I work in a Critical Care Unit, combined SICU, MICU, and Open Heart Recovery. I am a 7P charge nurse, and I am happy to say we do not take patients, nor are we required to float. There are 3 of us charge nurses who work on nights, and we have a number of relief resources who rotate to charge on nights that one of the permanent charge nurses aren't on duty. It is unsafe for a resource person to have a full patient load and be expected to fulfill the requirements of a charge nurse. On occasion, if the ER (who always gets their way in my hospital) refuses to hold a patient, and the coordinator agrees, I have taken the patient, but not early in the shift. On many occasions I have to carry the "Code Beeper" and would take the patient should an emergency occur on the floor. Thiese are rare instances though. The job is such a headache however, and I love the nights that one of my other 2 charge nurses is on with me, and I CAN take a patient assignment. As long as we remain so short staffed in our facilities and nurses are required to run the unit, make assignments, and handle all the other problems that crop up, we will continue to burn out, shrivel up and die, while an inexperienced nurse is waiting at the door for our job at a fraction of the price.
[This message has been edited by whitedog (edited 01-12-99).]