Input regarding Charge Nurse Criteria

  1. Hello,

    This is my first time using this forum so I apologize if this question has been asked in an earlier thread. I currently work on a Labor and Delivery and have been there for 2.5 years (since graduation). I have taken every opportunity to advance my skills by taking additional training in advanced fetal monitoring, high risk obstetrics, and my RNC. My managers are always telling me what an asset I am to the unit. I am frequently put in our 4 bed triage room evaluating pts(which is off the unit with an OB tech), I am often given complicated or difficult pts. My issue is with the criteria for charge nurse. We have several nurses who have worked on the unit for many years (some decades) and are charge nurses because of the years of experience. They are known as "lazy" charge nurses. Often they do not help other staff members with there pt loads, they do not make deliveries, are not present during situations where more than one nurse is needed.Our managers are fully aware of which nurses have these issues. However our Nurse Manager states that 5 years experience is needed to be "charge capable" and although she thinks I would make an excellent charge nurse, if litigation would arrise during a time I was in charge and another nurse with more experience was on the floor we could be held more liable.

    This is extremely frustrating to me. I feel that hardwork should be rewarded not pushed to the side. It's like a slap in the face, " Yes we know Nurse X is a lazy charge but she has 15 years experience" or my favorite " Oh Nurse X is in charge so we are really going to need your help today". Where does that experience get you if that nurse is not running the floor!! There is nowhere in our hospital policy that states you need 5 years experience, it is up to the unit manager. Does anyone have documenation of this national standard of 5 years or a website I could look at?? I would really appreciate any input !!!
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    About Drakebrn

    Joined: Feb '09; Posts: 9; Likes: 2
    Labor and Delivery RN; from US
    Specialty: L&D, High Risk Antepartum, Postpartum


  3. by   HouTx
    SHEESH - As an educator, I take issue with anyone who thinks experience automatically = expertise. They are not the same. Experts learn from their experience. Some nurses may have 20 years of experience, but essentially, they have done "year one" over and over again. In the words of Dorothy del Bueno RN, PhD -- "would you go to Elizabeth Taylor for marriage advice?. . . she certainly has the experience - but not the expertise".

    I don't see how this would affect liability. Every RN is liable for his own actions. Charge nurses would only increase liability exposure if they did not follow established policies and procedures for staffing or assignments.
  4. by   PediRN
    Ridiculous. If I were you I'd take my experience and certifications elsewhere. Sounds like a no-win for you. EVERYONE needs experienced L&D nurses.
  5. by   chris724
    It's true having experience helps with being a charge nurse, but they may not be a good charge nurse, as in your situation. If the opportunity comes up, be the charge nurse and show those with experience how it's suppose to be done. Have you voiced your concern with your manager? He/she should be addressing this.