*To All LPN Charge Nurses*

  1. Hi all!

    I was wondering what it is like being a charge nurse. What exactly is your job description as a charge nurse? How does one become a charge nurse? Do you have to take any management classes?

    You see at my place of employment, which is the VA Nursing Home, they do not have LPN's as charge. We have 240 residents, 60 res per unit. So on the night shift which is what I work(12-8), there are at least 4 RN's in the building plus a night supervisor.

    I always wondered if being charge nurse is a good thing or not I mean considering what they the RN's have to do, I'm not sure I'd want to be charge.(Alot more responsibility) Do you see alot more in your paycheck for being in charge? I mean new proceedures are being tossed at us like starting IV's, drawing blood,but I don't see the powers that be wanting to pay us more for it, at least where I am working anyhow. I feel as though we are getting the raw end of the stick most of the time. I am at the top of the pay scale now and have nowhere else to go except to school for my RN which is probably what most of us should be doing if we want to that is. Have a fun-filled day!
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  2. 19 Comments

  3. by   duckie
    I work in a Long Term healthcare facility for the elderly and I have been a charge nurse for the 6+ years I have been there. My job description is as follows: I work one half of my hall, administering meds, treatments, doing all weekly, monthly and daily documentations. I also do all new admits, doctors orders, call MD's, incident reports, assessments, CNA assignments, discharges, supervise the staff nurse on the other end, train new nurses, for both ends. I have very detailed assignment lists for the CNA's and update them every couple of days. Anything that happens on my unit goes through me, even if there is another nurse present, however occassionally I have a QMA, which means I must also pick up special procedures they cannot do, such as insulins, blood sugars, breathing treatments, treatments and certain meds, and anything else they cannot do. There are very few RN's on my shift and our House Supervisior is an LPN. I know the RN's make more than I do, even though I am trained and do everything they do but I have no problem with this because they did go to school longer and if I have a problem with it then I should go back to school. I am happy in my position and even though I frequently hear the other LPN's complaining that they don't get paid what the RN's do, I honestly do not think this is a fair complaint. We all knew going into the LPN program that RN's were paid more so if that was a problem, we could have extended our schooling, just like they did. I have furthered my education with inservicing and management classes. I am happy where I am in my job. I currently make $16.50 an hour. I am happy to say that the RN's and LPN's work together with no conflict or ego trips. We are a team and we support each other, lending a hand when things are hectic. I do put in a lot of OT because of being charge, I often stay late to complete paperwork and I also do frequent inspections behind my shift, just to make sure they are doing their job the way they should. I have a great staff and that goes a long ways to make a difference. They do excellent work and I feel our residents are well cared for and even a bit spoiled. I will admit I would like to make more money but money is not why I choose nursing. If it's the big bucks I wanted, I would have went to GM when I had the chance. I guess it all comes down to what you want and how you feel about it. There are pros and cons to being in charge, but for me, I enjoy it. It keeps me on my toes!!!!
  4. by   duckie
    I work in a Long Term healthcare facility for the elderly and I have been a charge nurse for the 6+ years I have been there. My job description is as follows: I work one half of my hall, administering meds, treatments, doing all weekly, monthly and daily documentations. I also do all new admits, doctors orders, call MD's, incident reports, assessments, CNA assignments, discharges, supervise the staff nurse on the other end, train new nurses, for both ends. I have very detailed assignment lists for the CNA's and update them every couple of days. Anything that happens on my unit goes through me, even if there is another nurse present, however occassionally I have a QMA, which means I must also pick up special procedures they cannot do, such as insulins, blood sugars, breathing treatments, treatments and certain meds, and anything else they cannot do. There are very few RN's on my shift and our House Supervisior is an LPN. I know the RN's make more than I do, even though I am trained and do everything they do but I have no problem with this because they did go to school longer and if I have a problem with it then I should go back to school. I am happy in my position and even though I frequently hear the other LPN's complaining that they don't get paid what the RN's do, I honestly do not think this is a fair complaint. We all knew going into the LPN program that RN's were paid more so if that was a problem, we could have extended our schooling, just like they did. I have furthered my education with inservicing and management classes. I am happy where I am in my job. I currently make $16.50 an hour. I am happy to say that the RN's and LPN's work together with no conflict or ego trips. We are a team and we support each other, lending a hand when things are hectic. I do put in a lot of OT because of being charge, I often stay late to complete paperwork and I also do frequent inspections behind my shift, just to make sure they are doing their job the way they should. I have a great staff and that goes a long ways to make a difference. They do excellent work and I feel our residents are well cared for and even a bit spoiled. I will admit I would like to make more money but money is not why I choose nursing. If it's the big bucks I wanted, I would have went to GM when I had the chance. I guess it all comes down to what you want and how you feel about it. There are pros and cons to being in charge, but for me, I enjoy it. It keeps me on my toes!!!!
  5. by   duckie
    Sorry about the double post....my 'puter went nuts, or was it the user????
  6. by   nursedora
    I have worked in two different facilities as a Charge LPN. One for the State of NY. and the other the Facility I work in now. In both, I didn't and don't get a differential for the added duties. (We think we should )

    My duties are different from when I worked for the state. In the state job, I worked nights, so it was giving the aides their assignments, doing the medications and treatments, and lots of paper work.

    In my present position I don't do charge duties all the time. Only when there aren't any RN's to do the work. But the duties are basicaly the same as the other job. I give the aides their assignments, pass the medications and do the treatments, take care of Dr., Pharmacy, family issues. And there is a lot more paper work to do.

    Mostly my job title is Medication nurse. I like that. Less responsibility. Not that I'm afraid of doing the work or anything. But there comes a time in ones career when you want to slow down and take things a bit easier. The pay is no different when I'm doing just the medications or when I'm doing the medications and charge. Just a lot more responsibility.
  7. by   patmostoi
    hey night owl glad to see you again. in reference to title charge nurse. it is only a name it is synonomous with nurse supervisor, floor nurse ect,depending on where you work. if you are in charge of staff you are a charge nurse. in reference to pay-=ha ha ha your kidding righht-get paid more. have a good day. preparation is sedatives when you have to deal with writeups of cenas when mgt say they will back you and don't
  8. by   duckie
    Originally posted by patmostoi
    hey night owl glad to see you again. in reference to title charge nurse. it is only a name it is synonomous with nurse supervisor, floor nurse ect,depending on where you work. if you are in charge of staff you are a charge nurse. in reference to pay-=ha ha ha your kidding righht-get paid more. have a good day. preparation is sedatives when you have to deal with writeups of cenas when mgt say they will back you and don't

    Where I work, each unit has a charge nurse. The "floor nurse's" or "staff nurse's" are the other nurse's that work. There is a pay difference. The charge nurse's are responsible for all staff on the unit, and it is our duty to keep the unit functioning at the most efficient level.
  9. by   momangel29
    Where I work there is no supervisor. We LPNs each have a wing of thirty patients and I feel like an island,its either sink or swim by yourself. When something goes wrong you are to blame if its in your area and when you ask for help you are sinking again. Nothing bad has happened to me but I do not feel secure in knowing when I need something no one is there for me. Our DON says our job description is everything. I feel restless but I am currently in nursing school again and can not make a job change.Being in charge is no fun.
  10. by   nursenel
    your facility apparently has VERY poor leadership in the DON and administrator!!!!!!! Where did the other nurses come from that the are too good to help you?? Whom do you call in a situation where more than one nurse is required? You are getting ready to RETIRE aren't you!!! HA HA Poor thing!! Prayers go out for you and your patients tonight!!!!
  11. by   AJACKT33Z
    I have been a LTC "charge nurse" for 18 yrs . There have been times (like on present job) when the census of the facility dictates who's in charge--an RN or an LVN- generally > 99 pts.( state of CA.) the facility I work in now is a large multi-state corp. I just turned 50 yesterday--I have a secure job - I mean, who would replace me? The workload is unbelieveable, even for me, (I am very fast) and the upper echeleon know it .The DON & administrator wonder what i'll do next--by that I mean that I am not a company man--I don't just go along w/ the mgmt."s idea(s) on what budget cuts are needed. A lot of politics-I've seen & heard so much by this time, I can see between the lines. I am annoyed when dept. heads all of a sudden stop talking when I am in earshot, but tell myself I'd probably be happier ignorant of their gossip/ rumor subjects. The RN I work w/ is the boss, but she is smart enough to stay out of my way--we're proffessionals but each has territoriality(sp?) the other respects --- or I would not stay there.The job would depress new nurses--most of the staff rn's/lvn's are 45+ y/o & LTC veterans. I earn 20.90 /hr and worth every cent of that, but would take 16.00 for less work (59 is the # of pts I usually have---whew!) Not easy.
  12. by   Pannikin1
    I work at a facility in Maryland. Our facility has 3 units, and each unit has it's own charge. At night (I work nights), the charge is the only nurse on. You still function in some charge capacities (ie paperwork, payroll recording, supervising CNAs and Med Techs, and training new nurses) and in some floor capacities (ie performing treatments). Our facility is excellent:roll in that we charges assist each other with anything that we need and in that we have an on-call supervisor that we can contact 24-7. We have a significant pay differential. Non-charge LPNs at our facility make $14 and hour, and charge LPNs make $18 an hour. For those of us who are night shift charge LPNs, the pay rate is $22 an hour . And my mother wondered why I wanted to become a nurse.

    Our facility has all of the great things about nursing (close contact with patients, autonomy, support staff) with none of the pay drawbacks.

    I know that most of my nursing school classmates said that they would never work in a nursing home , but this was the first facility that I worked at after graduating, and I am still there, and happy there.
  13. by   Level2Trauma
    Originally posted by AJACKT33Z
    The RN I work w/ is the boss, but she is smart enough to stay out of my way-
    Just how smart do you have to be to stay out of the way of your EGO.
  14. by   night owl
    eeeeewwwwww!

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