8 frustrating things about being a charge nurse

iStockphoto | ThinkStock

iStockphoto | ThinkStock

No doubt about it: being in charge is a tough job (we know charge nurses all around the country are currently nodding their heads in agreement!). From mounds of paperwork to understaffing to less-than-ideal coworker attitudes, charge nurses have to deal with it all…which can be exasperating day after day. We asked our charge nurse Facebook fans for the most frustrating aspects of their jobs…read on to see what they said and sound off with your own thoughts in the comments below!

8 frustrating things about being a charge nurse

1. Dealing with people making decisions about the running of the unit who don’t work the bedside and just cause more chaos than the issues trying to be handled. They forget that patient care comes FIRST.
—Conni Errickson Miller

2. Working at a place where overtime is prohibited, but you need to pass meds, deal with interruptions, document falls, tend to wounds, etc. (all of which I love to do), for 25 to 30 patients. Really??? Somehow, it’s got to stop being about the money for the facilities and more about quality care!
—Monica Martinez

3. Too much focus on the budget with staffing! I wish people would realize if we just got back to the basics of nursing, “truly caring for the patient,” we would make the budget. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but with a million audits and everything else that has to be done, it really takes focus off of the whole purpose: the patient.
—Beth Bockerstette Ferch

4. I work in the NICU. The most frustrating part of nursing for me is when you’ve done everything you can do, exhausted every avenue, and your baby just won’t get better. It hurts the heart….
—Natalie Maxwell McPherson

5. The most frustrating part of being charge on a critical care unit is when you don’t know if you can trust someone on your staff. My job is 10 times easier when I know and trust my entire team.
—Monica Stewart

6. Not getting to spend enough time with my residents because I have so much paperwork to do!
—Angel Craycraft Ross

7. I recently got promoted to charge nurse, although I’ve been acting charge for the past two years now. I love my job even when I have to do a lot of things at almost the same time. The hard part is dealing with difficult residents who think little of our profession, even to the point of calling us GLORIFIED MAIDS.
—Joan “AJ” M. Capistrano

8. When the Spectralink phone doesn’t stop ringing. I love my job, I love nursing, I love the patients. I hate that damn phone!
—Heather Knipping Davies

What do you think is the most frustrating aspect of being a charge nurse? What aspects of your job make it all worthwhile?



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5 Responses to 8 frustrating things about being a charge nurse

  1. beebell2

    Because of requirements, the hospital nurses are now documenters instead of nurses. In fact there is so much time spent documenting our care, that we don’t have time to do the care we are documenting!! I have been a charge nurse most of my 30yr career & am close to age 70. I love my job & I wish we could get back to 8hr shifts. My thinking is that it is best practice. I love mentoring the new nurses & teaching them the tricks of the trade. I only work 1 shift a week due to the 12hr shift & would not work days – too chaotic. I’ve always done Med-Surg. Once a week I do triage at the local hospice too. Nursing is a healing art & we need to be an example. Soon we start CPOE. Another challenge.

    • saturn567

      totally agree with you, and hats off to you for keep going strong

  2. Camoflahj

    In the mid-eighties I was the noc shift supervisor at an LTC facility. The absolute worst part of my job was yearly evals. My CNA’s busted their buns for under $2.50/hr. I did my very best to be kind but honest. But sometimes, the look of dejection on a CNA’s face after a less tham stellar eval, had me crying at home.

  3. saturn567

    I hate when the phone keeps ringing and they keep you on for awhile then complain why the medications and treatments weren’t done on time

  4. Takccp

    Trying to please everyone and stay sane yourself.