Question for charge nurses

  1. Lately my nurse manager and the shift coordinators on my unit have been pressuring me (in a friendly way) to get trained in as charge nurse. I have been resisting for many reasons, mostly having to do with the fact that I enjoy direct patient care and don't think I would like dealing with staffing and admission issues.

    What I would like from you charge nurses out there are reasons you like working charge. What advantages does it have? Do you think it improves your direct care, or is it as much of a pain in the glutes as I think it is?
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   LilgirlRN
    Unless they offer you a small fortune, don't do it would be my advice. I was a charge nurse for 12 years, occasionally I still am, but only if no one else will do it. Up until a few years ago, our charge nurses took patients along side everyone else, now they don't unless we are overwhelmed with patients which happens a lot now. I was offered the paper pushing position when we switched over, I turned it down, even though it meant a large pay increase. Like you, I enjoy doing patient care, not going to meetings on how to get overworked nurses to work even more.
  4. by   tillie1
    I agree, if you don't think you want it and you still enjoy bedside nursing, don't do it!! It took me having a melt down in my managers office to convince her that i didn't want and couldn't handle what was expected of me in relief charge. That day I was taking a full load, orienting a new grad and charge and it is just too too much. Our younger nurses lok at me like I am crazy when I tell them tht after 32 years I still prefer bedside nursing! I do relief charge, as the last poster said "only as a last resort"! Good luck with your decision!
  5. by   mattcastens
    Thanks for the input so far. I should clarify, though, that this would not be a full-time position, just one or two shifts per pay period at most. As for pay, I would get a whopping $1.25/hr extra when working charge.
  6. by   Q.
    On my floor, being charge doesn't require you to do any other outside meetings or anything like that at all. It is strictly a figurehead, and someone to do staffing and assignment decisions.

    We aren't paid extra to do it, but I chose to do it because I thought it was good experience for me to have to make those kind of decisions: basically to keep the unit running smoothly and safely (as best as possible).

    As charge we TRY to take the lightest load (an overnight labor induction for example) so that we will be available to assist in other patient care duties; an extra set of hands in case of an emergency, etc. And and OUR floor, you learn to get very creative being in charge as you have to use everything you have to switch assignments around etc to avoid having to MOT yourself and your staff.

    I thought it was good experience. And I still do.

    And by the way, our charge is a rotational thing per shift. There is a pool of us who are "charge nurses" who take turns being the one in charge for that shift. Which is also nice, as usually there is another nurse familiar with the charge role that you can consult.
  7. by   KatWright
    If I am in charge why is everybody laughing? It's a cute book.

    Whenever a new experience is offered to you, do you accept it or decline?
    With all new experiences, you should look at your own goals (short term as well as long term) Do you want to stay at the bedside? Do you want management? Do you want a change?

    I have done bedside for more than 25 years on a variety of units and I have enjoyed it. I found my true love in the Oncology area.
    I am constantly learning about the cancer care, new drugs, new treatment techniques. But I also know that someone has to be in charge, so I will take my turn along with the other experienced nurses. It can be a headache, but it can also be fun.
    I have also found that the nurses that consistantly complain about the charge nurses' decisions are the ones that should also be oriented to this role.
    I am sure that you could handle the responsibilities of the CNA or Tech or housekeeper or secretary ( not that you would want to !!)
    so why souldn't you know how to handle the responsibilities of the charge nurse.
    Besides, you may find that you are VERY good at it.
    So, give it a try, learn a new skill, add something to your resume, have fun !! And then if you really don't like it, let your boss know. Nothing lost, but qiute possibly, alot gained !!
    Good luck and have FUN!!!!
    Kat
  8. by   PhantomRN
    You just need to look around at the other people on your unit doing charge. Do you want to do what they do?

    I have done charge, it is no big deal. Admin just makes it sound like it is. At our place charge is a figure head as well, we assign patients to rooms, make the schedule for the next shift. They would give us a buck an hour to do charge......yippee. But you also get the stress of getting crap for everything that went wrong on your shift. (I changed floors to get out of the role)

    Now after saying all that I would recommend that you do it if you feel ready. It is a good experience.
  9. by   mustangsheba
    In many of the hospitals where I work, the charge nurse is expected to take off all the orders and put them in the computer, put out fires, stop the buck, and take a patient load. They spend a lot of time on the phone. I have worked charge and you would have to pay me a lot more than what they're offering you to do it again.
  10. by   LadyNASDAQ
    Do it, do it!

    You need to know this side of the fence, trust me. This is a very important step in Nursing because this is added to experience you should have.

    As for me, I am a Travel Nurse. It adds money per hour and also, assures that the Unit is smoothly run because the nurses working in the ICU are new. The old ones have and are still quitting in droves where I work.

    As for me, this is old hat. I have a good understanding of where I work and yes, I know he policies and have my contacts to go to for any answers needed but it is always something when a hospital recognizes you to lead and you need to know for your own sake.
  11. by   hadit
    You might like it never know until you try. They must think you have good organizational skills as well as good clinical skill. Someone has to do it. Now for the pay they offer to do it ...not worth the HA's.

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Question for charge nurses