A charge nurse most often works in a hospital or a similar health-care environments such as nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. A charge nurse is effectively the manager of the department or hospital unit to which they are assigned. Common duties include overseeing operations, monitoring admissions and discharges, and directing and overseeing the activities of the nursing and support staff. A charge nurse also often is responsible for direct patient charge, as well as any additional duties assigned to the role of charge nurse.
A charge nurse usually is expected to plan and maintain the schedule of the nursing and support staff and may work on the unit's budget. The charge nurse often has the responsibility of monitoring inventories of supplies and medicines. Typical coworkers include nurses, certified nurses assistants, physical therapists, nutritional aides, doctors, and respiratory therapists. The charge nurse often works closely with the unit manager.
Above-average communication skills are mandatory for charge nurses. Completion of training as a registered nurse is required through completing a bachelor's or associate's degree. A charge nurse usually works 12-hour shifts in a hospital setting. Some charge nurse may work a shorter shift, closer to 8 hours, while some charge nurses may work a 16-hour shift. Often, charge nurses working 12-hour shifts or longer can expect to work three days a week, but this will vary depending on the individual and the facility.
Charge Nurse (RN) Tasks
- Educate the nursing staff on patient care.
- Supervise the delivery of care in a nursing unit.
- Communicate patient status to incoming nursing shift and to physicians.
- Coordinate the activities of the unit and assign work to the nursing staff.
- Institute emergency procedures as necessary.