Career Development

What Does a Charge Nurse Do?

Find out what a charge nurse does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a charge nurse.

A charge nurse is a specialized type of nurse who acts as the head nurse on duty at a hospital or other healthcare facility. Charge nurses are responsible for overseeing all aspects of patient care during their shift, including managing other nurses and medical staff. They commonly oversee the planning and execution of nursing shifts to ensure that staffing levels are adequate to meet patient needs.

Charge Nurse Job Duties

A charge nurse typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Monitoring the overall quality of care provided by the nursing staff, including taking steps to resolve any problems that arise
  • Collaborating with other members of the healthcare team, including physicians and other nurses
  • Conducting staff meetings to discuss nursing issues, provide feedback, and encourage team bonding
  • Overseeing the activities of nurses and other nursing staff, including assigning tasks and providing supervision and training
  • Providing direct patient care as needed, such as administering medications, dressing wounds, and assisting with physical therapy exercises
  • Coaching and counseling patients on health topics such as diet and exercise
  • Coordinating with physicians and other medical staff regarding patient care plans and treatments
  • Maintaining patient records, including updating them with new information as needed
  • Coordinating with other departments to ensure that patients receive appropriate services and care

Charge Nurse Salary & Outlook

Charge nurse salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of hospital or facility they work in.

  • Median Annual Salary: $76,500 ($36.78/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $95,000 ($45.67/hour)

The employment of charge nurses is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

Demand for healthcare services will increase as the large baby-boom population ages and people continue to live longer. As more people receive care, hospitals will need to hire more charge nurses to oversee the work of other nurses and medical assistants.

Charge Nurse Job Requirements

A charge nurse typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Most charge nurses need at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Some employers may hire candidates with an associate’s degree in nursing or a related field.

Many charge nurses choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing to increase their earning potential and qualify for higher-level nursing positions. Some bachelor’s degrees in nursing include courses in leadership, management, ethics and health care policy.

Training & Experience: Charge nurses usually receive on-the-job training from their current or previous position. They may also receive training from a nursing assistant position or other entry-level nursing role. Charge nurses who have a bachelor’s degree may receive additional training in the form of a clinical fellowship.

Certifications & Licenses: After completing your nursing program, you can seek certification through the National Board of Nursing and Healing to become a charge nurse. This certification is voluntary, but it can help you stand out to potential employers.

Charge Nurse Skills

Charge nurses need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: Communication is another skill that can be very beneficial for a nurse to have. As a charge nurse, you may be required to communicate with doctors, patients, other nurses and other hospital staff. Having excellent communication skills can help you to convey messages effectively and efficiently.

Empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. As a nurse, you may be the first person a patient sees when they enter the hospital. Your ability to empathize with them and make them feel comfortable can help them feel better and recover faster. Empathy can also help you connect with patients and their families, which can help you provide better care.

Leadership: As a charge nurse, you may be responsible for supervising other nurses and other medical staff. Leadership skills can help you to motivate your team and ensure that everyone is working together to provide the best care for your patients. You may also be responsible for assigning tasks to other staff members and delegating responsibilities.

Critical thinking: Critical thinking is the ability to make quick decisions based on the information you have. As a nurse, you may need to make decisions about treatment options, patient care and other important aspects of your job. Having strong critical thinking skills can help you make the best decisions for your patients and your team.

Time management: Time management is another skill that can be beneficial for a nurse to have. As a charge nurse, you may be responsible for overseeing multiple patients at once, so it’s important to be able to prioritize your tasks effectively. This can help you ensure that you’re providing the best care possible to your patients while also ensuring that you’re meeting your hospital’s standards for patient care.

Charge Nurse Work Environment

The work environment for a charge nurse is usually a hospital, but can also be in a clinic, long-term care facility, or other medical facility. Charge nurses typically work a full-time schedule, which may include evenings, weekends, and holidays. They may also be required to work overtime or be on call to cover for absent staff or to respond to emergencies. The work can be physically and emotionally demanding, as charge nurses are responsible for the care of patients who are often seriously ill or injured. They must be able to make quick decisions and handle stress well.

Charge Nurse Trends

Here are three trends influencing how charge nurses work. Charge nurses will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Technical Skills

As healthcare becomes more complex, the need for charge nurses with technical skills will continue to grow.

Charge nurses are responsible for overseeing the care of patients in a hospital setting, which often involves working with doctors and other medical professionals to ensure that patients receive the best possible care. In order to be successful in this role, charge nurses must have a strong understanding of the latest medical technologies and how they can be used to improve patient outcomes.

The Importance of Cultural Competency

Cultural competency is becoming increasingly important in the healthcare industry as hospitals and clinics strive to provide better care for their patients. Charge nurses are in a unique position to utilize cultural competency in their work, as they are often the first point of contact between patients and the healthcare team.

By developing an understanding of different cultures and customs, charge nurses can better meet the needs of their patients and create a more welcoming environment for everyone involved. Additionally, charge nurses who are culturally competent are more likely to be promoted within their organization.

Patient Satisfaction Becomes More Important

As patient satisfaction becomes more important, charge nurses will need to develop new skills in order to meet the needs of their patients.

In order to be successful in this new environment, charge nurses will need to be able to communicate effectively with patients and understand what they want from their care. They will also need to be able to manage staff members effectively and make sure that patients are being taken care of in a timely manner.

How to Become a Charge Nurse

A career as a charge nurse can be very rewarding. It offers the chance to make a real difference in people’s lives, and to help them when they need it most. However, it’s important to remember that this is a demanding role that requires a lot of hard work and dedication.

If you want to become a charge nurse, the first thing you need to do is get certified. There are several different certifications available, so choose one that matches your experience level and area of specialty. Once you have your certification, start looking for jobs that match your qualifications. You can also take online courses or attend workshops to learn more about nursing and improve your skills.

Related: How to Write a Charge Nurse Resume

Advancement Prospects

The most common way to advance in this career is to move up the ladder within a hospital, from staff nurse to head nurse, and then to nurse manager. Some charge nurses may also become educators or researchers. To advance to a management position, charge nurses usually need a master’s degree in nursing or health administration.

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