Charge Nurse: Roles and Job Expectations
There are different management styles in the hospital. Nurses in particular have defined roles and responsibilities in order to distribute the job of the nursing service. There are roles that are authoritative in nature such as the case managers, charge nurse or head nurses. Clinical roles are more concentrated to staff nurses as they are the ones responsible in bedside care.
Focusing on the nature of the job of a charge nurse, it is inclined to management and organization. A charge nurse directs the nurses in performing their functions. Their work is actually similar to the tasks made by a head nurse.
In a summary here are the basic functions of a charge nurse:
1. Makes patient rounds and sees to it that all patients in the ward get the necessary care - The charge nurse leads the team of nurses after the proper endorsement and verifies the special procedures or other necessary care that is within her knowledge. As prescribed in the function, he or she imposes an atmosphere of leadership in the health care while observing proper health care delivery.
2. Sees to it that all equipments are properly kept and supplies are readily available - After the rounds, he or she would then inspect all equipments and refer to the log book if it was properly returned, checked when it was last used as well as if it is functioning. This action must be done daily by the charge nurse so that in times of emergency all the equipments can serve its function saving the lives that are in critical.
3. Arranges the schedule of each nursing personnel. – He or she practices this scheduling and asks for any idea about the arrangement she did so that it would be fair enough to her staff. The scheduling is based on the transit of the patients in a particular shift as well as the need of medical personnel. The nature of scheduling the staff may involve the experience of each staff in that duty.
4. Assists the clinical instructor in terms of giving patient assignments to student nurses – The charge nurse is also involved in the development of nursing students. It is crucial for the charge nurse to give proper orientation for student nurses. He or she would observe the scenario and would willing allow students to handle the case when it is congruent to the objectives of their clinical exposure.
5. Coordinates with the physician regarding orders. – He or she checks randomly the work of the staff after the doctor have signed the orders. Sometimes, when the staffs have many orders to carry out, he or she even helps in properly carrying it out.
6. Plans the usual flow of activities in the unit - It is a fundamental nursing activity that must be observed in an organized manner to avoid undue stay of the patient in the department such as first taking the vital signs. Second, taking the vital information as well as calling the appropriate physician on duty. Third, appraising the patient for certain procedures prescribed.
7. Performs evaluation among its subordinates. – The charge nurse has a grasp of the quality of each staff nurse as well as how they would face each case. He or she performs an evaluation and makes sure that each critic is a constructive one for each staff nurse. Some of the problems may also arise during this evaluation phase, it is his or her job to help the staff nurse to cope with such problems that may interfere the whole working team if left unmanaged.
8. Participates in the orientation of new staff and nursing students. – The charge nurse spearheads the orientation for the new staff as well as to the nursing students. During the orientation stage, she makes sure that she addresses each inquiry about the department since it is a special area.
9. Interprets hospital philosophy, objectives and policies to staff, patients and their families and students – The charge nurse follows the hospital policies and explains it properly to the folks of the patient as well as to the patient. Adhering to the policies given shows how it is to take care of the institution and as an organization. This is showing that she is in an administrative position which means that he or she must first be the person to understand and carry the policies in the institution.
10. Represents that ward during the service meetings and other activities in the hospital – Being present in the nursing service meetings will ensure proper channelling of news and information.
A charge nurse is a nurse that is motivated to be a leader and a change agent. Evidenced-based nursing care is documented by the charge nurse as he or she is the leader in delivering safe and effective care to all the age groups.
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