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Charge Nurse vs. Staff Nurse: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

Nurses play an important role in the medical field by providing care to patients. There are many types of nurses, each with their own set of responsibilities. In this article, we compare the job titles of charge nurse and staff nurse, and we discuss the similarities and differences between the two positions.

What is a Charge Nurse?

A Charge Nurse is a registered nurse who is responsible for the supervision of other nurses and health care workers in a particular unit of a hospital or other medical facility. The Charge Nurse is typically responsible for assigning tasks and duties to nurses and health care workers, monitoring their work, and ensuring that they are providing high-quality patient care. The Charge Nurse may also be responsible for maintaining patient records, ordering supplies, and coordinating with other medical staff.

What is a Staff Nurse?

Staff Nurses provide direct patient care within a hospital or clinical setting. They work collaboratively with a team of medical professionals to develop and implement individualized care plans for patients. Staff Nurses use their clinical skills and knowledge to assess patients’ conditions, administer medications and treatments, and monitor patients for changes or improvement. They also provide emotional support to patients and their families, and act as a resource for information about health and wellness. Staff Nurses typically specialize in a particular area of nursing, such as pediatrics, oncology or intensive care.

Charge Nurse vs. Staff Nurse

Here are the main differences between a charge nurse and a staff nurse.

Job Duties

Although both staff and charge nurses have similar job duties, there are some differences between the two positions. A staff nurse is responsible for carrying out all of the daily tasks within a specific department. This includes completing patient assessments, providing care and interacting with patients and visitors.

Charge nurses oversee several departments or units within a healthcare facility. They’re responsible for making sure each staff member completes their work on time while also monitoring the status of every patient in their respective departments. Charge nurses may also be responsible for assigning nursing shifts to staff members and scheduling overtime if necessary.

Job Requirements

Charge nurses typically need to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, although some employers may prefer candidates with a master’s degree. They also need to be licensed as registered nurses and have several years of experience working in a hospital or other medical setting. Some charge nurses may pursue certification through the American Nurses Association (ANA) to demonstrate their commitment to the profession.

Staff nurses only need to have a diploma or associate degree in nursing to enter the field. However, many employers prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree. Staff nurses must also be licensed as registered nurses. Some staff nurses may choose to pursue certification through the ANA to show their dedication to the profession.

Work Environment

Staff nurses and charge nurses work in different environments. Charge nurses typically work in hospitals, where they oversee the care of patients on a unit or department. They may also work in other healthcare facilities, such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities or rehabilitation centers.

Staff nurses usually work in medical settings that are smaller than hospitals, such as doctor’s offices, outpatient clinics, urgent care centers and private practices. Some staff nurses work in long-term care facilities, like nursing homes, but most do not.


Both charge nurses and staff nurses use a variety of skills in their jobs. Both need to have excellent communication skills to interact with patients, families and other members of the healthcare team. They also both need to be able to effectively manage their time as they juggle multiple tasks and responsibilities.

Charge nurses typically have more experience than staff nurses and may be responsible for leading and supervising a team of nurses. As such, they need to have strong leadership and management skills. They also need to be able to make quick decisions and delegate tasks as needed. Staff nurses usually report to charge nurses and may not have as much responsibility when it comes to leading and managing a team.

Both charge nurses and staff nurses need to have clinical skills to assess patients, identify problems and provide care. However, charge nurses may need to have more advanced clinical skills as they may be responsible for more complex cases. They may also be responsible for providing guidance and support to staff nurses who are less experienced.


The average salary for a charge nurse is $77,459 per year, while the average salary for a staff nurse is $77,892 per year. Both of these salaries can vary depending on the type of facility in which you work, your level of experience and your location.


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