Starting out as a charge nurse?

  1. I just graduated from a PNP program with no previous RN experience. Passed the NCLEX on my first try. I am choosing to work as an rn because I want some experience and I enjoy the hospital/acute care setting.

    I have an opportunity to work at a long-term care facility as a night-shift rn (7p-7a)(3d/wk) or a full-time day time position (8h qd) as a charge nurse.

    As a new nurse would it be smart to start right off the bat as a charge nurse? I know I would learn a lot but friends have told me how stressful working charge can be. This floor has 45-60 patients with trachs, on vents, paralyzed, with wounds, tb, etc... so it is a combination of a lot of residents with acute and chronic needs to be met. Any advice? Personal experience making similar decisions as a new nurse?

    (Side note: I am single with no kids so day/night shift makes no difference to me. If I work the night shift I might be able to pick up a day or two at a local pediatric clinic).
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   jmgrn65
    It is a lot to be charge while just starting out, you need to learn the basics first. imho
  4. by   TexasPediRN
    Honestly, I dont beleive that its a smart idea.

    Also, a place that would hire a brand new grad as a charge nurse is most likely drowning and will take any warm body.

    To be in charge means you are completely responsible for the residents on that floor. Are you compentent in Trach care, ventilators, caring for residents and recognizing the signs and symptoms of resp. distress? What if another nurse does something else wrong on the floor? You are responsible for knowing what to do and how to counteract the mistake, if possible.

    Just think about it. Some people would have no problem jumping into the charge nurse role after graduation, but IMO, its not the best idea..you really need to get the experience first.

    Good luck in whichever you choose, but remember - you now have a license on the line and you are accountable for all actions.
  5. by   eymilin
    Thank you soo much for your quick replies. I have dealt with a limited number patients with all of these conditions but not on a large scale, and not enough to feel 100% comfortable. With your advice and the comments from my friends I do believe I am going to take the night shift.
  6. by   txspadequeenRN
    either one of those positions will put your in a charge nurse position. when your in ltc thats usually whats available.and i've got even better news for you if you are the only rn in the building @ night and something goes wrong ,more than likely you will get to take care of it or provide some guidance/supervision...:spin:



    Quote from eymilin
    i just graduated from a pnp program with no previous rn experience. passed the nclex on my first try. i am choosing to work as an rn because i want some experience and i enjoy the hospital/acute care setting.

    i have an opportunity to work at a long-term care facility as a night-shift rn (7p-7a)(3d/wk) or a full-time day time position (8h qd) as a charge nurse.

    as a new nurse would it be smart to start right off the bat as a charge nurse? i know i would learn a lot but friends have told me how stressful working charge can be. this floor has 45-60 patients with trachs, on vents, paralyzed, with wounds, tb, etc... so it is a combination of a lot of residents with acute and chronic needs to be met. any advice? personal experience making similar decisions as a new nurse?

    (side note: i am single with no kids so day/night shift makes no difference to me. if i work the night shift i might be able to pick up a day or two at a local pediatric clinic).
  7. by   eymilin
    Thankfully I was told that there are always at least two nurses (RNs) on the floor at all times. Usually three at night (>40 patients) with more 'techs' and during the day there are always four nurses on duty.
  8. by   LesMonsterRN
    Quote from MeghanRN
    Honestly, I dont beleive that its a smart idea.

    Also, a place that would hire a brand new grad as a charge nurse is most likely drowning and will take any warm body.
    I agree with MeghanRN here. A charge position is not one to just jump into, no matter what shift. Get some clinical time under your belt without having to be responsible for not only yourself but everyone other staff member underneath you. Give yourself some time to sharpen your skills and if you want to work in LTC, get a good feel for the rhythm of it and how all the puzzle pieces fit together before you get the "whole enchilada", so to speak.

    That all said, good luck in whatever you choose. I think you'll like LTC.
  9. by   eymilin
    Thanks so much for your replies. I decided to work 2 weekend nights a week as a regular nurse in LTC and I have also taken an 'easy' nursing job at a pediatric office during the week. It is a solo practice with a couple other 'nurses' where I will be able to ease into the pnp position in 6-12 months, if I choose to stay. The combination may be a little tiring but I am young... and I will b able to pay off my school loans much faster. :smilecoffeecup:

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