Should nurses be forced to take charge against their will?

  1. hi everyone!
    this is my first time posting here and i wanted to say that i'm glad i found this forum. this seems to be a great way to share support and information, and i look forward to reading many more of your posts.
    i was curious to know how everyone feels about staff nurses being forced into the role of taking charge. not neccessarily brand new nurses, but nurses who have had at least 2 - 3 years experience on a particular unit, but simply desire to remain in the staff nurse position without the added stress and responsibility of taking charge.
    i feel that it's not always the # of years of experience, or level of clinical skill that automatically qualifies one for the role of charge nurse. some people by nature are more assertive, handle stress better, and adapt well to leadership positions. others do not.
    what does everyone think about this? rc
  2. Visit luv2dive profile page

    About luv2dive

    Joined: Nov '06; Posts: 22; Likes: 27
    Staff nurse, mother-baby
    Specialty: 30 year(s) of experience in med-surg, home health, dialysis, NICU-MB


  3. by   augigi
    I don't think you should be "forced to take charge against your will" - but having said that, if I was the NUM I would be worried about a staff member who'd been there 2-3 years and was not interested in advancing their development and learning a new skill. I would have to speak to them to find out why they felt that way. Charging is a task which experienced nurses should be able to fill in for, even if they ultimately want to stay at the bedside and not in the office.
  4. by   EmerNurse
    On the other hand, I'd hate to be the one who always ends up covering charge (not my fav thing to do) just because no one else WANTS to. Who says I always WANT to? If it's part of the job description on hiring, then I believe all RNs should do their share.. we all have to keep up our ACLS and stuff don't we?

  5. by   ZASHAGALKA

    Not only is the answer, 'no', with the Kentucky River NLRB decision, the request itself, in union facilities, will be impossible to demand.

    Why? Because the very act of being 'in charge' serves to separate a charge nurse from union representation. It will be impossible for hospitals to demand that the nurses THEY choose must no longer accept union representation.

    And, you can bet that rules that forbid such demands will now be written into every future union contract.

    The result: being in charge now bears a price that will fundamentally alter the supply of such nurses, radically increasing their demand. And THAT will mean the costs (to employers) of being in charge will now dramatically rise.

    With one caveat: being in charge now carries the means by which some union employees can, at their desire, avoid forced union representation in union facilities. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because it will force unions to be even more proactive for their members to reduce desertion by accepting a charge position.

    However you look at it, the role of charge nurse is about to drastically change. And those changes at union facilities will serve to create consistent changes at non-union facilities.

    And those changes will also serve to give those that ultimately are tapped to become charge nurses power over such decisions, including the power to say no.

    Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Dec 1, '06
  6. by   Sheri257
    Management did try to force a friend of mine to do charge. But, she's a new grad and wasn't really comfortable with it. She went to the union, and they put a stop to it.

  7. by   llg
    As with most things ... it depends on the circumstances.

    If you are in a unionized facility and taking the charge role puts you in a different category (as described above), then I believe the Charge Nurse role should be a job category separate from the Staff Nurse category. People should then have the right to apply for one job without being expected to fulfill the obligations of the other.

    However, in a non-unionized facility, that distinction is usually not relavant. In some places, the Charge Nurse role is not considered a supervisory role to a significant degree -- it's simply a staff nurse designated to coordinate a few things things during her shift. All staff nurses take turns taking that responsibility. It's more of a "team captain" than a "supervisor" in such cases. In such an environment, I think it is reasonable to add charge responsibilities to everyone's job description and to treat it as just another task that needs to be done. In such a case, it is just like the other tasks of nursing that some people like more than others. To not take your turn doing a required task and dumping it on your colleagues just because you don't like it is not fair to your colleagues.

    I've worked in both types of environments. It really depends on the particulars of the situation.

  8. by   MomNRN
    I don't believe anyone should be "forced" to take the charge nurse position. There are definitely those who are better at it than others. There are also those who desire it more than others.

    There are those who are dying to be in charge who shouldn't be in charge. Years of experience does not always equal good charge nursing.

    This is a very sticky topic at our facility. I take it when I have to. I am told I am good at it, but I don't enjoy it. I like to go to work, do my time, and leave. The additional hassles are not worth it.
  9. by   PANurseRN1
    If it's included in your job description, then yes.
  10. by   gitterbug
    A registered nurse should always be able to take charge of a floor or any situation necessary for the good of the patient. That said, being able and being forced is 2 different things. I was trained for charge, just like every other new grad on the unit, we were then allowed to rotate charge weekly, a decision was then made about who wanted to do charge and who did not. In the end, 2 of us did charge and 2 did not. I did not mind charge then, but now, I hate doing it at times. Too many nurses today think telling the charge nurse ends their responsibility to the patient or physician. It does not.
  11. by   AfloydRN
    Everyone is NOT charge material and actually make more work for the rest of us. I did charge for years and would rather do it the right way than have someone mess up the assignment and patient aquity.
  12. by   elizabeth321
    Charge especially after 2-3 years of nursing is just one more part of the job...a unit that is well rounded enough to have nurses that are capable of charge at any time benefits everyone.
    IF a nurse can't do charge for some reason, lack of ability, confidence, judgement, knowledge etc that issue should be dealt with as a deficit, give the person extra orientation etc. It is not an acceptable thing.

  13. by   EmerNurse
    Quote from elizabeth321
    IF a nurse can't do charge for some reason, lack of ability, confidence, judgement, knowledge etc that issue should be dealt with as a deficit, give the person extra orientation etc. It is not an acceptable thing.

    Have to agree with the comment above. Worked on a floor where we could be put in charge without prior notice. But it was always "some" of us, not ALL of us taking a turn. The reason was that "well, xxx, RN doesn't like it or isn't very good at it". NOT a good excuse - if you have nurses who can't meet their job requirements (which are required of most everyone else) then it needs to be remediated, not just ignored. Not all of us love charging (seriously not worth the hassle for an extra buck an hour!), but we do it when required. If that's the case, then everyone with RN after their name should be capable of it (after appropriate orientation of course).
  14. by   danissa
    :spin: years ago, as a new midwife, I was charge in postnatal ward. at the time there was myself and a new Sister midwife, who supposedly,on opposite shifts from me, had responsibility. Most times she banged the office door shut and sat crying or shouting! i used to work well on past my time to make sure things were aok for her coming on, or have to pick up the pieces after she went off! we have team midwifery, so had to make sure that if the teams were busy in labour ward, their patients were covered. When I look back, I give myself a big pat on the back, as I did a good job and the ward ran smoothly because of my extra slog!
    Now, in the NICU, I have only been in charge a fewtimes, it's a whole different ball game, and I feel that in an environment like the NICU, I want the most experienced person on that shift to be in charge. in my first job, that was the post I accepted, I knew that was what would be expected of me, but now I would feel that you should not be forced to take charge against your will. Who is left happy, confident or fullfilled by this? certainly not the nurse, or I would imagine the rest of the shift!:uhoh21: