please advise charge nurses - page 2

by danaheil

My husband is a new nurse. He has been on a medsurg unit for less than 6 months. He has already been asked to assume charge nurse role, and feel unprepared to do so. He has had no training or orientation to charge. His... Read More


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    Yes, he can refuse if he feels unprepared. I've only met one new grad nurse that has felt prepared for the role of charge/team leader, etc. Most take the position kicking and screaming and under estimate their skills. I was asked to do charge at six months and said the same thing. Sooner or later it sounds like he's working in a place where this is the RN role.

    All that said, it's only been six months and he indeed might not be ready. What is the difference between charge and what he's doing now. Often it's just merely making assignments, especially if the LPNs are independent like they are here in Florida.

    The staffing sounds fairly normal for night shift for that kind of unit. An RN and two LPNs is fairly decent. It might get tight if they are full and have an RN and LPN and an aide, which means 8 patients apiece for the nurses. But 8 patients apiece for night shfit for non-critical patients is the normal around here.

    Bottom line of what I'm saying, he shouldn't let fear and lack of confidence rule his decision. But if he's truly not comfortable and feel he's putting himself and his patients at risk, he needs to refuse. The consequence might be he is asked to leave, or go to another shift.
  2. 0
    Your hubby should immediately ask to speak with the HN and request CN orientation, but remind them he is a new nurse and does not want the responsibility of charge at this point in his employment. He might just back that up by looking into transfer openings. This is a warm body dump position, he will never hear about all of the good work he does and will be nailed to the wall when times are bad. Just my opinion.
  3. 0
    Thanks guys,

    We appreciate all your responses.

    Dana and Harlan
  4. 0
    So, let's see. The hospital staffing gets to fill a much needed roll - score for them. Your husband is put into an unfair, stressful situation in which he's grossly underprepared and his license will be in jeopardy. All of this during his first year of his career. Sounds like a fair deal to me! (Can you sense the sarcasm?)

    He's still trying to learn the ropes of being a nurse himself, and they expect him to put his license on the line for others? At my hospital, no one is considered to start training for charge until they have 2 yrs under their belt. That's totally unfair to expect a new grad to take on that responsibility.

    In order to protect himself, he should refuse it. It's not a "promotion" - it's the hospital's selfish way of fulfilling their need, at the possible expense of your husband's career. I wouldn't even want to work at that hospital. It's a red flag that they can't find anyone with experience who wants to be charge.
  5. 0
    Right on,

    I totally agree with you, anne74. I worked for this company in my first year of nursing and they did the same thing to me. It was a big part of why I left. Yesterday when my DH went to work they once again told him that he would be charging that shift. He refused and people were shifted around by staffing to fill the needs. Why didn't staffing just do this in the first place? He has e-mailed his supervisor to say that he would not be charging and to tell staffing to stop placing him in this position. I guess we'll see what happens tonight and what is to happen with the supervisor later.
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    All that said, it's only been six months and he indeed might not be ready. What is the difference between charge and what he's doing now. Often it's just merely making assignments, especially if the LPNs are independent like they are here in Florida.


    Tweety, I work in Florida too (Miami). Here the RN must do the assessment, IV push drugs, and hang blood. When I was still working as a floor nurse, the RN split the assignment with the LPN. Many RNs just split the number of pts in half by room numbers. However, I was not comfortable with that kind of split (unless I was working with the 30-year veteran LPN). If we had 12 pts, I would take 5 most acute & give LPN 7 pts with lower accuity. In my opinion, the RN is paid more for a reason. If I just split the rooms in half, and did not work in conjunction with the LPN, s/he should be paid same as RN. The responsibilities are different.
  7. 0
    Sure take the job, not. I was asked after being on the floor for one year and refused saying I felt I did not have the experience. Another nurse was also asked and took the job (same experience). I saw codes where the charge was supposed to take charge and I saw a pt die because it was not handled correctly. It wasn't until after the code I realized why. Experience is needed and the only reason we are doing what we are doing is for the pt and safety first. If not safety I move on fast.


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