Blog spotlight: Charge Nurses Take on Exemplary Roles

Nurse Leader Insider, July 12, 2010

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Charge nurse is a term that has been around since the early 1980s and has often been used interchangeably with other terms, such as unit supervisor or shift supervisor. Charge nurses are accountable to the organization, direct care providers, and patients. They must be sufficiently trained in regulatory requirements such as The Joint Commission’s standards, and they must be adequately familiar with and trained in organizational policies and procedures so that the delivery and coordination of patient care meet organizational expectations.

Aside from the traditional roles charge nurses hold, here is a list of a few of the exemplary roles they also take on:

Educators: The educator role is more than just acting as a resource for the patient care staff. Charge nurses who develop skills as an educator can help bring the patient care team to another level by assisting with staff orientation, equipment, and procedural in-services, updating team members about new clinical practice changes, and helping plan for new education programs based on needs assessments.

Change agents: Charge nurses can also be extremely helpful change agents. Changes can come from regulatory agencies, research, evidence-based practice, and organizational or unit-specific enhancements. As change agents, charge nurses can help teach patient care staff about practice changes, assist with competency assessment, and ensure compliance.

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