Charge Nurses

  1. I'm doing a very unofficial, unscientific survey to find out if charge nurses in ICUs take patients routinely. Our ICU is a general ICU and our charge nurses have historically NOT taken patients routinely. When you reply please include your state. I'm in Oklahoma. thank!
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  2. 29 Comments

  3. by   Taramisu
    I live in a suburb of Chicago, IL. We have two sections to our ICU (east and west). Each side has a designated "Charge Nurse". They each take a full patient load plus have the added responsibility of assigning beds, wrestling with staffing issues and making appropriate assignments, not to mention all the other problems that creep up throughout the night. And the designated "Charge Nurse" gets a whopping differential of...$0.00 extra.

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    ICU RN,
    Tara
  4. by   LRichardson
    Tara...

    OUCH... sometimes i just have to hang my head and wonder how and why we let this happen?? I know it's not a foreign concept in business that the more responsibility you have.. the more you get compensated.. <sigh> oh well.. good thing i love being a nurse!
  5. by   soman30
    I work in a large teaching hospital in NY. It is common practice for the Charge Nurse to take an assignment and have the added charge duties. Also when the Charge Nurse is off, a staff nurse fills his/her shoes but with no extra pay just pressure.
  6. by   jcolburn
    I am an LPN in the MICU, at Indiana University Med Center in Indianapolis. We have no specific "charge nurses", the staff RN's here who have at least one year experience rotate taking charge. They all take 1-2 patients sometimes vented or on the IABP or CVVH, plus they have to deal with staffing issues and help out where needed. For all the extra work they get nothing in return. Over the past two years there has been a high turn over because of this, but nothing done to resolve it.
  7. by   randygrady
    i am an rn in new mexico we have a combined icu/stepdown the charge takes a full load and get 50 cents an hour extra.

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  8. by   jmccrn
    I work in a SICU in Columbus, Ohio and our charge nurses take a normal patient load and do all the charge duties such as assigning beds, staffing, etc. The hospital does pay $1.50/hr more though.
  9. by   barb o
    I work in Chicago in a cardiac surgery ICU. Several nurses are designated as "charge" nurses, meaning they have a title and are given about a 4% raise when they get the job. However, they are not always there, so the other nurses who have a year or so experience must do charge duties as well as taking a patient assignment. We get paid nothing extra, but are told that being in charge is part of the job description and that it is taken into account at the time of evaluation--fine, except when your pay raise is 35 cents an hour, what difference has it made?
  10. by   whitedog
    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.

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    whitedog

    [This message has been edited by whitedog (edited 01-12-99).]
  11. by   Lil Pete
    I'm a night RN in a metro Boston teaching hospital, All night RN's rotate charge responsibility on more or less an equitable basis. This is in addition to taking a full patient assignment,dealing with staffing issues,making "bed moves" to permit sicker, more acute patients to get ICU level care etc. Our hospital has eliminated Nursing Supervisors-which were valuable resources to us.This has resulted in an expanding scope of responsibility for all charge RN's. We get an additional $1.25 per hour for doing charge.Charge is good in that it "levels the playing field" and promotes a sense of shared responsibility,however most of the time it's just another headache that I don't need.

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    Lil Pete

  12. by   Rae
    I am 1 of 4 Charge nurses in our ICU/CCU. We receive a 7% diff. for taking the position. We of course have staff act as Relief Charge when we are not there and they receive 50 cents/hr extra. We are not supposed to take patients, but in the 10 years I've been in this position it has become impossible not to now and the situation is often times unsafe. We have a severe nursing shortage in our area and acute care nurses are leaving to work less stressful jobs such as Hospice or dialysis. Often times my staff have to take 3 pts., one who is usually on a vent, so the nurses that come from Telemetry can take the easier pts. I am responsible for evaluations, staff disciplinary actions and counseling, interviewing, meetings, staffing, etc.,etc.
  13. by   Moetess
    I'm from Wash D.C. and our charge nurses always take a patient, plus cover the acute care tech. Resource nurse is rotated amongst the "senior staff", any nurse after 6 months on our unit. As for extra pay,our hospital has a union, so everyone makes the same.
  14. by   BethanyJ
    LRichardson,
    Greetings from MI. I used to work in a hospital where the charge nurses DID have to take patients. Our CN's argued that one cannot take a patient load AND watch over the entire unit. Thus, the hospital changed its policies. They no longer utilized CN's! Instead, they assigned 1 RN on each unit (a different one each day) the assignment of being "coordinator." Basically, coordinators had the same roles as a charge nurse...the nurses just lost out on charge nurse pay and the units lost continuity and leadership! What a shame! In my opinion, I think units should have a charge nurse--it's a nice checks and balance system. However, I do not think that the CN should have to carry a patient assignment. I give your hospital credit for recognizing that 1 nurse can only do so much. It's very unrealistic to expect a nurse to operate in two roles at the same time.

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Charge Nurses