Charge nurse with less than a year RN experience???!! - page 5

Recently one of the nurses I work with began training to be charge on our 30-bed (very busy!) med/surg unit. But here's the kicker - while she's very pleasant to work hasn't even been a... Read More

  1. by   ZippyGBR
    is this 'nurse in charge' i.e. shift leading as a staff nurse or the actual first line manager role of Charge Nurse ?
  2. by   walk6miles
    Happening in our hospital too. The latest is someone I try not to work with (why? because this particular nurse is angry, angry, angry. His attitude spills over into everything he does). A new grad (14 months) and disappointed because nursing hasn't reached some presumed nirvana he is searching for. Sad - sad - sad!
    Last edit by walk6miles on Mar 17, '09 : Reason: FIX PARANTHESIS.
  3. by   pediatricsRN
    This is an unfortunate sign of the times for healthcare which is in crisis in the U.S. This does not surprise me in the least. Nothing against the young and inexperienced, we were all there once, but this practice will increase patient mortality and morbidity for sure. In high risk areas you really depend on the more experienced nurese around you because let's face it, clinicals are a far cry from the real world. I do not know what i would have done without the experineced ones when I was new. This should become a National Patient Safety Goal enforced by JCAHO.
  4. by   Henrik
    I believe charge nurse should have over years of experience. One year is too less.
    Nothing personal. But, maybe you should ask yourself and other nurses in the unit.
    Why no one in the unit apply that position? Or none of nurse in your unit get the position?
  5. by   greasy
    I can reply to this from two different sides. This first being,when I first got out of RN school, my first job was being a charge nurse on a Peds floor. I was the only RN with either an LPN or Aide on the floor with me. This all depended on our census. Most pts were high acuity. I had anywhere from 6-10pts at a time. I graduated form a diploma RN school, in which I had alot of clinicals in all areas of nursing. Was I scared ? Yes, but I was more than ready to take on the challenge. Did I maintain a safe environment for my pts? Yes, I would never jeaporadize my pts or my new RN license. Now, coming from a Nursing Educator point of view. It all depends on the new grad. I have students right now that it would be very unsafe for them to be charge nurses right out of school. On the other hand, I have students that would do great and are definitely qualified to take over that position. As an instructor, I get reference check calls from employers regarding this matter. Employers will not put someone in that position, if they are not qualified, based on the reference check.
  6. by   jizzi
    When I was a new grad, I was orienting with a seasoned RN. However, one 3-11 shift, she called out sick and I was left in charge because there was no one else to assign to my unit. I was nervous but got through the shift without any problem. I attended one of the best nursing diploma programs and was working at this same institution. I knew to ask the nursing supervisor for help if needed. That was 35 years ago. We had a nursing shortage then, same as we do now. This may not have been the ideal situation, but it truely tests the skills you have acquired.
  7. by   swiftdr
    I am currently leaving a Clinical Coordinator position in a 24 Step-Down Unit where for the past two years our turn-over rate was so bad that the only option was to orient those "new grads" with one year or less experience to Charge Nurse role... The improtant caveat to any of this is - "does the relatively inexperienced nurse show initiative and critical thinking skills?"

    I look forward to the day when there is enough depth of experience in our profession NOT to do this, but currently it is necessary.

    Oh, by the way, I'm at a Magnet Hospital too. Lofty goals get run over by reality sometimes....
  8. by   cloister
    I came out of school with my BSN almost 22 years ago. Got the required hospital orientation ("This is a crash cart!"), and then oriented 3 weeks on a 26 bed neurosurgical floor. Had not yet received my license, having taken boards just a week or two prior.

    Came in to work one night at 10:15 p.m. and was told, "You're in charge. Make out the assignments."

    Not another RN around, 3 LPNs and 5 patients of my own. On top of that, I admitted a patient that night. My preceptor? MOVED TO ALASKA. I kid you not.

    Needless to say, the 3 LPNs were not happy (couldn't blame them), and I lost no time screwing up. My manager was a short timer and could have cared less. Not a great experience. Never dawned on me to say no, however. At 22, with a Southern upbringing, my stock response was, "Yes, ma'am." Thank God nobody died that night......

    Now, when I started in my present unit, I had been there almost 3-1/2 years when I was oriented to charge, and we had a lot of experienced folks to fall back on. Such a difference.........

    Presently, we're not orienting anyone to charge who hasn't been there at least 5 years. It's not a policy, it's just the way it's been shaking out. Thank goodness for low turnover!
  9. by   silmas RN
    When I was a senior in nursing school back in the 60's, nursing admin would often take 2 senior students (who were working "extra" as nursing assistants) to equal 1 charge nurse. We did not have an option. It was "do it or you're out". We had to do it so often that being in charge was 2nd nature when we graduated.
  10. by   colzanurse
    Wow, well, let me tell you, as a new graduate nurse all of six months, one night shift I was ASSIGNED to be the charge nurse and was not allowed to refuse. I have beein in a code, I have done plenty of NGs, IVs, etc., and I don't believe that you can say a nurse with less than one year can't do any of those things. But if I had the say-so, I would have refused to do the charge nurse job because I wasn't trained to do THAT. I was given the charge phone, charge pager, and told "here is the schedule to do for the next two shifts. You'll be fine." So I disagree AND agree with your post. And I hope I never have to be charge nurse again for a long time.
  11. by   colzanurse
    The word "no" to taking charge position after it's assigned will get us written up, sent home and possibly suspended. I wonder if it's different in a union hospital?
  12. by   paddlelady
    Wow this happened to me. I had only one year experience in a County ER and in 6 months I was a charge nurse then I transferred to Trauma unit . Then I was made Charge Nurse on the evening and night shift in the County Trauma Unit. However, the job skills you learn pretty fast. We started IV and intracaths, learned how to intubate, settings on ventilators, run codes and much more. In one week with all the incoming trauma if you didnt learn you were out on your ear so to speak. So you learn your skills and your organizational skills very quickly. I have to say that this was in 1970. So this is nothing new it happen to many of my classmates. No wonder I am retired now. I guess I was thrown in the line of fire too quickly. However, these skills took me very far in my nursing career and I was able to build a nice skill set and very employable.
  13. by   caliotter3
    I once worked at a long term care facility where an LVN was the house supervisor on night shift even though there was an RN there. She was a relatively new grad. There were other factors involved, but I could see where he would be in charge based on his experience and abilities.

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