On a good unit the charge nurse is available for every staff member, she will assist with orders, call lab results while you finish meds, answer lights, check the acuity, keep track of empty bed, admissions, settle problems with families or staff. Sometimes she takes a outpatient just there for a specific IV or IM med. On a bad unit, like the one I last worked the charge nurse sat at the desk or in the HN office and did nothing all day. Reports she was assigned to do were added onto the staff nurse, outpatient procedures were added onto the staff nurse, disputes with pharmacy, transport, xray were added onto the staff nurse. She was always going to a lunch meeting that lasted 2 hours, so we could not count on getting a lunch, when we charge the no lunch she was angry and stated she left the floor well staffed to cover this period. Sure she did, if you say 2 or 3 RN's for 32 was adequate. It takes experience, cool thinking, fairness and a good work ethic to be a good charge nurse. Today they seem to be few and far between.