Charge nurse with less than a year RN experience???!! - page 2

by RNpandoraRN

36,563 Views | 102 Comments

Recently one of the nurses I work with began training to be charge on our 30-bed (very busy!) med/surg unit. But here's the kicker - while she's very pleasant to work with....it hasn't even been a year yet since she graduated... Read More


  1. 5
    Haha sounds so familiar. At least she got some sort of orientation. I came into work one night a year and a half after I started and saw my name in the charge spot on the board, I assumed it was a mistake. Yeah right, two seconds after I walked in the door the day charge stuck the phone in my hand and said "bye". I was in charge before I knew what was going on. There were no other nurses on the floor that were more senior than me, except one traveller. I had NO idea what to do, I never realized that the charge nurse does so much stuff that I didn't see. I spent the whole night waiting for the other shoe to drop, thankfully it didn't. I've been charge a few times since then but nothing compares to that first night. Ugh.
    MsbossyRN, lkwashington, colzanurse, and 2 others like this.
  2. 8
    I think this is governed by necessity.

    Few would argue that we want more experienced nurses to be Charge. But where are they? So you go with what you've got. Help her do a good job. Give her support, since ultimately you're all concerned about good patient care.

    FWIW, much of the Charge's job is flow management. You don't need a lot of clinical experience to manage well. Preferred, sure; but not an absolute. Some folks have a real talent for organizing (not me!), and can apply to almost anything once they learn the ropes. Some really older nurses will remember when 'charge' was a task, not a seperate position. The task was rotated among nurses one shift to the next, and many new nurses found themselves playing charge shortly after school.

    When there are clinical task problems, you can still ask the most experienced colleague; Charge or not. And if there is no one available with more experience, well that just proves my point.

    In the military, the best NCOs are the old pros. But there aren't enough of them. So many of us youngsters found ourselves in small command. We were too young and stupid to realize we shouldn't/couldn't do the job; so we just went out there and got it done (most of the time). The analogy is simple...
    samanthaaRN, NUEJB, mappers, and 5 others like this.
  3. 2
    I know of hospitals with units employing many LVN's who will hire new grad RN's to charge.

    Our policy is you have to be here one year minimum. I will also say my friend took a temporary charge nurse position after 18 mos as nurse. She ended up keeping it for a while, then took interim manager and is now a nursing director. She only worked 18 mos on the floor but EXCELS in management and most all her staff love working for her. So maybe leadership skills is a good thing.
    lkwashington and Faeriewand like this.
  4. 4
    My old job treated charge nurse duty like jury duty. You didn't say no unless you had a compelling reason.
    There was a small core of long-term med/surg nurses with plans to stay. Then there was the revolving cast of new grads who would put in their year and move on.
    I think the senior nurses were getting burned out always being in charge or precepting, so they put some of the burden on the newer nurses.
    jxRN, lkwashington, Not_A_Hat_Person, and 1 other like this.
  5. 0
    They did it to me: I had 1 month over a year of experience, but really didn't feel ready to be charge, I talked to my manager about this, and she said "No one ever feels ready."

    We get "charge pay": $1.00 more per hour, it's really ridiculous for all the extra work you have to do: bed meetings, assignments, breaks, fighting with the nursing supervisor and bed placement, and a full patient load on top of it all. And I've seen 1 code in my career, I study ACLS every week, but seriously doubt I would know what to do.

    We have a lot of "middle management" in my hospital who I see walking around and asking me questions about transfers in/out, ED admissions, I want to just say: "What's stopping you from you doing this job?" I mean, really? My decisions are often overrided by management anyway.

  6. 0
    well i say congratulations to her. im sure she can go to orientation and she will be fine. just because she hasnt been a nurse long doesnt mean she cant develop the skills that is necessary for the job. obviously someone didn't want the job and or she was who they wanted. why arent you being asked to become charge nurse. say something if you are that mad but i doubt you will.
  7. 0
    I was put in that same situation at my first job as a nurse. I had only been off orientation for about 3 months and they wanted to start training me to be charge.

    Yeah, I don't think so! Needless to say I left. I worked way too damn hard for my license to just throw it away.
  8. 1
    Quote from Prettyladie
    just because she hasnt been a nurse long doesnt mean she cant develop the skills that is necessary for the job
    Sure she can develop skills. But she doesn't have the experience under her belt that a charge nurse needs. Experience is a must have.
    Mrs.C.RN likes this.
  9. 0
    Bad idea.

    I remember getting ticked at one of the recent hospitals I worked in. Nurse that started around the same time as I, only I had ER experience, she had neuro ICU experience. I'd done triage at the other hospital also. She'd get put in charge at night- a few months ER experience, never doing triage, didn't know the ESI triage scale, etc...
  10. 0
    so there has never been charge nurses who have done great with no experience?


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