Canoehead - I feel your pain. I supervised for a while at my hospital in Florida and can tell you that I hated every minute of it. I really liked going to the units and helping out and the patient contact, but the nurses really took advantage of me, much like you are describing. I felt like if I were ever to really be successful in the role, I had to recognize that I was indeed the supervisor
and represented leadership
to the hospital on the shift that I covered. I mean, we did everything ... pharmacy, problems, staffing, you name it, the supervisors did it. Anyway, I had to eleveate the position in my mind and decided that I needed to hold the units accountable for the care they were providing. If a charge nurse called me to help .... she knew that she better have a full assignment herself, or at least be out on the floor as well. Finally after a while, the nurses got the message. However, like anything else ....you have to restate the obvious every 6 months because of turn-over.
Needless to say, I really was unhappy in that role and made a decision that I would much rather be responsible for myself rather than the actions of a bunch of nurses that really could have cared less what help I provided them, because the help I offered was simply never enough for them.
Hang in there because there are a lot of people on the board that are where you are now or have been there.