Being a charge nurse is kind of like babysitting for a large group of adults. I hate babysitting. I never did it when I was a kid and I hate doing it now. Most of the time being in charge is just an exercise in problem solving but sometimes — oy vey! — people really try your patience. “So-and-so is being mean to me.” “So-and -so won’t let me go on break on time.” “So-and-so won’t share the cookies with me.” Ah, the whining!!!!
But when the you-know-what hits the fan, usually everyone pulls together and works as a team. I have a magnet on my fridge that says, “Leadership is the ability to hide your panic from others.” So whenever I’m in charge, I try to stay calm, cool and collected even if I feel like I’m going to burst. Staff members look to you to set the tone for the department and an out-of-control charge nurse will soon be leading a crazed pack of medical staff.
When you find yourself in charge, just remember to smile, don’t take yourself too seriously, pay attention and remember this — you get to give these kids back to their parents at the end of your shift.
What’s your definition of leadership?