Charge nurse with less than a year RN experience???!! - page 4

by RNpandoraRN 39,150 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. 0
    Quote from NeoNurseTX
    I know of Magnet hospitals around here that throw people with less than a year experience into the charge position w/o training. and they do it!

    For sure! The name Magnet does not = to nurse friendly.
  2. 3
    well my question is, why wasn't anyone else on the unit asked to be charge before her? she may be new to the unit with nothing else under her belt, but maybe management found her more appropriate for the position...for whatever reason. i graduated in 2002, didn't take my boards till 2004 and started my first job in 2005. within 7 months of working there they asked me to be charge. when they offered it to me i was terrified, but willing. it wouldn't take me out of patient care because our charges still would take patient assignments. i asked my manager why she chose me over any one else, and she basically told me that i was best suited for it. i was very level headed and mellow when things got more dicey on the unit. she continued to say i was always willing to help my fellow co-workers without hesitation, and that my critical thinking, prioritizing, and time efficiency skills were well above par. i was completely baffled. but i had to remember that she had already started using me as a preceptor before this....which i also found odd at the time. when it came to the more experienced nurses on the unit, i can remember most of them shirking extra responsibility. they were always "too busy" to help other coworkers when asked, and even some of them who were relief charge nurses were HORRIBLE at that job. When they offered me the charge position, i surpassed two veteran nurses who were relief charges, and they were ******, but the manager told them flat out why they weren't asked. also, you don't need to have done hundreds of ng's, foley's, and iv's to be qualified to help someone out with them. see one, do one, teach one, right? a charge nurse doesn't have to be the best at these things, they just need to know how to do it. people's skills will vary GREATLY from nurse to nurse. a nurse with 30+years experience may be great at foleys but horrible at iv's. a new nurse might be the opposite. as long as this girl knows how to do it, it wouldn't bother me personally. if i have a hard stick i may not ask her for help if she isn't that great at them, but that doesn't mean she isn't qualified to be charge. i'm in no way saying that someone with as little nursing exp. as this girl is the best choice all the time, but if you're really that upset about why you or someone else more seasoned wasn't asked, i would ask the manager. my guess is that she has a very good reason to give you. if she doesn't, then i would take it further.
    NUEJB, thomk, and Faeriewand like this.
  3. 3
    We know it happens but it shouldn't! Each state has it's own nurse practice act outlining responsibilities, in NJ if you knowingly accept an assignment and something happens it is YOUR FAULT regardless of what the facility states. My facility has a form for instances like these-unsafe situations-I have filled them out consistantly when assignments were unsafe, in my opinion a new nurse-especially a new grad is being placed in a precarious position sitting in the Charge spot(even with orientation) How can they be the resource person, when they don't know all of their resources? I think calls to the DOH and other governing agencies would be in order.

    Remember when you are in court that facility will CYA theirs, not yours. The first thing that lawyer will say is that you should not have accepted an assignment that you were not oriented to, the second is that as a professional licensed nurse you should know the rules governing your practice, and that when you took that assignment you took that responsibility. This is especially true if you did not refuse or question it-make sure you do, then write it down with names and times. Have it for just in case.

    This isn't a slight against new grads, young, old, or nurses new to an area-it's common sense. You can't be a nurse without the smarts and ability to change to face new situations-I believe nurses can do anything! This is one area in which you can't draw from any existing knowledge, it must be provided to you by those in the Know. Thank God nothing has happend to you who were forced into the situation with no backup or orientation.

    Every time I sit in the Charge seat I pray it will be a safe day for the patients, the staff and me. Although I don't have an assignment I make rounds and try to be on top of everything that's going on! With all the extra I do, I don't feel safe and never relax during the whole shift. Again, it's not a job I chose; but am chosen for. No one wants the responsibility and we have unfilled PCC positions due to the instabilty in the department.

    Good Luck to all

    M
  4. 0
    on my unit, nobody wants to be a charge, it's not worth it, so people are forced to do it, and nobody seems to care. It's sad...
  5. 2
    Yeah, I was put in charge on a very busy tele floor less than 6 months after graduating and even less time since out of orientation. Usually it was only in the evenings after the charge nurse/supervisor left for the day at 3pm. So, not only was I in charge, but also had 6 patients of my own. I would also have to be in charge all day on the weekends.

    This usually happened because I would be the only RN on the floor, or even more scary the most experienced.

    Not only was I in charge, but being in charge on our floor also meant that I was on the rapid response/code team and had to respond to any that were called in the hospital. Sometimes leaving the floor with no RN or leaving a bunch of new grads by themselves. Not safe!!!
    pagandeva2000 and Faeriewand like this.
  6. 4
    Back when I was a new grad (1984), I was given (I wasn't asked) the responsibility of relief charge within 6 months of getting my license. I was horrified and asked why.......my nurse managers reply? "You have the BSN". Didn't seem like a good reason then, and still doesn't.
    canoehead, HM2VikingRN, MAISY, RN-ER, and 1 other like this.
  7. 2
    I am another who got thrown into being charge.
    The way I found out I was charge was one night a nurse who was pulled from another floor comes into my new admit room to ask if I was aware of a pt going into room 448. I said no, I just got a new admit but I will take another if necessary. He looked confused and said do you know where the beeper is. (We get beeped when a pt is going to be admitted) I said no, I do not even know how to use it. At this time I figured where he was going. Then the inevitable question, "aren't you charge?". All I could do was keep my mouth shut and tell him I will be out in a minute. Needless to say I was fuming. The only other nurse was a LPN and she was furious for me also. I had no idea what to do.
    I was only 2 months out of orientation. I called everyone I could think of and let them know what I thought. I made it clear that I could not be responsible.
    Since I work nights/weekends not all management was present, you better believe that management got an ear full on Monday though.

    I am charge now regularly but got a supposed sufficient orientation to charge. They have not done it again to anyone else.
    CrazziiRN913 and pagandeva2000 like this.
  8. 0
    I was left in charge of the eye clinic a few weeks ago. Seemed almost like a set-up to me. Assistant head nurse was on vacation, regular RN called in sick. Each RN that knew eye clinic had either called in sick or was on vacation. Now, it was stated that LPNs cannot take charge in hospitals, cannot triage. I didn't know, I thought when I went that an RN was going to be there. I go, and see another LPN. Walk-in patients are sent to the back for a nurse to triage to figure out if the patient should be seen today, or how soon. I have worked in the eye clinic before, but to do the routine functions, not to triage. I go to the nursing administrator and she told me that she had no RN that knew eye clinic, but that I 'know more than I think I do' and that she 'trusted my judgement better than the other LPN' and to take the situation to their attendings to let them decide whether or not the patients should be seen that day.

    I have to say this was the most comical day I ever experienced. I walked over to the doctors and said "I am your float nurse today...I know NOTHING. I want to work with you, we have to collaborate care today because we are both fishes out of water". I have to say that we pulled together just fine, but, no matter how you slice it, we were both triaging patients that day. The other LPN and I had to place pieces of the puzzle together to make the day work. It really didn't matter, to tell you the truth if they did send an RN...she would not have been familiar with the process there to begin with. I have to say, the clerks, managers, eye technicians and even the housekeepers helped us, and laughed at our predicament.

    So, in essence, it doesn't matter. Next time, I'll bet they would even pull a CNA to leave her in charge. If I even have a hint that no nurses are available for eye clinic again, I'm picking up the telephone as well.
  9. 0
    I wonder if the people accepting the charge role realize that the people they are over are working under their license. (did I say that right)
    This is one reason why I won't work charge. I know how some of the nurses I have worked with function and I don't want any part of it.
    I love having someone to pass the buck to.
    "The guy in 5 is crashing I need help"
    I have been told by inexperienced charges to go find someone to help me because they were too busy looking up prom gowns on the net to get up.
    Welcome to the brave new world.
  10. 3
    Well technically you take some of the responsibility when you are charge, but nurses aren't working under their licenses, only their own. However in the event of problems, they may bear some responsibility for poor outcomes if the assignment wasn't fair, if they didn't call (whomever) if there were issues, or if someone is tanking and they have not been on top of it. Alot for a newbie.

    M


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