What Makes a Good Charge Nurse?
If you are a nurse who is thinking about seeking out promotional opportunities such as becoming a charge nurse, you need to know the qualities you need to possess in order to be a good one. The charge nurse is an administrative and supervisory position, so you will need to have plenty of nursing experience in order to become a charge nurse, no matter what. Those years of nursing experience will help you be a better boss and also enable you to better the entire nursing department all the way around. You will know what it takes for the nursing department to be the most efficient and you will be able to implement a plan that works for everyone.
Another thing a good charge nurse needs to be able to do is communicate effectively. The charge nurse is a supervisor, so they need their nurses to understand what it is that they need to do. Also, since you are the face of the nursing department, you will be representing the nursing department at various functions, seminars and presentations. The charge nurse will even give a presentation themselves from time to time. So it is of the highest importance that the charge nurse can communicate effectively and clearly to everyone, no matter what the situation may be.
A charge nurse has to interact with patients and their families on occasion. Because of this, it is important that the charge nurse be caring, kind and compassionate. No one wants a charge nurse who is cold and distant when they have questions about an upcoming procedure they are getting ready to check into the hospital to have. Patients and their families are going to have questions – most of the time a lot of questions – and you need to be patient and understanding and answer all of their questions and not make them feel like you are intruding on your valuable time.
Above all else, a good charge nurse must be accountable. You can’t pass on your mistakes to another nurse to be blamed for just because you are the charge nurse. You need to own your mistakes, not just so you will learn from them, but also so the nurses under you will learn from them. You are their leader and they look to you for guidance. It is important that you lead them to the best of your ability on a daily basis.