Refusing to do charge


  • Specializes in NICU, Telephone Triage.

Do you think it's ok to refuse to be in charge? I've tried it and decided I really don't like it, especially the whining from co-workers.

I'd rather be doing bedside care. I think some nurses are meant to be leaders and some are not.

We have a shortage of charge nurses on a shift, but nobody else really wants to get trained to do it.

What do you think? Do you like being in charge or not?


128 Posts

Specializes in Home Health. Has 28 years experience.

I personally was put in charge a few times at a hospital I worked at for about 10 yrs. wasnt often but I didnt like it. Now as a traveler I am asked to do it at some places but I refuse. Too much to know and deal with and not having time to learn how to handle situation that might happen. I am not interested in all that goes with it.

Elvish, BSN, DNP, RN, NP

17 Articles; 5,259 Posts

Specializes in Community, OB, Nursery.

I do charge in the newborn nursery, and I don't mind it most nights. I wouldn't want to do it every night, though. Sometimes it's nice to just be a 'peon.'

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 46 years experience.

It depends on the circumstances -- and how your unit is organized. If "taking your turn" at being the Charge Nurse is an expectation of all nurses on that unit, then you need to do your fair share. If you are going to be a full member of the team and be paid the same amount as everyone else, then you need to fulfill the same responsibilities. We can't just do the parts of our jobs that we like and leave the stuff we don't like undone. What if nobody wanted to do Charge? What if nobody wanted to be a preceptor? What if nobody wanted to take care of the more challenging patients? etc. etc. etc. You can't run a unit that way.

However, on some units ... there is no need for everybody to take the Charge Nurse roles. It is not an expectation of everybody. If that is the case, then it's OK to choose not to do it. But hopefully, you will be willing to do "your fair share" of other tasks that need to be done and which may be unpopular or challenging.

DutchgirlRN, ASN, RN

1 Article; 3,932 Posts

Specializes in OB, M/S, HH, Medical Imaging RN. Has 33 years experience.

I would make it known that you prefer not to do charge. Perhaps talk to your NM about it in private.

I've done charge and enjoyed it and other days I felt like I'd rather be at the bedside. I never refused to do charge because I did feel comfortable in that position.

I would occasionally get pulled to ICU or CCU. Eventually I refused to go to CCU. I felt very uncomfortable with the staff and with the patients I was assigned. I eventually refused to float to CCU and was told that I would have to but they never did pull me to CCU again. I did tell my NM in private how uncomfortable I felt in CCU but didn't mind being pulled to any other areas of the hospital and I think that made a difference because I wasn't totally unflexible.

Specializes in Gyn Onc, OB, L&D, HH/Hospice/Palliative.

I hate charge,( but get it quite often.) I don't know anyone who does. We get a full pt load plus charge , no differential. Who could like that? Where's the incentive? We have no choice in the matter.

If I told my NM I didn't like it, could some one else do it, she would think I have completely lost my mind--but that still wouldn't be enough reason for her assign it to someone else!!!:bugeyes:

Has 19 years experience.

When I'm working at a good facility with a good crew, I really enjoy being charge.

When I have a problem crew, I hate it.

I am having to be in charge and take 6 pts also and I hate it. Apparently it happens all over but I am the only one on day shift on the floor units that has to take pts. I am wondering if I can refuse it after I have already been in charge.

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