8 Things You Should Know Before Becoming a Charge Nurse

Things You Should Know Before Becoming a Charge Nurse

If you are considering a career in nursing, you should know that being a charge nurse is one of the most important types of nursing jobs.

A charge nurse is responsible as a caretaker and managing the crew of nurses working on the same floor.

The responsibilities of a charge nurse are versatile and varied. Your specific responsibilities as a charge nurse will be determined mainly by the type of unit or institution in which you work.

To learn about the responsibilities of this type of nursing, talk with your nursing manager or consult a trusted veteran nurse. This article will help you understand what you should know before becoming a charge nurse.

Essential Qualities for Becoming a Charge Nurse

Every charge nurse has slightly different responsibilities, but the qualities needed to succeed in this profession remain the same. Some qualities are found in all successful charge nurses.

Here’s a list of essential qualities for becoming a charge nurse:

Things You Should Know Before Becoming a Charge Nurse

Things You Should Know Before Becoming a Charge Nurse

1 – Knowing Nursing Protocols and Updated Nursing Practice

New nurses are typically not immediately placed in charge nurse roles due to the requirement of experience and familiarity with unit operations and leadership responsibilities.

One of the main reasons for this is that you must have in-depth knowledge of unit and facility guidelines, up-to-date nursing, and medical best practices.

This job can be extremely tough if you are not well-versed in up-to-date nursing and medical guidelines.

2 – High Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking in nursing involves applying knowledge practically in various situations, necessitating knowledge and the ability to think creatively under different circumstances.

3 – Assertive and Confident

You are responsible for several different people and personalities. It is pretty challenging to lead and manage so many different personalities. However, if you are confident and assertive, you can decide and be ready to face any challenge or query.

Charge nurses manage staff and patient interactions, requiring them to address resistance from staff whose actions may not align with the collective needs of the team or patient care.

You must stand up and practically deal with difficult staff members in such situations.

4 – Having High-Level Communication Skills

Charge nurses are like leaders who need to have great communication skills. If you look at any must-have qualities list for leaders, excellent communication skills are one of the top priorities. This is true for even normal registered nurses and nursing aides.

Effective communication is essential in multidisciplinary healthcare teams to ensure coordinated patient care and prevent miscommunication-related negative outcomes. If a charge nurse does not have sufficient communication skills, this can be magnified on multiple patients, staff members, and the unit you run.

A charge nurse must be able to explain their views and choices exactly and effectively.

5 – Levity and Comfort

When used judiciously, appropriate humor and a relaxed demeanor can be suitable in healthcare settings to alleviate stress and foster a supportive environment. Though being assertive is important, there are also times when you may need to relax and joke around. This is a form of coping mechanism for many who work in the healthcare industry, especially front-line and first responders.

Lightening the mood in an otherwise serious situation or circumstance can help increase productivity.

6 – Ability to See the Bigger Picture

As a charge nurse, one of your main responsibilities is delegating tasks to the nurses working under you and ensuring the unit runs smoothly. For example, in some facilities and units, charge nurses delegate the patient and room assignments to other nurses.

As the floor nurses are mostly focused on their patients, a charge nurse will need to include every patient in their unit, thus being able to see the bigger picture of running the unit smoothly.

7 – Pursuit of Excellent and Hard Work

Professionalism and commitment are required in nursing, as lack of diligence can impact patient care and team function. An attitude of indifference or laziness will make everyone’s life difficult in the unit. You must pursue excellence in everything you do. You need to be the role model and inspiration for the other nurses working in your unit.

8 – Own Up to Mistakes

No one is perfect, and even nurses are bound to make mistakes sooner or later. Acknowledging and reporting errors promptly is essential in nursing to ensure patient safety and address issues constructively. Trying to cover up an error in a healthcare facility can often result in drastic patient outcomes.


These are the top things you should know before becoming a charge nurse. If you want to succeed in this area, make sure to inculcate these qualities in yourself. Leadership qualities and empathy are extremely important for a successful charge nurse.

See Also

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Texas Board of Nursing

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Nursing School Interview Questions

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