A dedicated charge nurse?


Our unit is hell bent on designating certain people as the Dedicated Charge Nurse. This past round they literally held a vote and had the unit select the people they preferred to be in charge. While we selected good folks, it also aliented a lot of other ones who had been working as charge for quite a while. One is so mad she's almost ready to quit, another is mad because management knows she's looking for other jobs, so they're not allowing her to be charge.

I understand it's all for continuity, but it also makes you feel as if you have no chance to be a charge unless you're "voted" in.

Do any of you do this on your units? Does it help? I feel it's a way for management to have control, but I"m not sure. The whole idea sort of drives me nuts also as those who were selected now never have to be in a nurse role, and I can see how they'd start to get on a power trip also. . . our managers say the evidence shows it's better for the unit.

Specializes in Pediatric/Adolescent, Med-Surg.

Everywhere I worked there were dedicated charge nurses. That being said, it wasn't uncommon for at least once or twice a week for none of them to be working one shift and a unofficial charge nurse would have to step up. Often it was someone seen has having some experience and who had typically charged before. However if it was a shift full of newbies, they would just pick the senior nurse to charge.

Specializes in pulm/cardiology pcu, surgical onc.

Out of our 12 noc RN's, 5 are charges so there isn't a 'dedicated' charge, it's whomever is scheduled. We did have a regular charge but when new ones were oriented recently she was given floor shifts too so as the new CN's would get experience but have back up available if needed. I could see some CN's getting an ego but thankfully the ones I work with aren't that way....yet.

locolorenzo22, BSN, RN

1 Article; 2,396 Posts

Specializes in Ortho, Neuro, Detox, Tele.

we have 2 "team leaders" that are usually there between 3-11pm for night shift....during the week. when they leave, someone will step up to be charge the rest of the shift. weekends we usually split charge 6 hrs a piece. works out well.


437 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg/Tele/Onc.

We have ANMs and dedicated charge nurses for every shift. If they are out, or have a class or something, then someone else will have to step in. Most people hate doing charge though and say it isn't worth the shift differential.

A lot of times, if we are really close to earning another nurse and think we'll get booked up, the ANM will go "in the office." (this is if we have enough staff for the current ratio). They all have other things they have to do like chart audits, the schedule, call backs, etc. So they'll work on that. Then if we start getting busy, getting booked up, they can come out to help with admissions, etc. It's a way to sort of "cheat" the system.

Specializes in cardiothoracic surgery. Has 6 years experience.

There are a couple of nurses on day shift that do charge all the time, and evening shift has about 3 that do charge all the time. If none of them are working, others that have done charge before are placed in charge. Problem with that is that when a nurse that hasn't done charge for awhile is put in charge for a day, they may be kind of "rusty", so it is not really fair to them because they don't get the opportunity to do it a lot. Our supervisor decides who will be charge for a shift, not sure how she decides but I know she takes into account who the nurses on the floor like in charge. I do think the charge nurses should take a regular assignment sometimes because if you do charge all the time, you forget what it is like to have a regular assigment. I myself like taking a regular assignment sometimes and getting a break from the charge responsibilities!