Advice for new charge nurse??(Long post!)

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Anyone who does charge in the OR-please give your feedback.

Any advice for someone coming into a charge position who has only a year and a half of experience as a nurse and who is been told she's too easygoing? It can be difficult at times because I'm naive enough to believe that because I'm a straightforward person, others are as well.

It's funny, some people love this being in charge thing but I'm not feeling the love. It's not everyone giving me grief either, and I've been told by the boss that I'm doing fine. So, do I let her know that certain people are pulling crap on me or do I stick it out and hope they get bored? I don't want to be a doormat, but no one likes a tattletail either.(I haven't used the term "tattletail" since elementary school-goes to show how childish behavior can be in the OR)

I'm basically happy in this OR-particularly when it comes to actual circulating and scrubbing and I'm learning a lot. And again, the majority of people have been great.But, I wasn't aware when I took this job that I'd be in charge on this shift-it wasn't mentioned at the interview or in my job offer letter. I blame mysef for not asking more questions about that though.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

ebear, BSN, RN

934 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg/Peds/O.R./Legal/cardiology. Has 37 years experience.

Witchy,

Are you in charge of the general O.R. or a service in the O.R.? In any case, it is a difficult job. You must have a tough skin, be fair to all employees, and not be leery of confrontation. (this includes surgeons and O.R. personnel.) If you know you are right, stick to your guns! While being friendly, is it expected that you stick to the standards without compromise. Realize you will not be friends with everyone, unfortunately you cannot please everyone. Above all, be decisive! Make rounds from time to time in all of the O.R.'s unannounced. Maintain confidentiality at all costs (both surgeons and staff) and assure them that you will look into their complaints. Staff meetings should consist with as much praise to the staff as possible (not for *****sessions only). Those sessions just KILL morale! Let me know if I can help you in the future! Good Luck!!

STICK UP for the nurses if at all possible. They get enough abuse!

GadgetRN71, ASN, RN

1 Article; 1,840 Posts

Specializes in Operating Room. Has 17 years experience.

Ebear, yes, it's just one specialty that I run the board for-I was about to say, in charge of, but I'm in a strange position...I'm considered to be "in charge" basically so they can have someone to nail if things go wacky on my shift, but being new to this OR and a semi-new nurse, I have no real legs to stand on.

However, the boss of the whole team is great. If she knew I was having these problems with a a few people, she'd be all over it. But there's the dilemma. Do I let her know I'm getting problems like this(Example:I will ask someone to go to a room and get Nurse X out for dinner or to go home, and they don't do it at all, or go to a different room. And I was very clear in the asking)and risk making the bad blood worse, or do I just try to do my job and hope they give up? I think maybe these people(about 2 or 3) want me to quit...That's not going to happen, because I do like this job and most of the people.

I'm not shy about confrontation and I do a walkthrough probably about every 1/2 hour but also, after 5:30, I circulate for a room.(after 5:30 it's just myself and a tech, except for call staff and 12 hour people)So it gets very difficult to keep track of staff/situations.

Thanks for your advice, Ebear. You sound like you've been through this!;) I'm going to try some of the things you suggested.

staceyp413

116 Posts

Specializes in OR RN Circulator, Scrub; Management. Has 22 years experience.

Of my 12 years in the OR I have been "in charge" for about 5-6 of them. My advice is to set limits and protocols, even though you may be doing most of it from scratch. Get info when you can from you team and then make sure the entire team knows what the protocols are and then enforce it. Best advice is to be fair and do your best to not play favorites. When in doubt, use your resources and other administrators for advice and action only if you feel things are extending outside of your own control. From the staff side of things you know that they may be testing to see how you will handle it and I would wait on going to your supervisor until you give yourself some time to administor your own limits.

Good luck and stay strong, it REALLY can be a rewarding position

mamamiah

80 Posts

Hi there,

I have worked in the O.R. going on 10 yrs now. These are some things that I have observed since I have been there. there are people that work, and the lazy people just fall off the board and are forgotten.

Please try to keep a list of the people on shift, it becomes difficult when they are relieved for lunch or a break especially if they don't have to go back to that room.

I usually hear my co-workers, say it is like babysitting kids, especially when we are all adults. it is going to be hard to satisfy everyone, all you can do is be fair and consistent. Remember the friendship factor should stay out of it because people will use it to try to get out of work, but you will have some that will see how fair you are and will go above and beyond for you.

you will be fine.

sharann, BSN, RN

1,758 Posts

I am not in OR but in recovery room. However, I think that you have been placed in a tough position and it sounds like you have a firm grasp of what needs to be done, you just need a little help which is totally fine! I suggest that you do utilize your supervisor who you say is very supportive and ask her these questions. It is not always black and white. You are not "tattletiling" if you are not being listened to by peolpe who are supposed to listen. If you think they are just doing it out of spite rather than misunderstanding your requests, then all the more reason to get manager involved. You have a job to do and so does the staff. If they aren't doing their part they suffer the consequences. No wonder no one told you you would be in charge!!!

Good luck and hang in there. Sounds like you are going to be ok.

ebear, BSN, RN

934 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg/Peds/O.R./Legal/cardiology. Has 37 years experience.

Witchy,

Just checking in on you! How are things going?

Yes, I've been in the boat for a LONG time! Most of the job, IMO, is "babysitting" and dealing with passive aggressive personalities. Keep a list in your pocket of who was assigned where after 5:30. If you find out that the assignments were "switched", go to the appropriate people after the case is over and ask them why they felt it was necessary to switch the assignment. There may be a legitimate answer, if not, they will know that you are right on top of the situation. It IS hard to do this without YEARS of OR exp. It will come in time!

GOOD LUCK to you and have a very happy holiday season!!

ebear

GadgetRN71, ASN, RN

1 Article; 1,840 Posts

Specializes in Operating Room. Has 17 years experience.

The same people have been giving me grief still but the boss is aware. I didn't tell her, it turns out one of the nicer staff members did. She said that they're "testing" me. She also said she'd back me up and I believe her. Day by day, I'm becoming more assertive. Thank goodness, I'm only really new to this OR and the charge nurse thing(I was a tech for about 5 years) so I have dealt somewhat with the maladjusted people that tend to crop up in every OR. Thanks for your support, everyone!

ebear, BSN, RN

934 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg/Peds/O.R./Legal/cardiology. Has 37 years experience.

Good deal, Witchy! Sounds like things are working out for you. It's all so "normal!" Yes, it's usually the same people! I'm glad someone else observed the issue. Sometimes you just figure it out as you go! This stuff certainly is not in a textbook! hahaha! Keep hanging in!

ebear

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