Do your Charge RNs take patients?


Do your Charge RNs take patients

  1. 1. Do your Charge RNs take patients

62 members have participated

Recently we have had some changes due to the healthcare reform and watching the budget closer and having to balance staffing, patient safety, and budget.

Our Charge RNs rarely ever have taken patients but every other hospital I have worked for we did. So now, our Charge RNs are furious and dragging the units down with negativity.

So, my question is... do your charge RNs take patients? I work on a stepdown/intermediate care unit. Our staff RN ratios are 4-5:1 days and nights and our Charge has been taking 1-3 patients.

Thanks for you input!

Altra, BSN, RN

6,255 Posts

Specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

The poll responses are likely to come from nurses working in various types of units, too diverse to really give you meaningful perspective. And even within the category "step-down" ... acuity can vary dramatically. My hospital's stepdown has a 1:3 ratio, but that includes some vents and other pretty high acuity patients. Yours may not ... and so your higher ratio may really not mean that my hospital's ratio is "better" or that your ratio is necessarily unsafe.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 20,908 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 43 years experience.

I love the way hospitals will use any excuse to cut nurses and make them do more with less so the ACA....which has NOT been rolled out enough to affect them.....has affected their ability to keep goo d staffing patterns. They (the hospitals) disgust me.

Many charge nurses take patients.....4:1, 5:1 ratios on a step down unit aren't bad ratios depending on the unit itself. the charge nurse....depending on her duties can take 3 patients or so and not endanger anyone.

Your charge nurses need to stand up to their leadership roles and lead by example. What do their duties entail?

blondy2061h, MSN, RN

1 Article; 4,094 Posts

Specializes in Oncology. Has 15 years experience.

Ours never used to but recently have had to take 1-2. Many nurses are out injured and I'll right now and we have some new hires starting, so hopefully this will change soon. It truly hurts patient care, especially if we have no tech also.


1,114 Posts

Specializes in PACU, pre/postoperative, ortho. Has 12 years experience.

On days/eve usually no, but almost always on nights; can be up to a full load of 7 depending on staffing although 4-5 is typical.


122 Posts

Specializes in Psychiatric nursing. Has 13 years experience.

Yes, the charge RN takes a patient assignment on my unit. Some nights they even have to do an admission too.

Anna Flaxis, BSN, RN

3 Articles; 2,816 Posts

Has 16 years experience.

The way I see it, the charge nurse functions as the "air traffic controller" for the unit as well as a resource for the rest of the nurses. Their ability to perform these vital functions is severely hampered if they are tied down with a full patient load. I do think it's reasonable for the charge nurse to take an admission, do the admission assessment and med rec, tuck the patient in and do any stat orders, take the orders off the chart, etc., and then hand that patient off to the primary nurse. But I'm not really in favor of the charge nurse having a patient assignment as a general rule.

Has 6 years experience.

At my first job, charge nurses took full patient loads. At my current job, they take no patients. It is soooo much better having a free charge! Our charge nurses are actually helpful because they have time to be.


467 Posts

Our charge nurse does not take patients. I work 1900-0730 and we don't get CNAs, so our charge will help answer call lights and also help with admissions. well as starting IVs if the rest of us are too busy.


3 Posts

Yes, our unit is not as high an acuity. No vents. More surgical cases... Belly, back, lap etc

Our charge RNs certainly need to step up and lead by example!! Taking 1-3 patients as charge is 100% doable as I have certainly done so withe a FULL load of patients! Unfortunately some have a mentality of it's not my job... Well it won't be soon!

Specializes in Pediatric Pulmonary. Has 11 years experience.

Our ANM acts as the charge nurse when she is in. She does not typically take patients, though she will if we are short-staffed and need the help. If our ANM is not in, another nurse on the floor will act as charge, but still takes a full patient load.


175 Posts

No, they do not on our unit. They are considered charge/resource nurse and that is who you go to if you need help, are running behind getting media, need her to help get your new pt admitted, etc. they are also responsible to make sure everything is running smoothly on the unit and at we are doi g our interventions in an appropriate time frame.