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Advice for New Charge Nurses

Career News August 11, 2013

While a nurse who is promoted to the charge nurse of a unit is typically excited about the promotion, he or she often will find that he or she is not given the leadership resources necessary to truly understand his or her role. Most hospitals choose nurses who are good at nursing, but do not train them to be good leaders. The following are several tips that any charge nurse can use in order to make sure that he or she does his or her job well, which other nurses can look up to him or her and that his or her unit is run to the best of his or her ability.

Advice for New Charge Nurses

•Ask for a preceptor. A preceptor is a person that a charge nurse can go to for advice, and this same person will take the time to show the new charge his or her roles and responsibilities. Ideally, the preceptor will be a mentor for the charge nurse, allowing him or her an opportunity to forge his or her own path while still having reliable help around when he or she needs it. Health Leaders Media states that this is one of the most important opportunities a hospital must give a new charge nurse in order to ensure that he or she becomes not only a nursing expert, but a leadership expert as well.

•Invest in a leadership development program. These programs will help a charge nurse hone his or her leadership skills. Simply by receiving this promotion, it is well known within his or her organization that he or she is a highly-skilled nurse with plenty of educational background to offer the other nurses. However, a leadership development program will help him or her become the leader that he or she needs to be to give him or her best self to the job. Most leadership development programs focus on team building, communication, developing talent and resolving conflicts.

•Focus on being flexible. Working in a hospital and being a nurse is one of the least predictable careers out there. Literally, no charge nurse ever knows what each day is going to bring. It is so important that a charge nurse takes the time to be flexible and work well under pressure. If he or she has gone to work with a preplanned assumption of exactly what is going to take place when, the day is not going to go well. He or she needs to have a game plan in place, as well as several other scenarios in the event of emergencies or unplanned occurrences.

•Always be confident. If a charge nurse is not confident in himself or herself, how is he or she going to show his or her staff that they need to have self-confidence as well? It is so important that a charge nurse has the ability to make a decision and feel good about it, and be able to make that decision quickly. It is important that a charge nurse recognizes he or she may not be the most popular person on the staff, but he or she has earned this role for a reason. The charge nurse must keep in mind that his or her most important job is to provide patients the best possible care, not to be best friends with the other nurses.

•Finally, take the time each day to see things with a sense of humor. Nursing is an all-too-serious profession, but the best charge nurses are able to find humor in their everyday roles. Laughing and promoting happiness at the work place will help any charge nurse get the best out of his or her crew. Studies have found that finding humor in the little things helps people with the healing process and also helps to bridge differences between different people. It’s an excellent quality that every charge nurse should keep in mind.

It can be intimidating for a nurse to be promoted to this important role. He or she knows that the charge nurse is not always the most liked person, and the charge nurse is also held accountable for a lot of different decisions made on the unit. He or she needs to take the time to be a good leader while also promoting patient advocacy on the unit as well. This advice should help any new charge as he or she adjusts to his or her latest role.

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