Another Forced into Charge Role

Nurses General Nursing


The post by ICU Becky was so timely for me, b/c now I am being forced into the charge nurse role (called "Lead Nurse" where I work). I have up to this time loudly proclaimed that I would quit my job before I do lead. They have left me alone until now.

Suddenly and unexpectedly, one of our "experienced Lead RNs" has announced she is leaving for another job, and it seems our floor REALLY needs another dayshift lead.The choice is down to me (3 yrs experience), or a "new" RN with only 3 mos. experience. So, obviously I have to do it. I don't feel ready to do this! I feel like just a fledgling with a measley 3 years experience on tele/renal floor. Everyone is trying to pump me up, and say I will do great, but I don't feel that confident. I work day shift, and our floor is absolutely insane at the desk. They are offering me a "lengthy" orientation of 1 week. What kind of orientation did most of you get?

I am just dreading it! ;-( I know my coworkers will Bitc* about their assignments, and admissions (b/c they do that already) and I hate having to fend off admitting, who are like agressive telemarketers (they call ALL the time). I feel like I don't have enough experience to do this.

Some of the nurses working the floor have more experience (ie floats from other depts, LVNs who've worked the floor for 8+ years). I guess these are normal feelings, after reading ICUBecky's post. I'm only going to get a measly $12/shift for the added responsibility.

On the plus side, I know it might be challenging for me, and I will learn tele better, and prioritizing/delegation. I know it will look good as far as experience goes. I don't really want to quit my job, so I probably will have to do this. I wish I wasn't so scared! I haven't felt like this since I was a new grad, first day on the job!

Please wish me luck, I'm going to need it. :eek:

canoehead, BSN, RN

6,856 Posts

Specializes in ER.

Tell the cheap twits that for $12/h you could make more money on tips parking cars. Tell them to give you overtime pay for every charge shift or they will be losing another RN.

Probably they can't afford to lose you, and may stay off your back for lead. That is terrible money for the responsibility ( and the *****ing) in my opinion. I would drop them like a bad habit.


108 Posts

It's too bad that you're are being more or less forced in to a postition that you don't want. In my facility we have shift "supervisors". She is not only responsible for med/surg, but is often called to ER if they're swamped and must go to OB when there is a delivery. If there is a problem in ICU, she is expected to be on hand. She is pulled in all directions. I am an RN with 12 years of experience in ICU and Med/surg. I have been "unofficially"approached on several occasions about becoming a supervisor. To me, the extra 25-50 cents/hr more is not worth the tremendous responsibility and hassle. Just let me go to work and take care of my patients in the very best way that I can.:D


62 Posts

Kona - oh....your post really hit home for me! Two years ago I was asked to become Assistant Nurse Manager on the 28 bed rehab unit I worked on (in a LTC facility). It was a VERY busy unit. Our nurse manager was being pulled from our unit to help another unit get their feet on the ground and we were told that it would probably be for 2-4 weeks. It ended up to be over 9 months!

I thought - "cool, I've always wanted to try management, this will be great!" At then end of those 9 months I was a wreck!! I actually ended up in the ER with incredibly high blood pressure, elevated pulse and a depression to beat the band.

Granted, we may be two very different indivuals and handle things differently. I guess what I'm trying to say is.......listen to your head and your heart. You might end up loving the job and being very good at it, but do it for your own reasons, not because everyone is telling you what a great job you would do. I don't mean to sound negative, but some of those people telling you that may have their own best interests in mind.

One of the hardest things for me (after I got my health straightened out) was to go back to work as a staff nurse again on the same floor. Everone kept coming to me with "manager type" problems if they couldn't find the manager. I eventually left that job.

But, you might want to try it for a while. Can you tell the "powers that be" that you will give it a trial of 6 weeks (or something like that)? And, if it doesn't work out that you could go back on the floor. I know I just said above that that didn't work out well for me, but it might work for you.

Well, I've probably confused you even more and made the situation worse, but I thought I would just share my experience.

Good luck with your decision.


305 Posts

At least you have gotten some monetary reward for the extra effort. I have been the "relief" shift supervisor at my facility for two years now, and all I got was the 'GLORY.' Relief of course is five days a week! :(

Oh well, It beats unemployment!


499 Posts

I don't understand the part about the options being just you and one other person with three months experience. If neither of you wants the job, surely they can hire from outside your facility. Don't feel compelled to take this position just because their other option is even less experienced than you are; that's not your responsibility. Don't let yourself be manipulated into taking on responsibilities you don't feel comfortable with. Wait until you're ready and reasonably confident and then seek it out because of your own motivation. Good luck!


109 Posts

hi kona!!

i feel your pain. but, like i said i was charge nurse for a week last week and i survived. it was hard, took a lot of thinking and getting bi**hed at, and my brain was fried by the end of that week, but i got though it. i even had a call from the chief medical administrator (i don't know if that is the right guys know...the highest doctor on the chain...not the attending...but the administrator), asking to clear beds and quick (because we had the only 1 unit bed and the other 4 ICU's were full). and me and all my unassertiveness...grew some balls and actually told him that all of these patient's NEED unit beds and there is no way any of them are moving out. and when he asked how all of my other nurse coworkers and i are doing, i bluntly said "worn out". that shut him up and he said "thankyou...i will talk to the attending sometime today". and that was it. YESSSSSS! one point for the charge nurse. anyways...i asked my assistant head nurse to make me be charge nurse that that i literally got pushed into the role. that helped. and it also helps when you don't have a CN preceptor, b/c then it is all you and the supervisor isn't talking to one and then the other, so that the other doesn't know what is going on. it is YOU and only YOU. so take the week orientation and know that it is easier w/o a preceptor. you can prioritize better on your own too, in your own way.

here are hints that i have come up with (and most of them came from my charge nurse thread that i originally sent):

1. make a list of things that must get done by the charge nurse

(i.e.- checking code cart, restraint logs, narc count ect...)

2. make a list of what needs to be done for admissions by charge

(i.e. - tell unit secretary who is getting pt and what room, set

up room, place admission history on outside monitors ect...)

3. every 4 hours or so, and if you have time, go around to each

nurse and ask for updates on pt. status and conditions, and

so that you aren't scrambling around at the last

minute to update cardexes or whatever to give report to the

on coming CN. when you ask for updates, ask the nurse if

she/he needs any help.

4. try to make assignments, for the next shift, fairly early (not at

the end of the shift) and make changes when needed.

5. make a list of who WILL take admissions, inform the nurse that she/he is up for the next admit. so that they can get their work done in a timely fashion for their other pts. and won't ***** b/c you told them at the last minute. (i personally hate when the unit sec'y calls out and says "becky report is holding on 25" and the damn charge nurse never told me i was going to get it).

6. don't let anyones complaining get to you. BLOW IT OFF. usually the one's that are complaining are the one's who have never been charge, and don't know how hard it is. if the oncoming shift complains about assignments tell them "that i tried to make the assignments fair and tell them to change it at their own lesure, per the next charge nurse.

7. when in doubt, call the supervisor.

okay, sorry this is so long. but those are hints that i have come up with...and i feel fairly good with them. don't worry...everybody i talk to hates being charge...but everybody is gonna have to do it at one time or another. you just have to change into a different person.

good luck! i will pray for you!!




6,011 Posts


Y'all get more money for being in charge? Where was I? We never got any $$$ for that.

We rotated charge among all the RNs over RN II. (I was a IV)

You'd be in charge for 2-3 days and then be off and when you came back you'd be a team leader until it rotated around to you.

We pretty much all enjoyed getting-off-our-feet and THEN getting-away-from-that-dam*ed-telephone.

Teams were definitely the way to go.

Assignments were for three teams. Same room numbers always.

Admissions came to your pod you got it. You might get ALL the admissions for the day if your rooms were empty. It didn't usually work out that way though.

I think I had been working at the hospital.....hmmmmm 5 days before I was in charge :)


109 Posts

oh yeah...

$12/hour is great....lucky girl. we don't get any :o

hoolahan, ASN, RN

1 Article; 1,721 Posts

Specializes in Home Health.

Guys, she said $12 per SHIFT extra, I don'tthink $12 is herhourly or she gets $12 more per hour.HopeI read that right Kona.:D

I think ICU Becky said it best, thevoice of one mostrecentlyin your shoes.

Becky, glad it wasn't so bad! You GO girl, tell those docs how it is!!


109 Posts

gotcha mistake. still i would take $12 extra per shift!!:D


753 Posts

Specializes in Pediatric Rehabilitation.

I feel your pain. Well over a year ago, we had a lead nurse quit. The position has never been officially filled, so the responsibility is left to the experienced RN's. That's me and one other nurse, we alternate days if we're working the same night. The frustrating part of our situation is that we have all the responsibility, but none of the authority. We are responsible for staffing, but can't authorize employee's requests for schedule changes (there is another official lead nurse on the shift that does this, but she only works three days a week, so much of the staff never sees her). Also, since the staff knows we're not official, they are a bit more apt to bit#* about their assignment, etc. We get $12/shift extra when in charge, but that is not equivalent to what the official lead gets. Both of us are interested in this position, but the Head has not seen fit to fill. I felt like it was because he had it made. Why appoint one when you can get two for the price of one? Last week, though, in a conversation with the HN, he told me he wanted to put me in this position, but because of having one year seniority over me the other nurse looked better on paper. The other is minority, so the HN fears a discrimination suit if he appoints anyone else. The other nurse has the years, but is a pathetic nurse and everyone knows it..including the HN.

Oh well..I've vented, now. Thanks for listening.

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