Charge nurse with less than a year RN experience???!! - page 7

by RNpandoraRN

36,569 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
    When I was a senior in nursing school back in the 60's, nursing admin would often take 2 senior students (who were working "extra" as nursing assistants) to equal 1 charge nurse. We did not have an option. It was "do it or you're out". We had to do it so often that being in charge was 2nd nature when we graduated.
  2. 0
    Wow, well, let me tell you, as a new graduate nurse all of six months, one night shift I was ASSIGNED to be the charge nurse and was not allowed to refuse. I have beein in a code, I have done plenty of NGs, IVs, etc., and I don't believe that you can say a nurse with less than one year can't do any of those things. But if I had the say-so, I would have refused to do the charge nurse job because I wasn't trained to do THAT. I was given the charge phone, charge pager, and told "here is the schedule to do for the next two shifts. You'll be fine." So I disagree AND agree with your post. And I hope I never have to be charge nurse again for a long time.
  3. 0
    The word "no" to taking charge position after it's assigned will get us written up, sent home and possibly suspended. I wonder if it's different in a union hospital?
  4. 0
    Wow this happened to me. I had only one year experience in a County ER and in 6 months I was a charge nurse then I transferred to Trauma unit . Then I was made Charge Nurse on the evening and night shift in the County Trauma Unit. However, the job skills you learn pretty fast. We started IV and intracaths, learned how to intubate, settings on ventilators, run codes and much more. In one week with all the incoming trauma if you didnt learn you were out on your ear so to speak. So you learn your skills and your organizational skills very quickly. I have to say that this was in 1970. So this is nothing new it happen to many of my classmates. No wonder I am retired now. I guess I was thrown in the line of fire too quickly. However, these skills took me very far in my nursing career and I was able to build a nice skill set and very employable.
    Paddlelady
  5. 0
    I once worked at a long term care facility where an LVN was the house supervisor on night shift even though there was an RN there. She was a relatively new grad. There were other factors involved, but I could see where he would be in charge based on his experience and abilities.
  6. 0
    I was right out of Nursing school as an LPN, and we have no choice when it comes to "Charge Nurse:!! After maybe 3 months of General training ( paperwork, rules regs etc) we are put in charge just a much as an RN . I still am not comfortable being Charge with such little real experience as a nurse. I think it to be quite foolish and risky to be put in this position with such little training. However, I press on, do the best I can, and call the Nursing Supervisor for anything I am not sure of, better safe, than sorry...
  7. 1
    I have been an LPN for 26 years....no real med surg experience. I have been an RN for 9 months. I do charge on a busy med surg floor, nights, one to three nights a week. Didn't get much training, have a back up in the supervisor if I run into problems, have usually 3 well seasoned LPNs as staff. I am a natural leader, not afraid to ask questions or get advice from more seasoned nurses, even if they are LPNs, not afraid of looking stupid and don't put much stock in what others think as far as general opinions. Have I made mistakes? Yep, you bet. Do I feel qualified? Nope, not even close...but I am learning every day. Do I worry about making a bad call? Every hour!
    We are a small 200 bed rural hospital. We have a very small staff...always need nurses, pay is low, but guidance and encouragement is very high...criticism is minimal and atta boys are number one. New nurses, (RNs) can learn to be charge in less than a year, dependent upon training, knowledge and personality.
    thomk likes this.
  8. 0
    Yeah, very common. Even an RN 6 mos out. We were told in BSN program, don't be surprised if you are in an administrative position within one year. Took less time than that. Esp as the 30-yr experienced charge nurse on our shift was calling in sick 1/2 the time leaving three RNs (no more LPNs) for 30 pts.
  9. 0
    It depends on the individual themself. We cannot under/over estimate one's credibility. I had a charge nurse who was promoted to manager after 7 years and got demoted in a year because she could not cope. However, it is up to the staff to accept the responsibility or reject the offer. In years to come, this scene is going to become more rampant with the shortage of nurses. It is happening in most hospitals as the turnover of nurses is high.
  10. 0
    I am shocked to read these posts. I have been an LPN for about 8 months now, and we have a LOT (80%) of new RNs on my tele med surg floor. And they all are charge, routinely. There is a day, evening, and night charge whom are experienced, and that's it. Everyone else who is charge on weekends or when these people are off are brand new with less than one year experience. I guess it's been status quo for the nursing world I'm in that I never thought about a problem with it. It's just the way it is. Many times on the weekends, it's the new RN, me and a CNA. And that's it.

    BTW, I don't think experienced charges are always a good thing. Don't get me wrong, most experienced charges are great and everything a charge should be. But then I've worked under those who take the charge position as an excuse to pass all the work on to everyone else while she/he is talking on the phone (non-work related) or shopping on the internet. Meanwhile the rest of us are drowning.


Top