ICU Charge Nurse with Patient Assignment

  1. I work in a facility in Manhattan that until recently did not assign the charge nurse a patient load. It was understood that the charge nurse would pick up patients as the need arose. A recent decision has been made where the charge nurse is now assigned two patients and they need to manage that assignment in conjunction with all the many other duties of a charge nurse. I am wondering if this new practice is common in other facilities? Does your ICU charge have a patient assignment? Thanks!
  2. Poll: Should the ICU Charge have a patient assignment?

    • ICU Charge with no pts

      79.10% 53
    • ICU Charge with one pt

      20.90% 14
    67 Votes
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    About joeameehan

    Joined: Apr '10; Posts: 1


  4. by   Sun0408
    ICU charge with two pts each shift
  5. by   Cook26
    Quote from Sun0408
    ICU charge with two pts each shift
    Same where I work. Charge gets patients like everyone else. We usually try to set it up where the charge has a lower acuity so they can manage the unit as well.

    Also, charge doesn't receive any additional pay.
  6. by   Nalon1 RN/EMT-P
    Charge has 2 patients like every one else.
    As above, they try to give the charge lower acuity patients if possible. I think charge pays an additional $1/hr (not worth it IMO).

    This being the case, I don't agree with it.
    A free charge can make the floor move so much easier and more efficient having them be able to float and help where needed and covering lunches and such.

    All other floors at our facility have a free charge though (but the nurses agreed to take 1 more patient each to do so).
  7. by   KBICU
    Charge never has an assignment, ever. They will help where needed but they are also part of the RRT for the entire hospital.
  8. by   cheetos
    The day shift charge nurse never has a patient, unless it's an emergency. Because they budget less hours to night shift, most shifts our charge nurse has to take patients and charge at night. It's kind of rare to have a free charge at night. Most of the night shift aren't too happy about it.
  9. by   sapphire18
    Our charge gets the same pt load as anyone else, but we're a very small unit.
  10. by   returnednurse
    Charge does not take patients routinely. it works really well because they can support those just coming off orientation as well as any pool nurses. They are also part of Code Blue and RRT team so, when would they take care of their own patients?
  11. by   Wile E Coyote
    Small units here:14 bed general ICU and 6 bed cvicu, each with separate charges who have regular full assignments. ICU charge runs all codes, rapid responses, "hey come look at ________" in our small-ish 235 bed hospital.
  12. by   tswim
    250 bed hospital, 24 ICU beds (MICU+SICU), 1 charge nurse, 1 rapid response nurse; neither takes patients.

    Charge has both roles when short-staffed.
  13. by   silentRN
    why would anyone in their right mind say that a charge nurse should have any patients, unless you are part of the administration??!!
  14. by   tswim
    When it's all they know, people begin to believe it's how it ought to be.
  15. by   313RN
    I'm in an urban trauma hospital with 48 ICU beds out of about 200 total.

    Where I am senior staff (on the unit 1 year) takes turns as charge. Usually one day per week per nurse. Some units charge makes the assignment, some units RNs select their assignment after a brief report from the off-going charge.

    As far as assignments go, you get what you get. There's no effort for or expectation of a lighter load when you're charge.

    Rapid response never takes patients, SWAT (ICU transport/travel) gets pulled into staffing as necessary but generally has no assignment either.