by Christmas. Something in my gut tells me its too soon but the charge nurses on the unit are confident in my ability (or so they tell me!). The idea of it freaks me out but I don't want to seem as though I'm not a team player. We don't see many codes on my unit (I work peds) and just recently took and passed PALS. I feel like I definitely need more experience under my belt before I take this on...

    Any advice or opinions out there for me?
    You mention twice in your post that you feel like you need more experience. While it's gratifying to have the confidence of your supervisor and others, you know your abilities best. Go with your gut.
  14. by   NurseCard
    Ugh, I feel for ya. =) I personally hated being in charge on my Med/Surge unit, but I did it every once in a while. Fortunately at the hospital I worked at, they never made anyone train to be a full-fledged charge nurse until they were ready; however it was still expected that the senior nurse on each shift would kinda assume the role of charge nurse on nights that there wasn't actually a designated one scheduled.

    Where I work now though, I have no choice to be in charge every night, because I'm the only RN on the unit! The new role still kinda freaks me out at times, but I'm settling into it.

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