Boy, those are all terrific ideas, esp grnville chick!
In our 40 bed NICU, the charge "mama" is a definite factor in making a good shift! Our night shift are party types, any reason for a potluck will be obeyed!
The charge nurse designates "admits" and "chores" like checking crash cart, point of care testing stuff, transporters and books, etc., checks on assignments, helps everyone, takes admits and goes to deliveries when necessary, arbitrates visitor and other problems and is resource for any and all issues. With 30+ babies, families, ~ 14-18 staff members, 2-3 RT's, 3 Docs to ride herd on, she does not
take an assignment unless the admits are taken. If she's a relief, all this honor and glory is hers for an additional $2.50/hr!
We ALL know how hard they work, and since almost everybody takes a turn eventually, we're nice to them!! She makes the assignments in the ICU section, and the "team leaders" make the assignments in the less acute side.
Making sure the coffee pot is working is a good thing, too. A 4am/pm feeding of cookies (or whatever) helps give them a boost for the last round of work.