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charge nurse: dealing with negativity

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by aimric aimric (New) New

951 Profile Views; 7 Posts

I recently started as a fulltime charge nurse on my unit, I was wondering how others deal when people constantly complain about their assignments, it seems that no one is ever happy no matter how accommodating you are with the assignments, it's exhausting. I'm happy and grateful to have my position but it's tough dealing with such negativity.

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brownbook has 35 years experience.

1 Follower; 3,413 Posts; 46,627 Profile Views

I listen and emphasize. Most of the time staff (people in general) just want somebody to hear them...."yes it is hard when you just got the new admit....yes you have a lot to do, room 218 needs a lot of care.....yes I know bed 302 needs a blood transfusion...."

Then I offer to help, "I can get the blood transfusion started for you......let me do the nursing assessment on the new admit.....how about I spend some time with 218, and do his dressing change......you don't have a clerk, I will answer phones and enter your orders."

This lets the staff know you know (remember) how hard bedside nursing is. Once the staff knows you will back them up, you will really put your "boots on the ground" when they are sinking, they appreciate it and the "whining" (ha ha) will decrease.

I have often found when staff complains how they are drowning, they need more help, I spend about 20 minutes or less and suddenly things smooth out, the crises goes away, and when I ask what else I can do I hear...."thanks, I'm okay now."

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7 Posts; 951 Profile Views

I forgot to mention in addition to this I usually have a full team myself because staffing at my hospital right now is a challenge.

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sallyrnrrt is a ADN, RN and specializes in critical care, ER,ICU, CVSURG, CCU.

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i look them in the face and with concern, not defensive,.....calmly ask "can you do your job"

seldom to I hear "no".......i may give a little empathy, if not a frequent winner :).......i will tell them i appreciate their efforts, I know its tuff, but i need your help.........

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Pepper The Cat has 34 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Gerontology.

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There are people who will never be happy with their assignment. You could give one nurse I work with all walkiesmtalkies and she would still complain that she was walking too much between rooms.

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TheCommuter has 14 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

4 Followers; 226 Articles; 27,607 Posts; 321,210 Profile Views

I was wondering how others deal when people constantly complain about their assignments
1. I hear them out. I find out the reason why the nurses or techs are complaining about their particular assignments. Sometimes they feel they have too many patients. Other times they feel they have been assigned to a group of demanding, needy patients who will suck up all their time.

2. If I feel the complaint is valid, I help with some time-consuming tasks (wound care, IV medications, drips, suture removal, type & cross, blood transfusions, etc). If a nurse has too many patients, I will provide primary care to a couple of them to ease his/her load.

3. If I feel the complaint is invalid (read: nurse is sitting with her feet up at the nurses station playing Candy Crush Saga on her smartphone while call lights are ringing), I remind her that she'd have plenty of time to complete her workload if she didn't allow the wonderful world of phone apps to suck up her time.

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69 Posts; 2,356 Profile Views

I say dont accomodate anyone then they can't complain about how so and so is accomodated but they are not. Or tell them the grass is not greener, you've seen it.

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kbrn2002 has 25 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in Geriatrics, Dialysis.

3,167 Posts; 30,373 Profile Views

Welcome to the world of charge! I am charge every time I work, my full wing assignment plus every little thing that crops up needing to be dealt with. At least for me since it's a SNF I don't have nurses complaining about their assignments, I do however have the CNA's coming to me from all over the building with their concerns, sometimes valid but more often not. Between smoothing ruffled staff members and family members feathers, answering most phone calls and trying to cover shifts for call offs, or trying to cover shifts just because there was already a hole on the schedule it's really not worth that little bit of extra money.

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firstinfamily has 33 years experience as a RN.

790 Posts; 5,724 Profile Views

So you are doing charge and taking a pt assignment as well? I don't understand the logic in that. If you are in charge of the entire unit and trouble shooting everything, attending to the MDs, answering the telephone etc. then what type of care are your patients getting?? I find an old saying to be true, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" meaning that the person who complains the most usually gets what they want etc. YOu cannot show favoritism, and is acuity being considered when making assignments or just the census? If you are able to step in and help them that should be enough. You want to be there for guidance, but not be a sucker at the same time! Doing charge is hard and very demanding and not very rewarding. If they give you a real hard time, I would say, "Well, I acomodated you on Wednesday, so now it is so and so's turn." Good luck!!!

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7 Articles; 1,144 Posts; 38,131 Profile Views

I am a substitute charge nurse, not full time (you are brave!). Once I had some nurses who were complaining about their assignments. At about 2 in the morning I saw that most of them were caught up with everything for the time being, and I invited them to try to make the staff assignments. I work on a floor with different nurse: patient ratios depending on the acuity of the patient- anywhere from 2:1 to 4:1. Also some patients require specialized nursing training while others are suitable for float nurses. Throw into the mix difficult families or very heavy total care patients, because of course you don't want to give one nurse all the difficult families or total cares. It was so funny watching them trying to figure out the assignments, and admitting it was a lot harder than they all thought. I think they earned some respect for the charge position that night!

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7 Articles; 1,144 Posts; 38,131 Profile Views

I forgot to mention in addition to this I usually have a full team myself because staffing at my hospital right now is a challenge.

I hear you! It's hard!

When you have the full load of patients, delegate out as much of your non-critical duties as possible if any of the nurses have lighter assignments or you know they will be caught up at some point in the shift. I sometimes have a not-so-busy nurse do the handwashing audits or chart audits, or be the go-to resource person for the nurses who are newer or floating.

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sallyrnrrt is a ADN, RN and specializes in critical care, ER,ICU, CVSURG, CCU.

1 Follower; 2,387 Posts; 27,011 Profile Views

So you are doing charge and taking a pt assignment as well? I don't understand the logic in that. If you are in charge of the entire unit and trouble shooting everything, attending to the MDs, answering the telephone etc. then what type of care are your patients getting?? I find an old saying to be true, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" meaning that the person who complains the most usually gets what they want etc. YOu cannot show favoritism, and is acuity being considered when making assignments or just the census? If you are able to step in and help them that should be enough. You want to be there for guidance, but not be a sucker at the same time! Doing charge is hard and very demanding and not very rewarding. If they give you a real hard time, I would say, "Well, I acomodated you on Wednesday, so now it is so and so's turn." Good luck!!!

firstinfamily, sadly what poster described that you responded to re "what kind of care are your patients getting?" is a far toooooooooooooooo frequent occurance in SNF/LTC

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