Charge nurse

  1. we have a 28 bed med surg floor. Our charge nurse takes a full load because we are usually understaffed and required to take a full pt load. I started working as an RN in OCt 2002. The other week I was asked if I would charge. I said definitely not. There have been other occasions that I clocked in and was told I was in charge and I flat out refused. I don't have the experience or the knowledge it takes to run a floor smoothly. Maybe in a few yrs yes but until then no. Anyone else run into this problem. I have another new nurse like me that charges I feel it is unsafe. What do you all think. Janice
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   webbiedebbie
    Unfortunately, being a charge nurse is not something you earn your way up to. I wish it were. There is usually not much extra compensation for it either, even though there is a lot of responsibility that goes along with it.

    The incentive to be charge should include increased pay. I also feel that there are those that are born to lead. They usually are the ones that do the best at it. I don't have a problem with them being charge.

    Being charge (according to administration) is the same as "a nurse is a nurse". There are many specialties in nursing but to administration, that does not make a difference. Many of us "specialize" in an area and are focused only on that type of nursing by taking extra classes, etc. But, that's a whole other thread (floating to other units).

    Bottom line...doesn't matter. Administration only wants a warm body to staff.
  4. by   altomga
    I agree with "administration only wants a warm body to staff"
    At my facility you get absolutely no compensation for doing charge, but A HELL OF A LOT MORE RESPONSIBILITY. You can be held accountable for things that go wrong during your shift, or if you did not follow up with a nurse that did something wrong. You must ensure policies are being followed, smooth over unhappy family members/patients. I'm in charge of 6 nurses, 3 NA'a and 24 patients. Have to ensure that the pt's moving and coming are appropiate, etc, etc, etc......the list goes on as you know....
    COMPENSATION? what the hell is that?? And I agree though that you need experience on the floor to do charge..you have to know about the type of pt's, have leadership qualities, etc. to be a good charge nurse. You also have to be a HUGE team leader (but I believe in helping the nurses out...that is what I am there for too)
    But with all the extra work and responsibility (paperwork included) we should get paid a different rate when in charge!)
  5. by   janleb
    charge nurse on our floor makes .50 more an hour
  6. by   nicudaynurse
    After being in the NICU a year I was asked to do charge as well. I told them no because I didn't feel like I had enough experience. The thought of being in charge of a 42 bed soon to be 50 bed unit just didn't appeal to me. I think someone should have AT LEAST 2 years of experience before doing charge. That first year is just a blur anyway.
  7. by   kmlunar
    I have been a nurse for just over a year I am now charge on our med/surg floor. We have 30 beds but our average census is 16-18. I work nights and usually have one other RN, 1 LPN ,2 CNA"s and one weeknights a ward clerk until midnight. This rarely changes despite how many patients we have. I often have a patient load and have had as many as 7 or 8. I get a whooping .50/hr for all of this fun! I must say that most of my staff is pool so I have to train new staff frequently as well. The only thing that has saved me up to this point is my hx of working in the medical field for 25 years before I became a nurse! Most nights are fine but when s---t hits the fan it does it with a vengance!
  8. by   moonrose2u
    i do staff, occasional charge, and prn house supervisor.
    staff rn: we take 4-6 pts..usually 4 with admits to a total of five per nurse...only rarely did i ever have 6.

    when i do charge, i don't take an assignment, but may take 1=2 admits to even out the assignments where i can..charge on my floor, reads monitors, checks orders, and places calls to the docs.

    house supervisor: yep, when doing this role, i look at numbers because administration looks at numbers.i place the admits, and do bed assignment. .i check the grids the nm's have given the supers and places the bodies where i have to...if i can, i try to take acuity into consideration, but it doesn't always work out that way..
  9. by   rileygrl11
    We have 20 beds on our unit and have had such low staffing that 3 of us as new grads did charge duty several days AFTER our orientation ended. Talk about SCAREY!!! We were just told to remember the house administrator (head honcho RN for all units) if we ran into problems and we weren't expected to know everything. We would get paid $1.00/hr more. Responsibilities included making out the RN and PCT assignments, calling in our "numbers" needed for staffing for the next shift, making bed assignments, running EKG strips and reading them if someone wasn't EKG competent.
  10. by   NurseGr39
    I have been a nurse for 19 years. I have been asked to be the charge nurse on a 26 bed Med-Surg floor. I presently work nights and the money is decent (shift diffs for working nights). I would work Mon-Fri. What should I look for in patient load and how much more an hour should I ask for. I will lose my shift diff so will be taking a pay cut overall, but can negotiate some type of pay increase. What's it worth?
  11. by   mdfog10
    We require a new grad to have worked on our unit for at least 1-2yrs before being ORIENTED to the charge role. No one likes to do it and sometimes it is baptism by fire--but it should'nt be. Also some just are'nt cut out for it and thats ok---but we all take turns.


    At one point our manager started assigning who would be charge (something we can handle on our own.....). I believe this was done to bully the charge into altering the true acuity of the patients so that we would be in budget and preferably under budget. Also put it in writing (stupid) that we were to remain only in mid acuity because of the budget. We notified our union, got a grievance filed and that policy was recinded. But they still try --we have to speak up and stand firm.We are the only ones that will speak up for what the patients need. management is always trying to cut corners and we kill ourselves bandaging the system so our patients get what they need.
  12. by   majrn
    To NurseGr39.......it is worth getting the shift diff back and then some. If it were me I would ask for my shift diff back and then a couple of bucks on the hour on top of it.
  13. by   efischer34
    I work on a 50 bed med-surg floor. I was a CNA there for 3 years, an LPN for 1 year, and have now been an RN since I graduated in December of 2002. I have been working on the floor as charge since April 2003. When I am charge on PM's, I take 4 patients and am responsible for the rest of the floor, any medications that I might need to get out of the pharmacy after they leave, and staffing for the next day. It is the same on NOCs, sometimes only more patients. We are also responsible for covering NT's and LPN's. We don't make anymore money as charge.
    There are nights that I am not charge, we do rotate. But it is still alot of responsibility, and for the hospital at no cost.
  14. by   jetnurse
    I graduated in May of this year and one week after orientation as well as my first week on nights I was the only RN on the unit. I only had the help of two LPN's and between the three of us there is less than two years total experience. Worst of all, it is a telemetry unit. Beat that one!

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